When I was running for County Supervisor back in 1984, I got my first taste of what it means to be public figure and what it means to have a hostile press. I also found out not everybody loved me (especially lefties) . I learned a lot back then and many of those things I learned are timeless.
In America, most everyone in and running for a political office, is fair game for the opposition to demean and attack and almost without consequence. I had never experienced that before, but I bucked up, groused a bit and took it. I admit it wasn’t easy to listen to people rip you apart (and they don’t even know you) in the press and my wife and kids didn’t much care for it either. But, we all persevered and I won election.
Of course there were other things I had to learn besides the lying opposition’s slanders. Running, then governing in California requires disclosure of holdings and incomes as well as donations. There are many good reasons to require a certain level of disclosure. The people need to know you are not a crook that you received legal donations and you minimize potential conflicts of interest. All fine and good. However, those standards are so high and intrusive; many good people never attempt a run for office.
When the opposition gets desperate to win and Election Day gets closer, the heat turns up and lots of bad things get made up and said. I remember when a fellow candidate from another district was attacked by the incumbent because he posed (non nude) for a calendar to raise money for some good cause. That was turned into a morality play and if it wasn’t so serious it would have been really funny. He beat the incumbent handily. I had people going door to door for my opponent telling people I was going to pave over the county! I had and still haven’t, ever split a property in California. I was just a simple small time home builder but this didn’t stop the liars from my opponent’s camp. I won and that shut them up for a while.
The press is another thing all together. When you are scrutinized by the press sometimes they get things wrong, your words are twisted or they misquote. Sometimes we candidates forget what we said too and when our words are in a news story, we become the owner regardless of accuracy. Sometimes the reporters think they are smarter than you and because they went to a “liberal arts” college, they are arrogant too. They pick and choose what they want and I learned the hard way they never report the words you want to have reported. Thus, the press release was born. Even a press release was screwed up in the paper or on the radio. Very exasperating.
Now with this blogging thing, we all have another avenue to send and receive information, which can be a good or a bad thing. I am amazed at the vitriol and hate spewed by the local and national leftwing blogs. They seem to think they have the football and if you don’t toe their line, they will punish you by removing comments you make they don’t like. The also do what is called “moderation” of comments they want to censor. The leftwing blogs like Jeff Pelline’s Sierra Foothills Report practice censorship on conservative comments and that has chased a few away, including me. I was wondering how “progressives” like Pelline, who spout free press and speech justify their behavior. In my opinion it has to be hubris. When you disagree with a left wing opinion you are committing a terrible sin, you must be mistaken and you must be controlled. If that doesn’t work the left will remove you. I have seen this over my political life and I firmly believe America is fed up with the left. Liberals account for maybe 20% of the political spectrum here in America and all one needs to do is read their screed’s to understand why. They don’t like dissent.