Inspired by this post by Paul Krugman about the economic platitudes in Obama’s inaugural address, I had a thought about conventional wisdom.
Krugman suggests that waiting for conventional wisdom (it’s assumed by wonky types that that refers specifically to the DC political establishment & the media) to arrive at the truth is a recipe for ineffective government. I agree. Instead, what should be done is to mold the conventional wisdom toward where one wants it to be. I think the political right has been working toward this goal for years now, training young conservatives to be “pundits”, appearing on talk shows all over the media spectrum in order to forward their worldview more than anyone else, and thus have the largest influence on conventional wisdom.
I think the Obama administration can counter this by utilizing the ideal of transparency to send lots of White House spokespeople out to make efforts. The problem with that, though, is the seeming independence of conservative pundits, compared to the obvious and unavoidable spokesmanship of the White House representatives. Hmm.
Regardless, the main point still stands. Obama cannot hope to succeed in his grand necessities while following conventional wisdom. He must lead the conventional wisdom.