A question for Doug J

Yesterday, Politico highlighted my post on the distributional impacts of expanding actuarial bands. I like that piece a lot. It gets into the weeds very quickly on a relevant policy discussion and illuminates some of the trade-offs and quirks of the structure.

Politico highlights a couple of writers a day. These links and names get blasted to their morning e-mail list which is heavily DC focused with political and policy implementation power as well as narrative setting power.

From yesterday’s list everyone except for the Weekly Standard is a good factual value. I learn something from those other writers when I read them.

So my question to Doug is does this engagement make sense? Is it better for people with very high leverage and influence to read me layout complex policy options with my set of priors or to read someone who is either not aware of the distributional consequences of this policy change or whose value structure and/or paycheck renders those considerations irrelevant?

If we’re going to have a system of fairly tightly clustered policy and political professionals we will have narrowly tailored publications that sets the minimum standard of being well enough informed with background knowledge of major events for that cluster. I think we will always have specific political/policy niche publications as every other tight cluster has their own publication (Cat Fanciers Daily, FantasyFootball has an entire industry of rapid update publications, Transportation planners have their own publications, marketing professionals have multiple publication channels that cater to their need. ) So in my opinion, engagement is better than passive rejection even as engagement comes from an almost top-10,000 political blog with lots of puppy pictures.  Politico and Axios both have policy dissemination channels which are solid and highly influential.  Liberal engagement in that channel adds value to the conversation and slightly shifts it in our direction.

I want to hear your opinion on this.



34 replies
  1. 1
  2. 2
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    You are now officially a swamp rat and Trump is going to come for you with every tweet he can bring to bear.

  3. 3
    JPL says:

    bjdickmayhew left us.

    I’m curious what Doug thinks though.

  4. 4
    rikyrah says:


    They would learn more from you than anyone else on the list.


  5. 5
    MomSense says:

    I just love seeing politico highlight “bjdick”


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  7. 7
    geg6 says:

    Joints like Politico aren’t going away and if we don’t engage with them, we can’t possibly engage with people who aren’t firmly committed to the same things we are. I have no hope for any current GOP diehards. However, there are people who can go either way or still a few “sane” conservatives who can be persuaded and who still value expertise they themselves do not have. I despise almost all of the MSM, especially the political branch, but walling ourselves off has not worked out so well so far and the example of the right, completely walled off in a vacuum-sealed padded room, is cautionary enough to make me support getting your message and expertise out into the general public through outlets, shitty as they may be, but are not, at least, InfoWars or Gateway Pundit and is a good thing. Someone out there may learn something.

  8. 8
    Doug R says:

    Anyone learning outside their “specialty” is welcome.What jeffreyw said.

  9. 9
    cmorenc says:

    OT David, but will you also be refereeing soccer in the Durham / Triangle area this spring? Club or high school? Hope you have had a chance to meet Mark Kadlecik, our area’s HS assignor and US Pro referee.

  10. 10
    WereBear says:

    I must say I have learned more about health insurance from your posts that any other source. Maybe other people say the same thing, but they don’t say it so clearly.

  11. 11
    Mary G says:

    Any chance of getting a sane liberal view in front of more eyes is a good thing.

  12. 12
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Mary G:

    sane liberal view

    You are being redundant.

  13. 13
    Doug! says:

    Yes, engagement makes a lot of sense! I think it’s the right thing to do on pretty much every level.

    There are a lot of things wrong with national media and many of this blog’s interactions with them have been hostile. But, all in all, there are a lot of good people in media (even at crappy outlets) with whom it’s worth engaging in a respectful fashion. And if they’re assholes, it’s worth telling them to fuck off (I don’t even mean that disrespectfully — assholes deserve to be told they’re being assholes).

  14. 14
    zhena gogolia says:

    I’ll go farther and say I wish you were on the front page of the NYT and WaPo and had a prime-time show on CNN, MSNBC, and Fox.

  15. 15
    Bob2 says:

    Politico has been far less awful since VandeHei and Allen left.

    Too bad they’re at Axios now.

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    Fair Economist says:

    What exactly do you mean by “engaging” Politico? Referencing them? Replying to their articles? Retweeting them when appropriate?

  17. 17
    scav says:

    Tell your truth. The audience isn’t really a thing that can be entirely controlled (certainly not here), but the integrity of the data and information and how it is assembled, that is, and it shows. Pat the gerbils on the head and give them extra kibble.

  18. 18
    hovercraft says:

    I hate to contradict you, but in this age of purity, “liberal” is no longer synonymous with sane. Nina Turner, Susan Sarandon, unfortunately there are millions of liberals, (not as many of them as they think, but still a couple of million at least) out there who have lost their goddamn minds and aren’t shy about letting us know it.

  19. 19
    Taylor says:

    @Fair Economist: That’s what I was wondering. Engaging with them in their comment sections?

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    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @hovercraft: You are of course, correct. My bad.

