On The Economy, Republicans Are Lousy Communicators

In times of economic crises, Republicans are lousy communicators. My Democratic readers will agree, believing that Republicans don't have very many worthy ideas to communicate anyhow. And I suspect that many Republicans would agree, especially those who observe, as I have, that Republican talking points about the economy often sound as if they were written by professional conservatives for professional conservatives. As I've written before, I think the problem is simply that non-interventionist principles don't sound very comforting when the multitudes perceive a systematic problem and demand intervention, whether that information is healthy or not. John McCain is not a natural talker on domestic policy. He is beginning to get the hang of the traditional political communication tactic of giving an example and then working outward to a principle, but he's not going to master it. He can be profoundly empathetic, compellingly so, but there's a scattershot quality to his efforts here. The campaign's chief economics spokesman is a professional academic and government economist named Douglas Holtz-Eaken, who is very well regarded but is a rookie at public communications. All of which is to say that, as John McCain thinks about the political benefits to his choice of vice president, he might well consider the ability to be a persuasive economic spokesperson to be paramount. These folks won't be tasked with communicating to Republicans.... this isn't about finding the person who gives the best stump speech on the economy. it's about elevating a person who can communicate clearly, effectively and empathetically about the economy to the American people. Three names come to mind here: Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-MN), Ex-Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA), and eBay CEO Meg Whitman.