Thursday, March 06, 2008

The Democratic Primary and Walberg Watch

After the post below, I just wanted to take a moment to restate the policy on Walberg Watch and the Democratic primary.

This blog will not endorse a candidate in the Democratic primary. Everyone besides me is free to express a candidate preference, but I'd prefer that they not write too many pro- or anti-candidate posts. In other words, you can express your love or hate for Sharon Renier and Mark Schauer, but do it once or twice, with kindness and respect, and then refocus on Tim Walberg.

When the focus was on David Nacht versus Jim Berryman, things got a little nasty sometimes in the comments. When Mark Schauer entered the race, it got worse. I got a lot of complaints about it, and I felt terrible about the tone the blog was taking. I made an effort to refocus on Tim Walberg, and that's where I want to stay.

This time around, I want to avoid that mess entirely. After a lot of thought, I've decided that I'm not going to let that happen again. I'm more than willing to start deleting if things get out of hand.

This is hard for me to do, because I really feel strongly about my blog as a place for open discussion. I don't delete comments by conservatives that come by to stir up trouble, and I don't delete comments which attack me personally. But I'm not willing to let this turn into a small-scale MyDD in terms of candidate bashing. I worked hard to make this blog what it is, and I'm not going to let anyone tear it apart over stupid stuff.

Now, don't misread any of this. Criticism of Mark Schauer, Sharon Renier, and any other Democrat is absolutely welcome. Schauer and Renier each have flaws. They're human, after all. If they say or do something wrong, it deserves to be highlighted and analyzed. The purpose of this, however, is to correct them and find a way to fix it, not to tear them apart or hurt them electorally.

Barring an unforeseen entry into the race, either Mark Schauer or Sharon Renier will be the Democratic challenger to Tim Walberg. I don't want this blog to be responsible for handing Walberg any ammunition for the fall. I may have already unintentionally done that in a previous incident, and I still feel terrible about that. We're about building Democrats here-- all Democrats-- and highlighting the many reasons why Tim Walberg should be voted out of office. If you don't like something about Schauer or Renier, you mention it, you analyze it, and you make substantive conclusions.

Don't read any of this as calling out Francis Pepper, either. He's got a perspective entirely different from my own, and that's useful and valuable. I want him to be here, just like I want elviscostello, Doug Murch, InterrupT, and Nirmal to be here. These guys are smart and dedicated to finding better representation than Tim Walberg. But they're also passionate, and I want to stop any potential fights before they start.

All of this applies to the comments, too. If at all possible, try to stick to intellectually honest comments, no personal attacks. I have a lot of problems with Congressman Walberg, and sometimes my temper acts up. Even so, I do my best to maintain a certain level of civility and kindness, and I'd appreciate it if everyone else tried to do the same.

You don't win by shouting louder. You win by convincing people, and people respond best to well-reasoned and thoughtful writing. That's especially how you convince moderate Republicans who don't like Walberg but don't trust Democrats. That's always been what I strive for, and I hope that sometimes I achieve it.

For those interested, I'm looking to start another project sometime soon focusing on building up the Democratic Party and progressive activists in the 7th District, to last long after Tim Walberg is out of office. If you want to learn more, e-mail me.

Right. Enough of this meta stuff. Let's get back to business. In the comments, share your favorite substantive and thoughtful reason why Tim Walberg shouldn't be re-elected.

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Thanks, Fitzy! That's what we count on you for.
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