Blog Credo

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

H.L. Mencken

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Press Fallacy

This kind of pisses me off.

There are two problems with Milbank's analysis.

First, as Linda Sanchez notes, Democrats have had an agenda.  OK, it's a fair criticism that Democrats either offer too many programs as opposed to a bumper sticker.  But the Republicans have been running on bumper stickers for years.  Guess what?  You can't govern from a bumper sticker.  Repeal and replace is easily understandable.  Get rid of the parts you hate and keep the parts you like is easy to understand, but it's not an agenda.

Democrats have both a philosophy and an agenda.  Hillary Clinton had a YUUUUGE agenda.  And every speech she made on the minimum wage or college tuition was swamped in her "goddamned emails."  Policy is booooooooring.  Horse races are fun!  Scandal is fun!  Do Democrats have an agenda?  A philosophy?  Yes, Dana Milbank.  They do.  Report on it.

Second, the negative appeal of the Republican message is that government doesn't work.  Have you ever had a government service fail you?  How many people equate the DMV with the federal government?

Democrats have the burden not only of "having an agenda" but also convincing a cynical public that the government will actually ACHIEVE that agenda.  As we've discovered, one of the flaws in the ACA is that it doesn't work WELL ENOUGH, not that publicly supported health insurance is the death of freedom.

You can promise whatever you want, but a large section of the public believes - wrongly - that all politicians lie in their promises.  That Trump lied to them doesn't bother them, because they expect to be lied to.  Democrats promising universal community college is just an empty lie, even if it's not.

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