Gene J. Koprowski reports in the National Journal on the Online News Association's regional conference. The professional media is just getting around to figuring out the power of blogs and they mostly rehash what bloggers have known for a long time. Blogs and the various social networking sites like YouTube are a growing influence in the political arena.
But this quote is what really stood out for me.
[Wisconsin Republican strategist Brian] Fraley and the other panelists, however, cautioned against campaigns focusing too heavily on technology.The emphasis is mine. This encapsulates what's wrong with our government today. Politics has become a full-time contest with actual governance thrown in as an afterthought. Even what little legislative business they conduct is always negotiated with an eye to the impact on the next election. It's no longer about its impact for the people, it's about its influence on the public perception.
"Congratulations if you are on the cutting edge," Fraley said. "But politics is all about winning. There has to be a balance."
Deals are cut in back rooms, favors are traded, and much overheated rhetoric pours forth from the public chambers but it's all orchestrated for the best interests of the party, not the population. Somewhere along the line, the people got cut out of the chain of command and the party chairmen were put in charge of the country.
Political officeholders used to be referred to as civil servants. I'm thinking it's time for the people to remind them of that and reclaim our rightful place as boss. Ultimately, even the Great Decider/Commander Guy serves at our pleasure. We pay their salaries and we should set the rules of employment.
A good start would be to mandate Congressional "work sheets," if you will. There's not an employee in the private sector that doesn't have to either work set hours or provide a daily accounting of their compensable time. I see no reason with today's technology that every single full-time officeholder should not be required to publish a daily accounting of their time on-line, in a format easily accessible to the taxpayers.
We have a right to know what we're paying for and I have to believe that one small step would raise our government's productivity index considerably.