21 July 2008

The Catch 22 of Policy and Politics

Politics - the art of getting elected - depends on making pronouncements so vague that more than half of the population can agree with you.

Policy - the art of making things happen - depends on making pronouncements so clear that more than half of the population knows what to do.

If you begin to talk policy too soon, it is unlikely that you'll get elected.

If you keep talking politics for too long, it is unlikely that you'll get anything done.


Life Hiker said...

I heard the Comptroller of the United States yesterday on the radio. He keeps talking about the $55 trillion dollar debt that our children and grandchildren will face if we don't change policy.

He says that the 30-40% fall in the dollar is directly related to these unfunded liabilities. Our currency will be worth less and less if we don't fix the problems, and the cost of everything will go up. It will be like a giant tax on us - one that nobody ever voted on.

Somebody needs to start talking about policy, but it appears that neither Obama nor McCain sees that as a winning strategy. Your blog tells us why.

Big Al said...

What this tells me is to be successful as a political leader one must talk politics while in parallel they're secretely shaping policy. Doesn't mean the policy will turn out to be good (perfect example: George Walker Bush).

But to be successful getting elected it appears that one needs to politically state what people want to "hear" they would consider to be good policy while at the same time build your own policy. I think McCain's following this process pretty well. I'm seeing that Obama's leaking too much of his real policy agenda and McCain's starting to beat him over the head with the "flip-flopping" accusation.

Dave said...

Perfectly put.

Ron Davison said...

that is fascinating and, once heard, obvious. The dollar falls as we fail to pay our way.

I think that Clinton did a great job of knowing what people needed to hear while - in parallel - knowing what needed to be done. And to be fair, the two don't even have to clash that often; they simply aren't at the same level of rigor.

thank you.

nunya said...


Life Hiker said...

Ron, I'm responding to your comment on my blog re: nominating McCain is the republican's way of saying they're sorry they didn't pick him in 2000.

Perhaps so. I sent money to McCain in 2000 because I felt he would shake the tree of government.

Now I oppose him because he's 8 calendar years older and seems to be many more years older mentally. In my view, anyone who can't find a web page can't be president in 2009.