Frequently Asked Questions
Well, that’s going to happen. These are still politicians who want to get elected and will do partisan things. That’s not the bar.
As I write these profiles of politicians, it’s very clear to me that they are still people. I’m not highlighting heroes for us to worship no matter what, I’m featuring imperfect people. Many of the people profiled will let us down. I suspect they’ll make statements or support legislation or do something that is not in line with better politics.
When that happens, the solution isn’t to rip them out of the book and never speak of them again. The solution is to realize they are human. The fact is, they’ve probably already done something that’s not exactly better politics.
There are some people in this book that I didn’t want to write about. I disagree with them, but more than that, their style or their delivery or their arrogance drives me nuts. But part of better politics is setting differences aside, and finding things we can agree on. (And sometimes that’s not possible. Sometimes the divide is just too far. But I’m hoping to test that, and I suspect we’ll find the gap isn’t as far or as common as we think.)
I don’t expect you to like every person this project profiles. But I do hope you’ll understand them a little better and see them as human. That doesn’t mean you vote for them, but maybe it means you don’t hate them.Last updated:
I don’t see this as a perfectly unbiased journalistic effort that stands in the middle and bends over backward to have that elusive “balance.”
This won’t be a centrist haven that puts getting along ahead of getting it right. There are some values that need to transcend—equality, transparency, democracy, basic decency, etc. I want to strive for bipartisanship within those values.
I’ve heard centrism described as triangulating a position between the extremes and always changing that position to maintain power in the middle. That doesn’t sound like better politics either, does it?
We’re very divided right now, and we need to find ways to come together. Rock star and idealist Bono said compromise isn’t a dirty word. There are things we can agree on, and they’re all over the spectrum, not just in the middle.Last updated:
Yes. I have my own point of view, just like everyone else.
Part of the challenge of politics is that often we hold things too close to the vest. So let’s put it on the table—I usually vote for Democrats. I’m not going to pretend I don’t have my own biases. But that doesn’t mean this will be a lefty conversation, full of resistance and Democrat-only politics. I want to cover a range of political stripes. I want to write about moderates and Tea Party conservatives and progressive liberals—and do it without calling any of them names.
How do you do that? I’ll admit it’s hard. It involves a lot of listening and asking deeper questions. It requires getting past the surface political posturing. It means being fair with people, even when you disagree. An old friend always told me that you engage someone’s strongest argument. You ignore the pithy statements and get to the real issue. And that doesn’t mean always seeking balance. I still call a spade a spade.
I’ve tried to do that in writing about politics locally, and I’ve won people over with my approach.
I see this as an effort that tries to find something to celebrate in others, even if we disagree. So sometimes that’s going to mean writing about politicians you don’t care for. And yeah, it will also mean I’m writing about politicians I wouldn’t vote for. I think sometimes we have to get over that gut reaction and do the hard work of finding common ground.Last updated:
One day I’d love to be able to talk to politicians directly and tell their stories firsthand. But right now that’s just not possible.
For the book, I’ll be relying on the hard work of journalists and news organizations, quoting from multiple articles (always giving credit and linking) to pull together a narrative. Check out the updates to see some of the example profiles.
If we get enough support to launch a site, I can see eventually doing original interviews—especially with more local politicians. Throughout my career I’ve done a lot of interviews, so that’s definitely an option for the future site.Last updated:
I think it will feature more of the political profiles, but it would likely expand beyond that to cover other stories in the same vein. However, there’s already a lot of political coverage out there and I’m leery of duplicating it. For example, I don’t want to cover issues and veer into the territory of a fact-checking site. That’s being done.
Like any new content venture, there will be some exploration and experimentation to see what fits and what doesn’t.
But I don’t want to be another political commentary site leaching off the 24-hour news cycle. I envision it taking a step back and being slower and more measured. Fewer hot takes and more perspective. Not exactly compatible with the social media cycle, which will make sustainability a challenge.
If we hit the stretch goals, Kickstarter will allow us to get this site off the ground. But going forward it will need a reliable funding mechanism. Ongoing book sales will be one source of revenue. Advertising might be an option. A member support system (think NPR) might be another. It could use something pre-existing like Patreon or create a custom membership site (depending on how much funding the project gets). I would never want to keep these stories behind a paywall, but it can work to give members early access or exclusive access to some content. If the site goes that direction, I’d love to give all Kickstarter backers a free introductory membership, but we’ll have to see what the system is (I can’t do that with Patreon).Last updated:
Don't see the answer to your question? Ask the project creator directly.Ask a question