August 21, 2009

Peggy Noonan stole my thoughts!

Relax, I'm kidding. Peggy Noonan did not steal my thoughts. She did however echo something I've been saying for some time, in more general terms.*

In today's Wall Street Journal in discussing the health care battlefield, she had this to say;

Every big idea that works is marked by simplicity, by clarity. You can understand it when you hear it, and you can explain it to people. Social Security: Retired workers receive a public pension to help them through old age. Medicare: People over 65 can receive taxpayer-funded health care. Welfare: If you have no money and cannot support yourself, we will help as you get back on your feet.

These things are clear. I understand them. You understand them. The president's health-care plan is not clear, and I mean that not only in the sense of "he hasn't told us his plan." I mean it in terms of the voodoo phrases, this gobbledygook, this secret language of government that no one understands—"single payer," "public option," "insurance marketplace exchange." No one understands what this stuff means, nobody normal.
Noonan goes on to say that if people don't understand it, they won't buy into it. She's exactly right. I'm glad more people are starting to see and/or say that simple means sensible. No health care bill requires 1000 pages. Who wrote this monster? Was it one super intelligent being? No, Obama wasn't involved *sarcasm*, he left it to Congress.

*In previous blog posts I've said this;

Think of a business model. Think of the laws of physics. Think of your favorite song (it's probably not an 18 minute jazz opus). Think of the concept of hard work pays off. Think of effective corporate slogans and logos (for example Nike, what's their slogan, and their logo?). The fact of the matter is simplicity, simply, works. It just does. It's the KISS principle - Keep It Simple Stupid (either that or Gene Simmons).


So if simplicity works, why do people including government officials (elected or otherwise) assume that the government has to be so complex? Not meaning to go all libertarian on you, could the United States government not go miles towards easing economic problems by simply easing up on the complexities they have imposed on American business? The tax code is over 67,000 pages long. Does that seem reasonable to anyone other than a bureaucrat or a lawyer? I can't begin to imagine how many pages of federal laws there are.

and this with respect to keeping government's role small and simple;
The government doesn't tell you what part of the sandbox to play in. It doesn't tell you what games to play, what toys to play with in the sandbox or how long you can play for. It's there to make sure the sandbox is okay to play in and those playing in it aren't harming each other. Period.
and more recently, this;
The message that will connect with voters has to be clear, concise and simple to understand. The wrong approach to take is to emulate the Obama approach - vagueness. It worked for him in 2008, but his believers are turning to skeptics. Why? Because vagueness breeds an internalization of what the candidate means. The internalization is to see the candidate in the best or worst possible light. What you get after the fact, is the stark reality of how the candidate really governs. The issue is, Obama used up the tactic. Because of the disillusionment over his real governing style, it can't be used again because people will demand more up front accountability. Simply put, that same tactic won't work for at least another 20 years.
I'm not claiming invention of the concept of simplicity, even as applied to politics. The Bill Clinton campaign in 1992 thrived on it. I'm just saying that in the current climate of legislative clutter, simplicity is what will cut through and connect with people. Every message has to be distilled down to it's simplest form. It can have all the sophisticated analysis behind it that might be required, if it is. It needs to be based in truth, and to be able to be substantiated. But it MUST be simple. "Death panels" is a great example.

Sara Palin cut through the health care clutter like a knife through butter.

And it worked. Those two words tore through the health care debate and affected a change in the crafting of the bill.

Let's face it, I'm not really one to talk about simplicity. I'm typically too verbose for my own liking, let alone someone else's. But I know truth when I see it, and I know

Simpler = more gooder.
[Hat tip for the phraseology; Opie and Anthony]

No comments:

Post a Comment

Disagreement is always welcome. Please remain civil. Vulgar or disrespectful comments towards anyone will be removed.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Share This