At the blogger briefing this morning with Mark Shurtleff I was reminded of why I believe that every public official ought to have a blog of some sort. Mark started by talking about how important he things that transparency in government is and how he has used his time in office to try to make more information available to citizens and help citizens work with their government – specifically with law enforcement (he is the AG after all).
Later, the discussion began to focus on blogs and media and I realized that running a blog as an elected official amounts to a certain degree of personal transparency. It indicates a willingness to put yourself out there on record where others can challenge you through comments and other responses. It also provides original source information about your positions where you can explain yourself without a media filter. This can prove very beneficial to any honest public official because anyone who is taking the time to look will be able to see how well you do at sticking to principles or how thoughtful you are in correcting a mistaken opinion as you gain more information.
For those who would say anything to get elected, that inconsistency would become apparent quickly when they blatantly ignore the positions they espoused on the campaign trail or else offer up lame excuses for changing their positions.
Of course blogging politicians will not solve all our problems, and those who do blog are not all perfect, but that willingness to leave a lasting trail and be held accountable is definitely suggestive of a good candidate and a good public servant.