Time was, you had one person write the music and another person write the lyrics and then another person sang the song. It worked well! Then the Beatles came along, and they did everything, and after that everyone had to do everything. That’s the thesis of an article I read in New York Times magazine 15 years ago, so it’s probably not true but I like the story.
Of course it’s more complicated than that because during the 80s and 90s sometimes you had one group of people sing the songs and then another group of better looking people dance on stage while pretending to sing the songs. That didn’t always work out quite so well, but now fortunately we have autotune so good-looking people can perform as musicians without fear of being unmasked as impostors.
In politics, if you look at successful bills like ACA, what happened was you had one group of policy people write the bill, then another group of people (Pelosi and Reid) round up the votes for the bill, and then a more charismatic, better-looking person (Obama) sell the bill to voters. Maybe it could have been written better and sold better but the goddamn thing passed for Christ’s sake.
That brings me to the topic of Paul Ryan. The media made Paul Ryan into the Beatles of politics. He writes the bills, runs the House that passes the bills, and is the pretty face (or what passes for a pretty face in a profession rightly described as “show business for ugly people”) that sells the bills to the public. He’s the mop-topped wonk that stole America’s heart.
But let’s think about what just happened. Paul Ryan wrote a bill that was panned by policy experts. He bizarrely chose to schedule the vote for the bill before he knew he had the votes. He did such a bang up job of selling the bill to the public that a whopping 18% of the public supported the bill. Even the pundits are on to him now.
At least Milli Vanilli could dance.