Wednesday, January 26, 2011

In Praise of Vagueness

Matthew Yglesias notes today that a number of commentators are chiding Obama for being too vague in the State of the Union and not offering enough specific policy proposals.

I'm all for bold strokes, but on issues like tax policy there just isn't anything to be gained by laying out a detailed plan. The President can describe the basic principles that would lead him to support and sign a tax reform bill, but anything more specific than that gives his opponents something to shoot at before his supporters have time to load their rifles.

The State of the Union is usually a place to describe goals, not tasks. One of the worst things about Bush's SOTU speeches is that he routinely threw in specific tasks he wanted to accomplish and then he would just sort of abandon them later for no obvious reason.

Remember Mars?

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