Yet Another Introduction!
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!