Brian Bailey Preface to the Revised Edition

Writing On Politics

I find campaigns much more entertaining than the process of governing, a weakness I apparently share with just about every person in Washington. Most people think of campaigns as silly or frustrating or interesting in the way that any combination of hype, television lights and human weakness is interesting. I sympathize.

Ten Republicans are running for their party’s nomination and just over a year from now on November 6, 2012, we’ll have the opportunity to elect a president again. Despite how ridiculously messed up politics is, it’s a fascinating, worthwhile, and yes, messy process that somehow manages to write a new chapter in the American story every four years. And whether our choice wins or loses, we’re part of that story.

Winter is approaching which means that the opening contests in Iowa and New Hampshire are very close. Over the next few months, I’ll probably write about the campaign now and then. I thought I should clarify a couple of things before I do.

First, I like actual presidential campaigns, but my true love is primary season. Since the only primaries of interest this time around are of the GOP sort, Republicans may dominate my writing for the next few months. I may write about strategy, criticize candidates, or praise tactics, but none of this is an endorsement of a candidate or party. If I find a favorite Republican, it doesn’t mean I’d necessarily choose them in November. In other words, my focus is the same horse race that is blamed for ruining political reporting.

Second, if you’re curious about the political beliefs that can’t help but influence what I write, I grew up with William F. Buckley, Jr., National Review, and Ronald Reagan. The first time I got a campaign bumper sticker was when Jack Kemp was running in 1988. I read the Economist, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Weekly Standard (with a healthy skepticism) and any fair, original writing I can find. No amount of money would make me watch, read, or listen to the echo chambers of the left and right that exist not to enlighten, but to inflame. And I voted for Barack Obama. I’m a political consultant’s nightmare.

Like my friend @h3h, I’ve unfollowed my share of people when politics interferes. It’s funny how often interests collide on Twitter and blogs - I want to hear about your kids, but not your job, or your insights on technology are fascinating, but I couldn’t care less about your favorite sport. In the end, we are who we are and the best thing we can do is embrace those things that make us want to say something. If my things aren’t your things, that’s o.k.

I’ll always try to be fair and thoughtful in what I share. If you browse the archives, you’ll find a smattering of political posts over the years that may be of interest.

I have no doubt that the chapter of the American story that’s written over the next year will be a memorable one. I hope I can scribble a note or two in the margins.