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Transparency? Not here, please.

Posted Jan 09 2010 2:51am
Our friends at The Health Care Blog have posted a letter from the founder of C-SPAN to Speaker Pelosi asking for televised proceedings of the health care bill conference committee. This has generated lots of comments.

I think this is a bad idea. Maybe this will surprise those of you who know me for pushing transparency. But the world of negotiation requires some privacy.

The C-SPAN fellow confuses transparency of result with transparency of process. Sometimes, the process needs to be held in confidence to build the kind of trust you need to reach an agreement.

Negotiations like this need to be held in private for effective compromises to be reached. For example, part of a negotiation is for each party to discuss how they are going to help the other party persuade his/her colleagues to go along with the negotiated agreement. You can't really talk about such things in public.

If this set of meetings is broadcast, the real negotiations will take place in a quiet room somewhere else on Capitol Hill.

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