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Thursday, May 22, 2008

The "Ins" Versus The "Outs"

This Kitsap Sun story on last night's open-government forum in Bremerton contains an observation that captures the political reality of the open-government issue. Tim Ford, the Attorney General's open-government ombudsman and candidate for the Court of Appeals, noted that open government is not a Republican or Democratic issue. Instead, it's the "ins" (those in power) who often oppose disclosure versus the "outs" (those out of power) who want to know what's going on.

How true. Why do some Republicans in eastern Washington join some Democrats in western Washington in opposing open government? Because they run things in their respective parts of the state. Sometimes they don't want the public nosing around the governments they run.

As with all general rules, there are specific exceptions to the ins-versus-outs principle. But it works much of the time.