Losing campaign ahead of its timeWell, we lost. It was ahead of it's time, I suppose (or perhaps just the victim of scurrilous lies by the opposition) but the open government online amendment failed big at the ballot box. Personally I'm stunned at the margin. I mean, how often in a campaign does a judge say negative attacks are "misleading"? In the end it didn't matter - repetition trumped verity. Surprisingly, with strict message discipline, outright fabrications work well as a campaign tactic in the short run, expecially if, as in this case, the folks who buy ink by the barrel are on their side.
Which was the other odd part about this campaign: It forced the local Austin print media, the Austin American Statesman and the Austin Chronicle, to choose sides: Are they insiders and power brokers, in which case they benefit from secrecy? Or are they journalists who benefit from public information? News flash: They're insiders. They'd rather be gatekeepers for the news than let everybody see information themselves online. After all, then why would we read them?
As a result, there was a bizarre, near 100% media blackout on any positive news about the campaign, while the smallest bureaucratic errors by the Save Our Springs Alliance meritied front page headlines questioning their integrity. No one could buy enough media to counter that barrage. (Thanks to Ken Martin and The Good Life for bucking the trend.) For myself, I've never really seen the news pages at the Statesman used so blatantly to promote a political agenda before, even back in the days of Roger Kintzel. It seems a new day has dawned at the local daily. After this, they should make it official and formally merge the news and opinion sections. Why bother any longer with pretense?
Thanks to everybody who helped on the campaign and supported the cause of open government. Now help hold the feet to the fire of those who claimed they're REALLY for open government just not for this amendment - they'll get a chance down the road to show us whether such declarations real, or just opportunistic lip service aimed at thwarting openness.