Monday, November 20, 2006

Simple, significant trade-off

If you are a blogger and are interested in becoming a Legislative Aide, let me warn you about something. Once you work for the state, you won't be entitled to a public opinion. The way it has been explained to me is that I work for all the state representatives. Therefore, any public opinion I take, which may be insulting to somebody in our state legislature, can be construed as an opinion of the office for which I work. If, for example, another speaker finds me offensive, they could ask to let me succeed outside of the State of Texas.

As an employee of a state rep, EVERYTHING is under scrutiny. If you write something positive about somebody, his or her opponents will take issue. If you write something negative, his or her suporters will take issue. If you write your own opinion, your variance from your boss's opinion could be construed as weakness in the team. If you agree with your boss, you're a sycophant. In other words, you can't win. All you can write about is trivial nonsense or very personal, non-political stuff. You're better off not writing.

If you want to write about politics, then don't be an insider. As of today, The Huffington Post is #6 on Technorati. Daily Kos is #8. Michelle Malkin is #14. None of them works for a public official. Scobleizer, by Robert Scoble, is a blog by a guy who gets hired by companies, even though he sometimes criticizes them while employed by them. Forget such a job in the ego-centric world of politics.

So, if you are an out-of-the-box and non-conformist type, forget about being a legislative aide. There are other places where blogging candor is appreciated, just not in politics. In my case, I've decided that if I can't write what's on my mind, I just won't write. That will be my sign that everything is not kosher.

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