Mr. Blogger

As promised, Dennis Hastert has started his blog.

Most of you know me as a coach by nature so I hope this gives you some inside access to the Republican playbook.

The internet is changing the way we share information. My office has been talking a lot about some of the conversations going on in blogosphere. So I thought, hey, I should start one and give you unfiltered updates on Capitol Hill.

So the man two heartbeats away from the Presidency is blogging. (Oh, Mr. Speaker: How about some RSS?)

  • Mxyzptlk

    Hmmm…I wonder which media-savvy aide of his is writing it.

  • Fred

    Wow. I actually learned smething new. There’s a natural gas pipeline construction proposal in Alaska. Mundane, but it’s something.

  • http://robertdfeinman.com/society Robert Feinman

    Just print PR in another format. His staff still doesn’t get it. No one will read political platitudes for long.
    He should look at what Wes Clark’s organization does as a model…

  • http://www.bloodandtreasure.com Noel Guinane

    One way communication. He gets to tell us what he thinks without having to read what we think. No comments, no conversation. Just opinion. His. What is he going to “learn”?

  • steve

    Don’t want to learn? That’s your choice. Give the man — or his staff — credit for offering a new outlet.

  • http://sethf.com/ Seth Finkelstein

    The Mighty Wurlitzer will read it, quote it, link to it.

    “And it is a new way for us to get our message out.”

    Feel the citizen’s revolution.

  • Pingback: West of Normal » Blog Archive » Welcome to the blogosphere, Mr. Speaker

  • http://www.bloodandtreasure.com Noel Guinane

    Steve it’s not a new outlet, or at least not a new outlet for us. It’s just more PR. We can’t express our views on his ‘blog’. He doesn’t want to “learn” anything. He wants to talk about what he already knows and feels is safe to tell us.

  • http://dblog77.blogspot.com/ dblogger

    Hey, at least he’s talking. Sharing. Trying. Hopefully, his ‘blogging’ will grow from here.

    But in the meantime, who chose that picture of him? It’s aweful. He looks like a mean, cranky old politician, just the image Republican party is trying to get away from!

  • http://www.bloodandtreasure.com Noel Guinane

    Yeah, maybe he’ll allow comments.

  • APF

    Your point is that a blog is only useful if it has a comments section?

  • http://www.bloodandtreasure.com Noel Guinane

    My point is that it’s a lot more useful, and interesting, if it’s got a comments section. Some people don’t bother reading comments because they think it’s a waste of time. A lot of comments maybe aren’t well thought out. Some are deliberately designed to be as offensive as possible and some of them are insightful and interesting, as insightful and interesting as those of the VIP hosting the blog. It’s in the comments that we find what people are really thinking. It seems to me that’s something a politician would be interested in. It’s certainly something that interests me.

  • APF

    Most of the time–and I understand the irony of saying this here–reading the comments *are* a waste of time, for reasons you suggest. All the more so on a politician’s website I would think; even if you moderate/have registration/etc it would be a headache. Why not just blog your responses/reactions to their blog posts? I get a lot of value from blogs which don’t have comments or trackbacks or even RSS feeds or real bookmarks for that matter. IMO it’s the distributed conversation–comment and response across the blogosphere/internet–which is the valuable contribution from blogging in general. This need not take place on one’s home server.

  • http://www.bloodandtreasure.com Noel Guinane

    If you’re in politics and you bother putting up a blog, it’s only common courtesy to entertain comments. It’s also smart since it’s a very easy and interactive way of gauging public opinion. I don’t get any value out of blogs that don’t allow comments because I think the people writing them are either close-minded, i.e., only interested in their own opinion, or they’re putting up propaganda they don’t want challenged, like a hookey flookey business deal they’re putting forward they don’t want to have to directly answer complaints or questions on, or feature those complaints or questions.

    One problem with distributed conversation, especially in politics, is that it gives you attention for your point of view without you necessarily ever having to defend it. It becomes nothing more than propaganda – him seeding the conversation with his point of view. And where’s the value in that?

  • http://cellar.org/iotd.php Undertoad

    If I were a house member with a blog, I would turn comments on, but restrict comments to people within the district.

  • doctorj

    I was very disappointed that he didn’t have a comment area. I spent yesterday driving around the neighborhoods of New Orleans. Devastation is everywhere, the federal government is being close to useless to the people that are there (reports that it will take another six weeks to get a FEMA trailer on their property), but the city is starting the very first steps of coming alive again. I wanted to thank him for his “let us not rebuild” comments in our darkest moments. Maybe that is why he doesn’t have a comments section. LOL!

  • APF

    As readers of this blog know, the great thing about distributed conversation is that it will continue to go on without you even if you don’t defend, attack, or otherwise respond to it. I agree it would be nice–and maybe smart,–but having a blog doesn’t oblige the blog owner to have a comments section any more than it obliges them to validate their HTML. You’re free to your opinion that they’re close-minded, but the idea that since it doesn’t cater to your desires, therefore the blog doesn’t have value is absurd. Comments are a value-add, not a value-prerequisite.

    Where’s the value in getting someone’s one-sided opinion? Wouldn’t the value be self-evident? If you leave a comment on someone’s blog and no one responds, is the value of that comment therefore nullified? Is the proof of the pudding in the eating, or in a Zagat review that’s put in Times Square and made available for everyone to scribble-in their own reflections? It’s in the eating. There are plenty of blogs’ comment sections that are mindless echochamber “first post” “me too” snoozefests of absolutely no value outside of the regulars’ insular world, but that doesn’t mean the blogger’s actual posts are valueless to me. Read the blog and whether or not it has value to you will quickly become evident.

