As Joe noted on my “guest voice” post bio last week, I am a former state and federal lobbyist who currently teaches at the University of Washington in the Master’s in Digital Media program, where I research the impact blogging and other forms of social media (e.g., wikis, YouTube) are having on political institutions and discourse. I was a political commentator for Northwest Cable News in 2008, and I’m involved in Seattle’s newspaper mess. I also write the U.S. Politics blog at About.com.

As I told Joe, I’m interested in writing at TMV because I don’t really have a political home. My libertarian friends are too idealistic. Democrats and Republicans, at least at the federal level, are almost indistinguishable after being elected. Add that: I’m fiscally conservative and socially liberal. On The World’s Smallest Political Quiz, I score as a “liberal libertarian” – that should be worth a chuckle!

A Little About Me
I grew up in rural southwest Georgia before the Reagan revolution; my first political mentor was Ayn Rand; I was an intern for U.S. Sen. Herman Talmadge (D-GA). No big surprise, I was a southern Democrat in my early adult years. Translated: fiscal conservative; limited government; important social issues included agriculture, education and poverty (which I could have seen every day while growing up, had I opened my eyes). I was never a hawk, moderate or otherwise, although I admire Sam Nunn.

Over time (education + experience + reflection), I became skeptical of “free market” arguments because, generally, they discount the unequal power between market actors. This is a fancy way to say that they ignore the fact that market structure is not “competitive” in the Adam Smith “invisible hand” sense.

Regarding agriculture, I believed (and still believe) that there is a national security role that the federal government can and should play in food policy. Frankly, in many ways I prefer the European approach, which has enabled small towns and small farms to flourish, in direct contrast to the ever-more-concentrated structure of farming in America. I think the government should stay out of the bedroom; that the federal government is subservient to the states, not the other way around; that prohibition doesn’t work (thus we should legalize and tax “drugs”); that infrastructure (a public good) is a key responsibility of government; and that we cannot continue to spend money we don’t have — the piper will change his tune, probably before I retire.

When I’m not typing or teaching, I might be riding one of my three motorcycles or teaching newbies the MSF course. I share my life with a Microsoft tester (Mike), a Cairn Terrier (Katie) and a Manx (Rocko). You can follow me on Twitter or at About.com. Or check me out on Facebook or LinkedIn.

I’m looking forward to getting to know y’all, too!

KATHY GILL, Technology Policy Analyst
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Copyright 2009 The Moderate Voice
  • Welcome aboard. Why is it, I wonder, that there seem to be so many of us who self identify as fiscal conservatives but social liberals, yet we don’t have our own political party? We really should get to work on that. I’m tired of registering as an “independent.” That used to sound appealing, but lately it can just make one feel wishy washy. -)

  • Your right Jazz. My wife and I have found we are fiscal conservatives and social liberals as well. And it just fits so well together. Here in Republican country (Georgia) I find myself being friendly with both “stock” conservatives and “stock” liberals. And some of them have actually said that our views (I like to call us “SLFCs”) are like another party.

    And welcome Kathy!

  • $199537

    Welcome Kathy!

    Jazz I think the reason we don’t have our own party is many of us were aligned with the GOP up until the past few years. Also as long as there is a balance of power, ie one party does not control presidency, house and senate, many of us are pretty content. It’s when things swing too far to one side that we become disenchanted.

  • Welcome, Kathy. I’ll join the “SLFC” party too, as long as “fiscal conservative” doesn’t equate “corporatist”. Corporate interests are rarely attuned to public interests, witness the lobbying and court fights of businesses to prevent accountability, environmental responsibility, workers rights and the rights of local communities. If it means running our government as a business, I’m on board; a willingness to assess results, and a commitment to transparency and accountability.

    I continue to believe that the best way to end the era of companies calling the shots to the detriment of the public, is to end the fiction of “corporate personhood.” As with a business advisor, the role of corporate “citizens” should be to have “a voice but not a vote.”

  • Hi, guys. Thanks! I’ve been a reader/lurker for years.

    On big reason there isn’t a “party” for us, IMNSHO, is America’s two-party system. I believe that the alignment with either the GOP or the Ds depends on whether economic or social issues are weighing the most in decisions — at least that’s the way it is with me.

    And GreenDreams, I totally agree about “corporatist” although I reject the notion that making money, in and of itself, is a bad thing. The bad thing, IMO, is the entanglement between large corporate interests and those elected to run government. In this sense, I put large “NFP” organizations in the same boat, as too often their interests turn to self-preservation.

  • I agree. Nonprofits can be just as bad, especially trade associations. But they too are “corporate citizens” and like the for profits, they have no business outvoting us on matters of public safety and health.