It can be a slam, a dig or an insult. It has been used to discredit politicians as “out of touch”. But is it? Really? Don’t we want a wonk in charge of the important stuff in DC?
NORTH AMERICAN informal derogatory
a studious or hardworking person.
"any kid with an interest in science was a wonk"
a person who takes an excessive interest in minor details of political policy.
"he is a policy wonk in tune with a younger generation of voters"
Well, Democrats want wonks generally. It has been described as the reason we have lost some elections. We don’t tend to nominate candidates you would "Want to have a beer with”. I, for one think that the Drinking Buddy Method of Choosing Candidates (DBMCC) is kind of, well, stupid. I like my candidates smart and curious and deeply involved in policy. But, I am a Democrat. So ...
Maybe the DBMCC is outdated. Maybe George W Bush did it some damage and Donald Trump will put an end to this particular metric for choosing candidates. Maybe Republicans will start nominating their own smart, policy-oriented candidates. Certainly Paul Ryan is trying to be that, despite his overall “wrongness” and schoolboy good looks.
Certainly the media don’t help. They like photogenic and easy to package candidates. Certainly “likability” should play some role in selecting candidates. I mean, they are our representatives after all. Certainly, different groups of people define likability differently. Some like authoritarian while others like consensus builders.
Which leads me to the 2016 Presidential Election. We have chosen Hillary Rodham Clinton to be our standard bearer. She may not poll high in “likable” or “trustworthy” but she is absolutely overwhelmingly leading in “ability to do the job”. She is who she is. She is a wonk who studies incessantly, devours details and works harder than anyone else in the room.
For some reason, Gallup has Trump +10% on “Handling the Economy”. The reality televisions star has carefully branded himself. The former Senator and Secretary of State needs to make the case that she would indeed be better on the economy.
She would be our Policy Wonk in Chief
from The Washington Post “How Hillary Clinton created her plan for America — behind-the-scenes”
“Her willingness to go deep into the weeds on policy is exceptional," Krueger, a Princeton economist and former Obama administration official who now advises Clinton, told me, "even among the group of exceptional presidents I’ve worked for.”
Another senior Clinton adviser, speaking on background to discuss the campaign policy operation candidly, offered the ultimate wonk praise of the candidate: "If she hadn't been who she is," the adviser said, "she would have been one of us."
Here’s why that matters.
We need to make the strong case for our candidate based on her strengths. Hillary Rodham Clinton will never win using the Drinking Buddy Method. She can, and will, win using the Smartest Person in the Room Method. Embrace it. Revel in it even.
Moody's: Clinton will make economy 'stronger' vs. Trump 'recession' courtesy of CNBC.
"Secretary Clinton's tax proposals would raise substantial revenue and make the tax system meaningfully more progressive," Moody's said. "Secretary Clinton would use the additional tax revenues to pay for additional federal government spending."
The Trump analysis predicted the billionaire businessman's plans also would result in $11 trillion more in public debt and 3.5 million lost jobs.
Compare the candidates: Clinton vs. Trump on the economy courtesy of Politifact
Clinton has literally decades of experience in the domestic and international policy trenches. Befitting this background, she has offered a wide range of detailed proposals on everything from renewable energy goals to sick-leave guarantees. The issues page of her campaign website lists no fewer than 32 topic headings, some as specific as Alzheimer’s disease and animal welfare.
By contrast, Trump is a novice in electoral politics but an experiences CEO. He has offered specifics on a few issues, such as taxes and trade, but for the most part, Trump’s web pages on the issues offer broad statements rather than details.
These Are the Big Differences Between Clinton's and Trump's Economic Visions courtesy of Fortune
Many of Clinton’s plans—raising taxes on wealthier households and boosting financial aid for education and job training—resemble President Barack Obama’s and, economists say, largely reflect the status quo.
“The Clinton plan is very much in line with Obama’s campaign proposals and the budgets he has proposed as president,” said Josh Bivens, research and policy director for the liberal Economic Policy Institute.
Most economists have been dismissive of Trump’s economic proposals, particularly his steep tax cuts.
“The Trump plan is just this enormous tax cut that couldn’t be adopted,” said Alan Auerbach, an economics professor at the University of California, Berkeley and a leading expert on tax and budget policy. “I don’t even know to evaluate it.”
- “Economists on the right and the left and the center all agree: (Donald) Trump would throw us back into recession.”
- “He’s written a lot of books about business — but they all seem to end at Chapter 11.”
- “We can’t let him bankrupt America like we are one of his failed casinos. We can’t let him roll the dice with our children’s futures.”
- “We cannot put a person like this, with all his empty promises, in a position of power over our lives.”
- “Over the years, he intentionally ran up huge amounts of debt on his companies and then defaulted. He bankrupted those companies — not once, not twice, but four times. “Hundreds of people lost their jobs. Shareholders were wiped out. Lenders lost money. Contractors — many of them small businesses — took heavy losses. Many went bust.
- “But Donald Trump always came out fine.”
- “Interestingly, Trump’s own products are made in a lot of countries that aren’t named America: Trump ties are made in China, Trump suits in Mexico, Trump furniture in Turkey, Trump picture frames in India and Trump barware in Slovenia."
More of this please!
Hillary Clinton needs to continue making the case that she is the adult in the room. She is doing that in the best way possible by staying away from the Trump attacks that others are making. Tim Kaine isn’t even joining in on the Trump sanity questions that have become so fashionable lately. That is not how the adult in the room does things.
It may be boring and it may not make for good television but Hillary is doing the right thing. She is showing us what the adult in the room looks like.