Saturday, August 25, 2012

My "thank you" to Michael Grunwald

As most of you know by now, Michael Grunwald published a book this month titled The New New Deal that has changed the conversation (especially on the left) about the 2009 Recovery Act.

In a bit of brazen "pat yourself on the back" theatrics, I feel the urge to point out that I have been singing the praises of Michael Grunwald on this topic for a while now. But the truth is that this is a pretty common theme amongst us pragmatic progressives. While the poutragers scream about meaningless shortcomings of the Obama administration - we've often been busy uncovering the successes they ignore.

For that reason and several more, I found this discussion on Up w/ Chris last weekend to be fascinating.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

If you're able to watch the clip, the first thing you'll hear is Grunwald point out the following facts about the impact of the Recovery Act on poverty:

  • It lifted 7 million people out of poverty,
  • It made 32 million poor people less poor,
  • It reformed unemployment insurance for the first time since the New Deal, making it applicable to todays work force,
  • It included a program for the homeless that took 1.2 million people off the streets.
In an obvious attempt to find something to blame on President Obama, Chris Hayes' response is to ask "why don't we know all that?" What he expects to hear is that the President failed to tell us. 

But I will give Chris some credit, he eventually acknowledges that he is a reporter and that as such, he should have found and told the story. He didn't. Perhaps he was too busy discussing the myth about how President Obama could have gotten a bigger stimulus with all the other poutragers.

That exchange, perhaps more than any other, captures for me the way that the left has done more to thwart progressive policies than to support them. The reason more people don't know about the positive affects of the Recovery Act is that too many of them spent all their time critiquing it and almost no time looking at its benefits. The very same thing happened to Obamacare. 

And so I want to do a BIG SHOUT OUT to Michael Grunwald for taking a different route. And hope that perhaps Chris will learn the lesson.


  1. Thanks, Ms. Smartypants, this post went straight to my FB page with the other information about how the stimulus lifted many Americans out of poverty. Americans don't know these things because I believe there has been a concerted effort on the part of the MSM stenographers to deny PBO any type of success. They'd rather spend their time helping republicans lie to us than on reporting the good things that the president has done.

  2. Smartypants, why are you so skeptical of Chris Hayes? He seems like a reasonable and thoughtful person, and yet you seem to have him on some list of unreasonable poutrage enemies of the President. What am I missing?

    1. I actually have hope for Chris and thought I conveyed that in this post. But obviously I failed.

      I personally think he's enough of a critical thinker to work himself out of the poutrage mentality. He does so occasionally - just like he did in the video when he started blaming Obama and then called himself up short as being part of the problem for not doing his job as a reporter.


Why Republicans No Longer Believe in Democracy

Seven years ago I was asked to write a review of Zachary Roth's book, "The Great Suppression." More than anything I'd rea...