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What’s in Your Paper Trail?

What did we learn from the Robert Bork nomination? Writing is bad.  (I say this because Roberts and Miers were both ostensibly nominated because of their lack of a “paper trail.”) 

It’s always been the case that political candidates and appointees (see Lani Guinier) have had their writings (dating back to college) researched with a fine-tooth comb. 

But in recent years, the scrutiny has become even more intense.  Emails are now fair game to publish once the media gets them. 

Compounding the problem, the nascent blogosphere continues to dramatically inflate the amount of information being “published.”  It seems reasonable to expect we will most likely have a generation of leaders who are disqualified – or at the very least, attacked – because of their online musings.  Yes, blogging has consequences.

Personally, my paper trail may already disqualify me from serving on the bench.  Google:  “Matt Lewis conservative” and you’ll find that I’ve spoken at Regent University and Liberty University (one can assume my opinion on Roe).   Fortunately, Matt Lewis is a common name.  I can always say it was the other Matt Lewis.

So should conservatives eschew writing as a means of communication?  Certainly not.  In thousands of letters, columns, and radio spots, Ronald Reagan didn’t shy away from writing about his deeply held beliefs.  Having a paper trail didn’t seem to hurt his career. 

But the question remains: Will blogging be the next youthful indiscretion?

Written By

Mr. Lewis has managed political campaigns and served as director of grassroots for the Leadership Institute, as well as political director for GOPAC. In 2002, Campaigns & Elections magazine selected him as a "Rising Star of Politics." He is the author of "Teaching Elephants to Talk." His blog can be read at MattLewis.org.

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