Monday, October 31, 2005

Confessions of a Yepsen apologist

Why do the folks over at State 29 & (btw Drew?) keep taking shots at the old guy who is paid for spinning politics? Let's face it, wouldn't we all like to get paid to listen to cheap ‘Important Iowan’ gossip, eat fattening dinners at great restaurants and watch to see which one of these Important Iowans picks their teeth or nose or whatever? Maybe not, but that's the guys job.

In all fairness to David Yepsen, and his solid style, he has a tough gig as one of the deans of Iowa political reporting...well, sort of tough. Yepsen's job is all about shaping the rhetorical hash that Important Iowans keep pushing at him. That's it. He has to listen to hours of spin, sift through heavily padded press releases and figure out how to make some reasonable and marginally entertaining sense out of in-bred Iowa politics. Yuck.

And in the cloistered and over stimulated world of Iowa political blogs (let's face it, we're not normal people), Yepsen can sound stale. But that has everything to do with the fact that his columns are not produced for our consumption. He writes for the average politically inclined Iowan. Look around, now you get it.

So cut the guy a little slack.

Yeah, we might get a burn out faster with more nasty, but that's what political blogs are all about, I suppose. We don't have to deal with politicos and their egg shell egos (except on those days when we may take a stupid pill and think it's a good idea to get in the way); Yepsen does, and to keep the information humming he needs to be mindful of squashing any of those precious toes.

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Yepsen gets flack because he's the pro. He's supposed to be the guy we all look to for the insider scoop and he has nothing else to do but research and write about Iowa government and politics. When he writes a stinker, it fires up the amatuer (speaking for myself) because we "get it" better than he does even though we have real jobs or course loads or whatever. That's not everyday, mind, but it happens regularly enough.
Fair enough, but it's a tricky world in the Important Iowan stratosphere. You piss off one wrong person and it'll cost ya, big time. Yepsen can't afford to lose those relationships. Moreover, his job is about getting the obvious out to the clueless, hence why most of us with political blogs smack our heads against a wall when Yepsen writes a big ‘duh’. We have a very different audience.
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