“Keep it Simple, and Take Credit”-A Primer for Progressives

This is a great piece in Democracy worth your time.

It makes the argument that the stuff progressives did take credit for was too fucking complicated like Obamacare. And the stuff that was simple: a targeted middle class tax cut and the shovel ready jobs from the stimulus was barely discussed.

Either Democrats complicate their initiatives enough to be inscrutable to anyone who doesn’t love reading hours of explainers on public policy, or else they don’t take credit for the few simple policies they do enact.

It also describes how FDR made sure WPA was stamped over every single New Deal project (you’ll still see them all around Massachusetts today). The original Social Security advertisements said simply: “a monthly check-for the rest of your life-thank Democrats’. And we know the right has this figured out. When Bush passed a tax cut, he sent a letter in the mail alongside the rebate check taking credit for the law and the Congress that passed it. Obama did nothing similar for his tax cut. Frankly, Trump got more mileage out of “saving” 500 Carrier jobs than Obama did saving half a million auto industry jobs in 2011.

Anyway, worth the read and worth discussing how we can do that locally for the things on the fire (Fair Share, Voter Choice, Carbon Tax).

Recommended by jconway, sco.


3 Comments . Leave a comment below.
  1. I think it's in our DNA.

    We tend to prefer to govern rather than posture, and we acknowledge that public policy is rarely simple. Also, Tip O’Neill once said that you can accomplish just about anything in politics if you are willing to let someone else take the credit.

    • Tip's an FDR Democrat

      And never shied away from defending Social Security as a Democratic achievement. One of his favorite aphorisms:

      The Democratic Party has succeeded so well that many of its members are now Republicans.

      • And remind them

        That without the Public Sector, the private sector would be in shambles. Elizabeth Warren is one of the few Democrats who takes this stand.

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