Thursday, August 6, 2009

Voting Records & Public Discourse

Those of you who have been following the happenings here at The Political Game this week may have noticed that the lengthy comment thread previously attached to the post "Another Look at Minnick's Record" has been closed and removed. Because I generally do not delete comments unless they are threatening, offensive or completely over the line and because there were some very good comments in that thread offered by respected readers, I feel the need to explain what happened.

Over the course of the past few days, since I initially posted the piece Monday evening, a comment contributor using the pseudonym "idaho-dem" posted a series of comments outlining the "flawed logic" of my piece. It was obvious from his/her first comment Tuesday morning that idaho-dem had a close connection with Congressman Minnick. Comments posted yesterday made all who read them aware that this contributor was in fact very well versed in all things related to Congressman Minnick's voting record and the general procedures of the United States House of Representatives. Information obtained later through identification of the contributor's ISP confirmed my suspicion that the comments were originating in the office of Congressman Minnick.

I welcome any and all input readers wish to give, however, it is unethical for a member of a congressional staff to pose as simply another Idaho Democrat while adamantly defending Congressman Minnick. This is something Minnick's predecessor Bill Sali was notorious for employing and should have no place in Minnick's office. Having spoken with John Foster, spokesman for Minnick, I have been assured this was not an instance of intentional astroturfing and that the situation will not happen again. Foster offered the following explanation and apology:
"A well-meaning but woefully uninformed person associated with our office was responsible for comments on Tara's blog that they were not authorized to make and the comments in no way speak on Walt's behalf. We have extended our apologies to the proprietor and the readers of The Political Game for this wayward staffer's stupidity."
It is my sincere hope that this will never happen again and I appreciate Foster's timely response to this incident. May this be a learning experience for us all and a reminder that no matter our frustrations and disagreements with Congressman Minnick's record, we are all on the same team.

The door to open and honest discourse will remain open here. An attempt to paint a more complete picture of Congressman Minnick's record is not an attack on Walt personally or on his staff. It is important that all sides of the story, in this case his voting record, be presented for the sake of effective public discourse. You'll find that I am not the only blogger who believes this.

Look for more posts on Congressman Minnick in the weeks and months to come, not just on the votes I disagree with, but also on the votes that all Idahoans can feel good about.

1 comment :

ecoflame said...

Hopefully the staff member just got a talking to; I'd hate to see it go any further. It's not necessary.