Secret Political Diaries Do Not Stay Secret

This week in diary news teaches us an important fact, crucial for any aspiring politicians: secret diaries disclosing your private opinions about your fellow politicians have an amazing way of not staying secret.

I’ve written before about Dale Bumpers’ diary, which displayed his critical assessment of then political allies, Bill and Hillary Clinton.

This week, Richard C. Holbrooke is in the news thanks to a forthcoming documentary that reveals that the diplomat kept a “secret audio diary” about his frustrations with the Obama administration.

But it’s not only a bad week for secret political diaries in the United States. Canadian Senator Mike Duffy’s daily journal reveals his close ties to corporate lobbying, possibly illegal. It doesn’t help Duffy’s case that his diary writing style also opens him up to ridicule: writing of himself in the 3rd person and puffing himself up with self-praising admonitions like “TS up & at ’em!” Oh dear.

So, open message to politicians: If you are going to keep a diary, and you probably are because you undoubtedly aspire to write a biography soon after you leave office, just be aware that secrecy is an unstable, unreliable concept and it’s very likely that your scathing opinions and petty self-promotions will be discovered and put on full display in the press.

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