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    XTPD says:

    @Fair Economist: These are fair enough forms of engagement; TBH Politico has been a lot better since Michael Grunwald became assistant editor,and especially since Allen & VandeHei decamped for Axios. At this point its only consistently bad points are Rich Lowry and Jack Shafer — and Jack Shafer joins Dean Baquet and CNN in the category of “I don’t care how much you hate Trump, your chickenfucking during the campaign cycle is completely unforgivable.”

  22. 22
    geg6 says:


    They cringe if you call them liberals, as much or more than if you called a conservative that (even though that is the original meaning of the term). They are “progressives.” No one, as of yet, has explained exactly what that means. They certainly don’t mean it in the way Teddy Roosevelt did.

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    hovercraft says:

    I hate that they have robbed of the ability to maintain the accuracy of your comment. We used to be able to point and laugh at the other side with all of their crazies, now not so much ;-(

  24. 24
    hovercraft says:


    They are “progressives.” No one, as of yet, has explained exactly what that means.

    The irony of course being that the very brand they have adopted is the antithesis of what they claim to be about. “Progress” indicates incremental advancement towards a stated goal/end point, what Obama, Pelosi and Reid did was make progress towards several decade long democratic goals, at the end of his presidency, the party and the nation were more liberal than when he began. Any number of goals had been advanced, Obama was the most pro LGBT president we’ve ever had, he advanced LGBT equality in so many different ways, but there is still much to be done, he made progress, with the help of the courts, the fact that there is still so much to do does not make him a sellout or a failure.
    These”progressives” are all about the whole loaf, they don’t seem to understand that a half a loaf, feeds you and gives you the strength to fight on.

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    D58826 says:

    Slightly OT but thinking about Trump’s performance yesterday. His base thinks it was great and every one else thinks he was unhinged. Obviously he was playing to his base, but he was enjoying himself up there. He kept saying one more question and then asking for a few more. He called on some of his favorite fake news sites. He was the master showman in the middle ring. Or to use a different analogy he was the matador in the bull ring. Most of us think bull fighting is nuts but to its fans it’s great. So with a metaphorical cape/sticks and sword ‘The Donald’ was taking on the bull and of course winning. his fans loved it.

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    hovercraft says:

    True but the problem with this is that as Bush finally realized, there are not enough of them to keep you in a strong enough position to win elections. The Bush the Lesser admin had their base convinced that the media was just hatin’ on them and exaggerating how much of a clusterfuck Iraq was. It took a while but eventually people woke up. The big difference here is that there is no honeymoon, he is starting from behind, he came in needing to prove himself ready and capable, nothing he’s done in this first month has reassured anyone who was not already with hm. Poling says that the economy I the one area where he is polling well, that’s based entirely what Obama did and on the DOW, which can turn on a dime. He may enjoy the circus and so may his fans, the problem is there are a lot more people who saw that display yesterday and were horrified.

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    D58826 says:

    @hovercraft: True but 43 actually had some idea that being president was something more than just ego satisfaction. Das Fuhrer is in it for the grift. Once he sucks out every last dollar from the rubes he won’t care about not having any base of support left. Laugh all the way to the Cayman tax haven

  28. 28

    @Fair Economist: I talk to their health group regularly

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    hovercraft says:

    I agree that 43 had a clue as to what he was getting into, having seen it up close and personal, but even he was motivated in part by his Daddy issues. Twitler is in it for the money, but also for the respect he feels he’s never gotten, he wants, no needs to be loved, admired and respected, the fat that he’s not getting that is driving him nuts. The fat that every time he and his family try to extract money from our offers the media is all over them, who knew there would be this much scrutiny, they’ve been robbing the rubes for decades, and nobody noticed. Now they are finally in position to milk the motherload and the media is all over them, actually forcing them to back off a couple of times, it’s just not fair.
    So yes they will be laughing all the way to the bank, but his need for adoration is not being satisfied the way he thought it would, that’s why he’s holding the FL rally tomorrow, to get an adoration fix.
    SAD ! Not in the Twitler way, I mean really SAD, he’s pathetic.

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    D58826 says:

    @hovercraft: Yep but I’m just concerned that we are underestimating him. He is a master showman and knows how to work a crowd. He might not know the nuclear triad from a can of tuna fish but Steve Bannon does. Trump is Mister Outside and Bannon Mr. inside. Mr Outside throws out all of the bright shiney objects while Mr Inside destroys the Constitution

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    cain says:

    Absolutely, you need to engage, because otherwise there is a vaccum and the press will fill it with something else that would be detrimental. Having your policy analysis is a good way to fight the bullshit. So do it!

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    StringOnAStick says:

    Yes, definitely engage! You are the best writer to read about health care policy, which is another reason why I celebrated your new job. Go for it!

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    Boatboy_srq says:

    @hovercraft: The whole fair-trade organic whole-grain loaf, with free-range rBGH-free butter and pesticide-free jam, at that.

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    J R in WV says:


    You were wrong, but the attempted snark was good. So keep up the work, that’s the only way we ever achieve peak snark!!!

    If we can get to peak snark before the wing-nut-bats get to peak wing-nut, maybe we win!?!

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