The Blue Pages

. . . rantings from a young Democrat inside the beltway and outside the loop

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Cue the Violins: A Matthew Jerome Hiatus

I have to give the bad news today that this will be my last blog post, at least for a while.

Say what? Yeah, it is true. Don't slam your head against your keyboard in anger--it can't bring the Blue Pages back.

I am pretty bummed about this and I'm actually surprsingly sad as I write this post. But I've come to the conclusion that this is necessary for two important reasons. Let me 'splain:

1) Potential Conflict of Interest. I've wanted my blog to be an accurate representation of my opinions, and never a propaganda arm. And I feel it has been just that. However, I currently work with a Democratic political organization, and with a new electoral cycle starting up (a presidential one, no less), I am worried that I may have opinions that are opposed to those for which my firm works. Sure, I write with a pen name and have never named the organization I work for, but it wouldn't be rocket science if someone wanted to try to figure it out.

So, that left me with three options; either refuse to write about campaigns that my firm is involved in (even though campaigns are the things I am most excited about), write about clients my firm works with only in a favorable light, or continue to keep my fingers crossed that no one would ever make the connection. All 3 options are unacceptable to me, so I had to choose the none-of-the-above option.

2) Time vs. Quality. When I began this blog, I was employed part time while taking grad school classes. This was the case through August 2006, when I decided to work full time and take grad classes. Almost instantly, the amount of free time I had to write this blog dropped, yet my excitement during the election season allowed me to quickly jot down thoughts and get some of the energy out that I would've spent thinking about politics anyway.

Now, however, I am finding it more difficult to blog in my spare time. It is always a pet peeve of mine when other blogs aren't updated frequently, or when my own blog isn't updated frequently; it makes for a less-than-quality product. So again I saw two realistic options; either I post whenever I can, which may only be once a week, or I post frequently but with questionable quality. Again, I found both options unacceptable.

SO--what does this mean to my eight or nine fans?

Well, I really have loved this Matthew Jerome experiment, and I am not done with it. I may be able to be a contributor on another blog (where I wouldn't have to cover the whole gamut of politics and thus have to omit issues that there are conflicts of interest on). I may write a different blog with only a partial focus on politics. The point is that this has been kind of addictive for me, so I highly doubt that I'll never go back in some form. I just need to figure out what that form is.

That's why I've mentioned in the title that this is a hiatus--I do plan to come back.

In the meantime, if I can talk highly about myself a bit, I'm pretty proud of this blog. I don't think anyone can doubt that I was personally responsible for the overwhelming Democratic wave that swept the country this past year.

Well, maybe not--but still, I think I was able to intelligently and interestingly address politics without being too reactionary-partisan. And I'm glad to have connected up with many other bloggers, and to have had some really intelligent discussions and debates in the comments section. And it was pretty gratifying that people seemed to enjoy what I have to say and the manner in which I say it.

Blah blah blah.

So, stay tuned, because I do plan to continue in some fashion. But for now, we'll have to gently tuck the Blue Pages to bed, sneak out, wait for 15 minutes, sneak back in, and smother it with a pillow until it can't breathe anymore. Wow--that was a violent end. Sort of didn't expect that.

But in all seriousness, many thanks to all for being a part of this very fun part of my life, and I'll be back when I think of something else to do. Here's to a successful Democratic Congress in '06 and a Dem victory in '08.

Matthew Jerome


  • At 11:36 PM, Anonymous KELLYq said…

    awwww and just when you were named person of the year...

    i'll mixx you matthewz jeromerz


  • At 12:12 AM, Anonymous Lauren said…

    I am extending you the same offer I made Michelle McNamara, which is Permanent Standing Guest Blogger status at LMNOP. Take advantage of it anytime.

  • At 9:05 AM, Anonymous adam said…

    i feel as though i lost a good friend today or at least as though my dog died. This is a sad day, indeed. Your blog brought me many hours of fruitful procrastination and was a good clearinghouse for politics, so I felt less bad about not reading other political news. I guess this means that I'll either have to waste less time on the internet, or waste more time on the internet to make up for your failure to filter the news for me. So, I guess your lasting legacy will be that I will spend a different amount of time wasted on the internet.

    Thanks for the memories.

    P.S. Lauren if you ever shut down your blog i'm going to pack it in and live in a hole.

