The Age of TMI Is Good for Voters

What Women Really Think
Sept. 20 2010 11:15 AM

The Age of TMI Is Good for Voters

Jessica , I totally agree with you that Christine O'Donnell's facing something that's going to become the norm in politics. It's the let-it-all-hang-out era in a way that even the biggest hippies in the '60s couldn't have imagined. Still, even as someone who's been there in the worst way, I can say that I welcome the new social media era in politics. Once the learning curve is over, the benefits for the voters will be tremendous.

I predict two simultaneous trends: 1) People will find it harder to hide their true selves from the voting public, and 2) the standards for personal image of politicians will lighten up under all the pressure. In a decade, the hysteria over jokes Melissa McEwan and I made on blogs will seem completely ridiculous, but on the flip side, truly nutty folks like Christine O'Donnell won't be as able to put on a bland suit and a bland smile and hoodwink the public into thinking that they're not the kind of people who think Halloween is a Satanic conspiracy . In other words, I think that putting more information out there about everyone will adjust expectations until they're more realistic, both in terms of being more forgiving of minor slights (like doobies or dirty jokes) and more alarmed at the genuinely unsettling. The current unrealistic expectations are the product of a political system where candidates have way too much power to micromanage their image.  To quote the immortal words of MTV, it's time for people to "stop being polite, and start getting real."

Advertisement

Hey, and maybe at the end of the day all this honesty will mean that it's that much harder to build policies aimed at restricting ordinary vices, like smoking pot or screwing around. One of the major reasons that we have laws restricting drug use and reproductive rights is that the people who support these policies can count on the public not knowing about their own indiscretions. Once that's not an option anymore, hopefully it'll be that much harder for politicians to score points with moralistic grand-standing against widespread but closeted behavior.

Amanda Marcotte is a Brooklyn-based writer and DoubleX contributor. She also writes regularly for the Daily Beast, AlterNet, and USA Today. Follow her on Twitter.

TODAY IN SLATE

War Stories

The Right Target

Why Obama’s airstrikes against ISIS may be more effective than people expect.

The One National Holiday Republicans Hope You Forget

It’s Legal for Obama to Bomb Syria Because He Says It Is

I Stand With Emma Watson on Women’s Rights

Even though I know I’m going to get flak for it.

Should You Recline Your Seat? Two Economists Weigh In.

Doublex

It Is Very, Very Stupid to Compare Hope Solo to Ray Rice

Or, why it is very, very stupid to compare Hope Solo to Ray Rice.

Building a Better Workplace

In Defense of HR

Startups and small businesses shouldn’t skip over a human resources department.

Why Is This Mother in Prison for Helping Her Daughter Get an Abortion?

Politico Wonders Why Gabby Giffords Is So “Ruthless” on Gun Control

Behold
Sept. 23 2014 4:45 PM An Up-Close Look at the U.S.–Mexico Border
  News & Politics
Foreigners
Sept. 23 2014 6:40 PM Coalition of the Presentable Don’t believe the official version. Meet America’s real allies in the fight against ISIS.
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 23 2014 2:08 PM Home Depot’s Former Lead Security Engineer Had a Legacy of Sabotage
  Life
Outward
Sept. 23 2014 1:57 PM Would a Second Sarkozy Presidency End Marriage Equality in France?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 23 2014 2:32 PM Politico Asks: Why Is Gabby Giffords So “Ruthless” on Gun Control?
  Slate Plus
Political Gabfest
Sept. 23 2014 3:04 PM Chicago Gabfest How to get your tickets before anyone else.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 23 2014 8:38 PM “No One in This World” Is One of Kutiman’s Best, Most Impressive Songs
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 23 2014 5:36 PM This Climate Change Poem Moved World Leaders to Tears Today
  Health & Science
Science
Sept. 23 2014 4:33 PM Who Deserves Those 4 Inches of Airplane Seat Space? An investigation into the economics of reclining.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 23 2014 7:27 PM You’re Fired, Roger Goodell If the commissioner gets the ax, the NFL would still need a better justice system. What would that look like?