TLP: Don't. Just Don't.
Back in the days when The Lazy Paperboy was filling column inches instead of blog posts, the last thing any of us reporters thought of doing was running for office. We knew what that was all about and wanted no part of it. Not to say anyone was exactly clamoring for us to give up the news business for government. Especially those already in government. Mostly, they just wanted us to give up the news business.
Today? Not so much.
Sarah Palin. Mike Huckabee. Newt Gingrich.
Today, that is a list of paid Fox News political analysts. Two years from now, it could be a list of Republican presidential candidates.
A former Fox analyst, Angela McGlowan, entered a House race in Mississippi last week. Over at MSNBC, Harold E. Ford Jr. was on the payroll until a few weeks ago, when he told his boss that he was seriously contemplating a run for the Senate from New York. TV names are also constantly being run through the candidate rumor mill. There is a “Draft Larry Kudlow” movement. There is also talk of a political bid by Lou Dobbs, who left CNN last fall.
Kudlow and Dobbs in the Senate? Not that the place is averse to self-important types longer on talk than follow-through. But it doesn't really work to end a floor speech with, "Back with more after these messages." At least the professional political types, the skilled and seasoned ones, know how to play the game.
One of the great things about reporting is the learning. Every day, there's a new story to cover and because everybody loves the attention (yes, that means everybody, reporters included) there's no shortage of people to talk to. All in all, the outcome is pretty good information. Maybe not in the first cut, but eventually.
Another bonus in journalism is that reporters are not required to have the answers. For all of the criticism of the media and its supposed motives, isn't it better that reporters not try to solve things? Especially because it's a profession full of nosy gossips who do better at collecting information and telling stories than they do at solving problems. Those stereotypes about newsrooms full of dysfunctional neurotics? All true. Ask me sometime.
But the things reporters are good at are important. And they are symbolized by that lighthouse at the top of this post, which was on the masthead of Scripps-Howard papers now gone and carried the motto, "Give Light and the People Will Find Their Own Way." Sounds like something journalists can manage. Trying to actually lead the way? Maybe not.