Sunday, January 31, 2010

Messages, Narratives...Whatever

Everything that Seth Masket says here about E.J. Dionne and David Brooks and the battle over message...just double it and apply it to Richard W. Stevenson's useless analysis in today's NYT of Barack Obama and the battle over narrative.

Ten percent unemployment, up sharply from a year ago.  That's what's going on here.  If the recent GDP numbers are an indication that there's a strong recovery beginning, with jobs just lagging behind as they do, then Obama isn't going to have any trouble with narratives and messages and all the rest of that.  If it's a blip on the way to a double-dip recession, all the press agents and pollsters in the world aren't going to make any difference.

As Seth says:
It's quite possible that Democrats have the right message right now and Republicans have the wrong one, but it's hard to tell because the economy speaks so loudly.  
Stuff such as narratives and messages and all that matter at the margins, as independent influences.  Mostly, they are effects, not causes: Bush's narrative in 2002 was different than Bush's narrative in 2006 because the world changed, not because Karl Rove's abilities changed.  The press (collectively -- there are exceptions!) pay far too much attention to that kind of thing, and far too little to policy.  

That is all.

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