Let's face it: I'm not the most politically interested person in the world. Politics are important, of course, but politicians mostly just end up turning me off as self-important blowhards who get a hold of power and are quite reluctant to give that up. I prefer a government of interested citizens rather than a government of political hacks. (Ok, yes I am a bit idealistic when it comes to government, but idealism is the basis of democracy, after all.) My preference to see new folks taking on important government positions is the main reason that I'm supporting Pete Ashdown's campaign for the U.S. Senate.
Orrin Hatch (Arn in Utonic) has been in D.C. for as long as I can remember and his atttitude of entitlement to the job (write to him on an issue he opposes and you will get a fine dose of Hatch snottiness) seem the opposite of Ashdown's more approachable and public-minded sytle. I am particularly interested in how Ashdown has made use of a wiki to define his campaign issues (unfortunately vandals have hit it regularly so that it is more "locked down" than other wikis). For those of you who don't know (is there anyone left?) a wiki is basically a community-based database/encyclopedia/whatever in which everyone shares in the authoring. For a politician the wiki becomes a way for the community to define issues and discuss those issues. By making his basic information source on his site a wiki, Ashdown shows his commitment to involving his potential constituents in developing his positions on the issues.
Now, of course, like any politician who serves far too long, Ashdown could develop the attitude of entitlement that Hatch displays. One would hope that unlike selfish Hatch, a Senator Ashdown would realize that our goverment works best when we have a diversity of voices.
Other folks are supporing Ashdown too and writing about it today: Ethan over at SLCSpin is the only one I have at the moment, but since he is the one coordinating this blogalicious campaign experiment, you might be best to visit him.