Tuesday, October 6, 2009

This Caught My Eye

Matt Ygelsias on the limits of the bully pulpit:

The arrow is "The Speech"...

Apparently, this is pretty much what happens everytime a President talks up an issue. Matt's claim is that it is pernicious to maintain the fiction that Presidential will alone determines this...the Green Lantern Theory.


It’s not just that media commentary overemphasizing the president’s ability to shape opinion is inaccurate, it has a really detrimental impact on people’s ability to organize and effect political change. People are strongly encouraged to believe that the key to achieving policy change is to elect a president who’s friendly to their views. Then when that turns out to be insufficient they don’t move on and do additional organizing in House and Senate races. Instead, they tend to become frustrated with the president they worked to elect. But why blame the victim of congressional obstruction rather than the perpetrator? Well, people always seem to find a way to tell themselves, if only the president had fought harder he would have gotten it. He must have lost because he didn’t really care.

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