  • At 9:29 AM, Anonymous adam said…

    I have a serious question for you that i'd like you to respond to before you permanently sign off and we can never talk again (which I assume is the natural conclusion to ending the Blue Pages). I feel that shutting down this blog is a little unfortunate even beyond denying me a frequent diversion. Although at this point your knowledge of politics has far outstripped mine, I felt like at one point I was keenly interested in pursuing a similar job track as the one you are in. However, when push came to shove I could never reconcile myself with the idea that if I'm going to work in politics I'd have to been driven by an ideology that is not my own. That is, no matter how many issues you agree with your firm/ boss/ candidate/ etc. on, so long as you defer to its/his/her judgment when your opinions differ, you are part of a machine that has subsumed your identity. While I acknowledge this problem should diminish over time as you move up and people care more about your ideas, you're always going to be forced to say one thing and thing another to some degree when your opinion does not become THE opinion. While I admit this will be the case in any job, it seems that the problem is more acute in politics than in other fields. For example, I'm sure Kelly has to do things that she wouldn't choose in her classroom all the time (e.g. administering tests standardized in a particular way) but I suspect her choice of going into teaching was motivated largely by a desire to be part of a process (that of teaching children) rather than to come to a particular outcome. I'm not sure that I feel similarly in the realm of politics. I suspect one of your responses may be that you advert to a higher level of generality. That is, you say while I may not agree with the particulars that I must pay lip service to, I have sufficient faith that the general guiding principles are correct and that by acting as one with my firm/boss/candidate I will further these generally desirable principles.

    Anyhow, I'll shut up and let you respond but please do.

  • At 4:25 PM, Blogger d-money said…

    Well done, Matthew Jerome. I've enjoyed your blog and even learned a thing or two while reading it. Bravo.

    Although unlike Adam I plan on wasting the exact same amount of time the internet, I will still miss your charming analysis and thoughtful wit.... or something like that.

    I hope our paths cross again.

    Oh, and tell Adam to shut up.

    - D-Money

  • At 12:48 AM, Blogger Michemc said…

    It's sad that you will be no longer writing your blog, but I think you made a good choice. If it is of any comfort to you in this sad time, I don't miss writing my blog. I thought that I would miss it a lot, but over time I found other hobbies that helped ease the pain-- like watching television, sleeping, talking to Jonah, and working long hours at the office. That said, your blog (unlike mine) is actually of some worth to the world so you should take it up again once you stop working for the man.

  • At 5:08 AM, Anonymous Dave G said…

    I understand your decision and respect it, but it saddens me just the same, much like Allan Lichtman's decision not to seek the presidency.

    Matt, your blog is the single reason I get up every morning. No, it's not. But it is a pretty darn great example of political writing. I really enjoy your use of humor in your writing. It is original. Drudge isn't funny. Jerome is. Meanwhile, I hope that Matthew Jerome returns one day. In the meantime, I'll have to actually talk to you to get your opinions.

  • At 2:54 AM, Anonymous tejki said…

    Very well done. You will go far and make a difference in the world. Thanks, I will keep checking in to see how it is going. You opened my eyes and mind to blogging. I am an old guy and learn slow. Peace and Good Luck!

  • At 3:02 PM, Blogger Matthew Jerome said…

    So, I've been meaning to answer your question Adam for quite a while. I've actually made several false starts in trying to answer.

    Basically, I reconcile it this way--differences that I have may be minimal to moderate, but on balance I am doing something for what I believe to be the greater good, and I am doing something that I love. So your guess at would my answer would be was pretty close.

    Generally, I feel that the firm I work for matches my ideology very well. Generally, I support their candidates and causes. And, if they took up a project I strongly disagreed with, like the ICC, I would refuse to be involved with the project.

    The model I use a lot of times to think about pragmatism vs idealism (when they are in conflict, which they aren't always necessarily) is this: Picture you are a candidate for mayor. You have exactly 10 issues that you support, that you believe are sorely needed and the right thing to do and all that. But you also know that 2 of your positions are so opposed to your district that you could not hope to win by supporting either. However, you know that you are guaranteed a victory if you support the other 8.

    Let us also assume, and this is probably not often the case, that you are really selfless in this race--you don't want to be mayor for your own political ambition or anything, but truly to serve your city because you believe these 10 issues need to be enacted.

    So, you are faced with a choice. You can support 8 of your 10 positions, get elected, and the net benefit to the community is that 8 of your positions are enacted. Or, you can support all 10 because you are idealistic, lose, and the net benefit to the community is that 0 of your positions are enacted.

    It is obviously never this simple, there is a continuum and other factors and play. But the point is that, I would often argue that here the net good of the 8 policies outweighs the net evil of ignoring the other 2. However, even this isn't always set in stone . . . if one of the 2 policies that the candidate was forced to ignore was "Don't murder people," then I would say that an idealistic loss is justified.

    Ultimately, I guess I'm saying that working in politics will give me, especially at first, some lack of freedom given taht I have to be locked in to the positions of our clients, but I think the greater good outweighs it because a) I generally agree with them anyway and b) when I don't, the disagreements tend to pale in comparison to the agreements.

    And if I find myself in such a place that the agreements do not pale in comparison . . . then I'll have to decide if I want to get out.

  • At 10:00 PM, Blogger 週休 said…

  • At 12:30 PM, Anonymous オテモヤン said…

  • At 6:23 AM, Blogger 請不要走 said…



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