We All Do Better When We All Do Better

15 years ago Paul Wellstone and his family died in a plane crash in Minnesota.

That really resonates with me today after reading Molly Ball’s piece on the Third Way tour that DD posted in the Open Thread today.   Because it seems to me that the answer that the Third Way is trying to find is “We all do better when we all do better.”

It isn’t much of a surprise that a think tank would be pursuing its own confirmation bias.  It is pretty shocking that an organization that is funded by so many *serious* people could be this sloppy and — frankly — arrogant.  But it is nuts to look into the face of deeply ingrained and government enabled economic instability and look for common ground anymore.  Major portions of the media have thrived on telling people that Other People are why you don’t have more.  Even though those Other People employ no one, they write no payroll checks and they are not moving jobs offshore.

You are talking to people who are pretty much not had a raise for 40 years.  You are talking to people who have been taking on the business risk of some companies for 40 years.  You are talking to people whose government no longer believes that these folks have any real interests they need to serve.  The majority of the compromise they have  been asked to support hasn’t been as much help as advertised.  Even the ACA — for as much good as it has done for many — is a compromise that jams up some with no real fix in sight.  This was a compromise that took a GOP sanctioned health care program and implemented it nationwide, which caused the GOP to lose its collective shit.  So they don’t own up to the compromise and now have the position of  No Health Care for All.  What are you supposed to compromise with, exactly?

The Third Way famously proposed cuts to Social Security as a way to fix the program.  This is not a compromise or middle of the road position.  This is asking people who are already not feeling financially safe to take on more financial risk.  And take on risk for a program that was not supposed to ask you to take less.  The Government and the people who are supposed to make the program whole and healthy are let off the hook for that obligation while the rest of us live with a Social Security check that won’t meet the need.  The only people compromising here are the people who need Social Security to be robust and work.  No one else gives up anything.

We all do better when we all do better.  If this is your North Star then it is a lot easier to work out steps to a broader government goal.  But this article really nails how the Third Way fetishizes the business of compromise — compromise is its only value, not the results of that compromise.

Democrats could abandon The Third Way pretty much entirely (even though some of their strict policy work is good) if they just remind themselves every day that We All Do Better When We All Do Better.


You don't make progress by standing on the sidelines, whimpering and complaining. You make progress by implementing ideas. -- Shirley Chisolm

3 comments on “We All Do Better When We All Do Better

  1. Read the astoundingly long article and reached the same conclusion, the “Third Way” is a bit of a scam wrapped in a hoax that had a pre agreed upon conclusion before they started. It’s perfect for the Tom Carper’s of the world and little else. Very much reminded me of Carney’s “shared sacrifice” that consisted of pain for the bottom and no worries for the top.

    • cassandram

      The Third Way really did help Bill Clinton and other Dems find their way back into power at one point and we should not dismiss that. But they seem to have gotten stuck on this fetishized compromise and not on working through solutions that would work for majorities of us.

  2. They also lost a filibuster proof Congress and the Presidency

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