  • http://txmudbug.blogspot.com/ john beard

    Hey maybe if Tom Delay wasn’t busy with that criminal money laundering charge (s) he could start a blog for his folks. No I doubt it.

    I do give the Speaker credit for being brave enough to do this especially if he does it on his own. Getting to know any elected leader is hard there is so much filtering of their personality on TV and by staff.

  • Sgt. Hulka

    Anybody care to guess what a John Kerr6y blog would read like? I’ll venture a guess…..Ambien.

  • http://www.bloodandtreasure.com Noel Guinane

    … having a blog doesn’t oblige the blog owner to have a comments section

    APF, I’m beginning to think it does. Blogs without comments are not really blogs. They’re websites, or Spews, if you’d like a more accurate term for them since the people putting them up are spewing forth their opinion. They don’t ever have to defend their point of view in the ‘distributed conversation’.

    Not only that, but they can seed that conversation, throwing out carefully crafted and sanitized PR statements (propaganda), challenges to which they do not have to directly feature on their Spew, and watch while we chase after them, like seals chasing after fish at a zoo (Oik! Oik! Oik!), just like we’re trained to, maybe even jump through a few hoops and balance a ball on our nose while we’re at it.

    To clear a point up here, when I use the term propaganda I am not only referring to one-sided government blogs but to anyone trying to craft an image or create a buzz about something remotely. I have attacked other so-called bloggers in this forum for exactly that and they did not work for the government.

    I understand that the Speaker of the House ‘blogging’ gives credence to blogging, but

    a). he isn’t blogging, he’s spewing, and

    b). blogging is a phenomenon that’s here to stay, with or without the Speaker’s endorsement.

    Blogs without comments are monuments to the person’s ego or they are propaganda outlets. There are exceptions. Dave Winer, in my opinion, has a Spew, not a blog. However, if someone challenges something he puts up when it’s featured on someone else’s blog that does allow comments (like for example, the recent ‘open’ media summit discussion right here on Jeff’s blog), Dave will jump into that conversation and fight for his point of view. So while he has a Spew, he does engage in blogging. I don’t expect to see the Speaker of the House do this. It’s possible he’s just experimenting and in time will allow a two way conversation on his site. With all the headaches that would involve, I think it would also make visiting his site a more worthwhile and interesting experience.

    If on many levels of government there was the ability to have an open conversation with the people they are elected to serve, we would have a situation where the real areas the government are doing well in and the real areas where they are falling down would become clear. Maybe not immediately, but over time. And we would start to have a government that truly did serve the people again and not just itself.

    Before anyone accuses me of being naive, remember that the Founders of America were very intelligent, well-read men with very naive ideals; ideals that served America well for a long time.

    Now is the time to encourage open, two-way conversation and not be satisfied with a government Spew.

  • http://nybathrooms.blogspot.com Alex Dorph

    Firstly, yes spewing.

    2nd… being 3rd in line to the president isnt all its shaped up to be anymore. Like being 3rd in line to nixon.

    R2000
    Bathroom Review

  • http://worldweb3-globalpost1.blogspot.com Kimball C. Kalangie

    Do not forget… another effect of propaganda is to persuade people into a positive direction. In this era we can pick the leaflets on almost every website. How will we measure an act of importancy between the occurrence of “major” world events.
    I wonder what Socrates would blog.

    Jef, what about “consanguineous”.

  • http://beltwayblogroll.nationaljournal.com Danny Glover

    http://beltwayblogroll.nationaljournal.com/archives/2005/10/capitollink_the_3.php
    The substance of Hastert’s first post at the Speaker’s Journal isn’t exactly the stuff of front-page news. He bills it as a forum where people can gain “inside access to the Republican playbook,” but that appears to be a bit of false advertising, what with his superficial talk about hurricane recovery and oil refineries.

    Hastert also doesn’t appear ready to fully seize the conversational spirit of the blogosphere. He doesn’t offer comments on his blog, and he starts his first post by describing the new online venue as “a new way for us to get our message out.” That kind of talk doesn’t exactly inspire much confidence that readers can expect the “unfiltered updates on Capitol Hill” that Hastert promises a few sentences later.

    Hastert ends the post like this: “Well, there you have it folks. I’ve outlined some of our priorities: fiscal responsibility and energy. I’m going to keep updating this from time to time. It’s not that bad. Looks like this old guy can still learn a thing or two.”

    Let’s hope so.

  • http://www.mariannepowers.com Marianne Powers

    A blog is good even without comments. And it may be propaganda, but at least it’s propaganda from the source instead of filtered through the media. I hope he keeps blogging. But an RSS feed would be very, very good.

  • http://www.bloodandtreasure.com Noel Guinane

    Marianne, you want an RSS feed to unfiltered propaganda?

  • JW Winkler

    Interesting that he doesn’t give you a way to directly respond to his blog.
    Stating that he’s on top of things smacks of plitical doublespeak. All words but no proof of action.

  • http://www.geekinchief.com Avram Piltch

    Can you really call it blogging if it’s something that’s ghostwritten and highly-edited.

    My two cents is that users consider a personal blog “legit” when it’s done on the spur of the moment, without a ghostwriter or a huge staff. I’d hazard to guess that having a typo or saying something that was slightly “off message” would actually lend to his credibility here.

    Is a blog still a blog if it’s just using blog software and formatting to send highly-scripted messages?

    Avram Piltch
    http://www.geekinchief.com

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  • http://www.rehaupvc.com rehau

    create a buzz about something remotely. I have attacked other so-called bloggers in this forum for exactly that and they did not work for the government.