Wednesday, April 04, 2012
It isn't enough, as Paul Ryan and others seems intent on doing, to discuss the issues in abstract theoretical terms. Yes, they're right, but in a riff off the old cliche, if they don't talk in terms that resonate with people, then it is as if they haven't said anything at all.
Most of the voters who are up for grabs don't spend time thinking about the practical implications of Keynesian policies... or the Laffer curve... or the ratio of debt to GDP... or exactly what is an unfunded liability.
Thus, if you want to grab their attention, you need to speak in terms that resonate with them. We need to use their language and speak to their concerns. They're not siting around the patio talking about the proper ratio of taxes to the size of the economy, they're talking about home values falling... and why they haven't gotten a significant raise in five years... or how gas prices are so high that they're cutting back on going out to the movies. Those are their concerns... and we need to offer them hope that our policies will help.
We're not proposing to cut the size of government because of some abstract theory, but rather because we think excessive government spending is the reason that there aren't more jobs. We're not putting forth plans to revamp Medicare and Social Security because we like toying with people, but because doing so will ensure that people get checks. We're not advocating drilling for oil because we like oil wells per se, but rather because we want to lower gas prices.
Likewise, we're not complaining about Obama's policies (strictly) because of some theoretical disagreement, but rather because his spending is the reason the job market is so weak... and because his environmental and energy policies are the reason gas prices are higher than they would otherwise be... and because his failure to really address the housing crisis is the reason people aren't able to more easily buy and sell houses.
For the life of me, I can't figure out why the GOP hasn't figured this out. Perhaps GOP politicians and political advisers live in their own cocoon... and don't get out much.