Two political actions that I insist that you stop taking.

Two gripes that I can never make during election season, because they’ll look partisan:

1. The fact that a candidate hasn’t disavowed someone or something doesn’t mean that he supports it. Yes, some issues are so big or important, or so clearly intertwined with a candidate, that a refusal to disavow them can be noteworthy. But this business of a candidate in (say) Hampton Roads being called on by members of the opposing party to speak out against some trivial perceived offense of some other candidate in (say) Southwest Virginia is just dumb. They don’t know each other. They live hundreds of miles apart. He hasn’t disavowed it because he’s never heard of the guy.

2. A spokesman speaks for his employer, not himself. When a candidate’s spokesman says something that contradicts something he said for his prior employer, or a viewpoint that he holds personally, that is irrelevant. It’s not hypocritical. It’s just him doing his job. If I took a job as Ken Cuccinelli’s spokesman (there’s no danger of that) I’d say all kinds of things that I didn’t believe. That doesn’t make me a liar, that just makes me somebody who is paid to speak on behalf of Ken Cuccinelli.

If you’re doing either of these things, please stop. You’re making yourself look foolish.

That is all.

Published by Waldo Jaquith

Waldo Jaquith (JAKE-with) is an open government technologist who lives near Char­lottes­­ville, VA, USA. more »

4 replies on “Two political actions that I insist that you stop taking.”

  1. Though I would moderate the second point with the thought that, like you pointed out that you wouldn’t work as spokesperson for Cuccinelli, if one works as spokesperson for a politician, one should be in fairly close agreement with that politician’s beliefs. Should we then hold that spokesperson to account for every single little thing they said on the behalf of their employer? No. Should we hold that spokesperson to the general beliefs of their employer? I believe so.

    If you disagree massively with the politician whose mouthpiece you are, you should resign. Didn’t one of Bush’s spokespersons/press secretaries do that?

  2. You’re right, Hans—I don’t think anybody can fill a role like that without generally agreeing with the person or organization on whose behalf their speaking. Hopefully there are few folks like the protagonist of Thank You for Smoking out there. :)

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