The Difference?

David Leonhardt previews Barack Obama's approach to economic policy. He notes that "Indeed, Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton hold similar or identical positions on a host of economic issues, and Democratic economists not aligned with either campaign often speak positively about both." Quite true, I think. He tries to sex things up by observing that "the two candidates offer strikingly different strategies for achieving their economic agendas." To me, though, the argument on that score is pretty unconvincing.

When you control for the fact that it would sound silly for the candidates to just agree that they don't really have clear disagreements on the main issues, I mostly see two campaigns trying to make mountains out of molehills for the sake of having something to talk about. What's more, in practice there's only so much that "strategies for achieving" your legislative agenda can actually do. What matters most is not the strategy but the outcome of the congressional elections.