When someone decides to run for public office what is to be expected?

Personally, if I ran for office I would want some attention from the newspapers, radio, and news stations in the form of interviews.   And if I was smart, I would contact all the people I did something wrong to and buy them off and make them sign a contract not to disclose anything unless they want a lawsuit.  In this article titled “Should you run for public office?” they suggest if you do have skeletons in your closet be prepared for your life to be dissected for the world to see.

Now, I don’t think I have done that much, but who knows who remembers what? Someone might have some crazy picture of me in my undergrad years, thank heavens, there wasn’t much digital cameras! I would however be at the mercy of a certain photographer in Kansas City who tends to photograph every race I ever ran in the KC area.  I am not the stealth athlete, merely a mother of two trying to keep healthy, the pictures however don’t do me justice.

So that brings up the issue of what is fair game and what isn’t fair game.  In the “Up to Date” show on KCUR-Kansas City, the guests talked how politics are looking unattractive because your life becomes an open book.  Dr. David Perlmutter stated his stance that he thinks family is off limits and that the discussion over Republican Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin’s daughter is off limits for discussion or coverage.

Another guest Derek Donovan from the Kansas City star said that the coverage of Palin has been to get people to know who she is, since outside of Alaska people really didn’t know her, and they are playing catch-up as opposed to Joseph Biden or John McCain who people have known for a decade.

So when is touchy issue okay to bring up? Donovan stated that when the candidate makes the issue a part of the campaign, then it is fair game.  An example that was talked about was the John Edwards affair being fair game because his reputation as an honest family man was put out in the public.

For those people deciding if they want to run for a public office, whether it is a small city position or a national position, they all should investigate themselves to decide if they can handle the press and the bloggers.   Bloggers especially if they press can’t get the verification, bloggers will still talk about the issue whether it’s true or not.  Will this make people less interested in running for office, most likely yes.  Is that a good thing because we are weeding out the “undesirables”?  That question could be answered by asking “what if we didn’t hear about the Larry Craig incident or the Kwame Kilpatrick investigation into his affair with his chief of staff.”

As KCUR guest John Landsberg stated, “I think a lot of good people don’t want to be in politics because of this”.  As a voter, I think I would want to know as much possible about the person I am voting for.  Whether that includes who they get their hair cut by, how many marriages they had, do they volunteer, all the way up to the big issues of what their views on marriage, abortion, the environment its all fair game to me.  I on the other hand will not be running, as that funny story of me being arrested in high school for a crime I did not commit will for sure get out there.  Don’t ask.

posted by Rhonda L.

Originally posted September 23, 2008 at PolicyByBlog

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