Thursday, May 5, 2011


Doug, over at Balloon Juice, on the Republican backing away from their Medicare proposal:
What we’ve got here is more than failure to communicate […] Doug Mataconis thinks that convincing the public to gut Medicare may be as simple as putting together a Draper-worthy PR blitz [...] It isn’t being done because it can’t be done. The Ryan plan wasn’t ineptitude with insufficient cover, it was a spectacularly slick roll out of a product that no one wants to buy. […]

But it’s not just Teh R’s—it’s a disease of US politics. Me, last November:

Faced with an election that is the crystallized result of essence of policy failure, Obama decides that he…sent the wrong message.
To win the first election you have to “message.” To win the next election you have to deliver. Obama didn’t deliver on jobs, housing, and banking, and it’s pretty hard to message that away. Now the Republicans are offering poison and calling it medicine, and it’s pretty hard to message that away, too.

(This, by the way, is part of why Krugman is so successful at prediction: he looks at things which can reliably be measured and relies on models measured against actual history—on scientific knowledge, in other words—and this takes him past the messaging.)

The overall disease is probably a result of Really Really Badly not wanting to face reality, on the part of the leadership of both parties. Neither party wants to alienate the wealthy and powerful, neither party wants to bell the Dragon (Chinese currency policy), neither party wants to take a strong environmentalist stance, neither party wants to tell the public they were wrong about economics for the past 30 years. So we get “messaging” instead.

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