“Politics is the field of unintended consequences”

Thomas Nides, former deputy secretary of state under Clinton, offers a perfect summation of the creed (h/t Doug Henwood): Hillary Clinton understands we always need to change — but change that doesn’t cause unintended consequences for the average American. Off the top of my head, here’s a brief list of changes that caused unintended consequences for the average American (whoever that might be): The election of Abraham Lincoln. The passage of Social Security. The entrance of women into factories during World War II. Brown v. Board of Ed. Civil Rights Act of 1964 Asking an unknown state senator from Illinois to deliver the keynote address at the 2004 Democratic Party convention. Politics is the field of unintended consequences (“Events, dear boy, events.”) Don’t like unintended […]

That is Corey Robin, who has a very interesting blog. Keeping it old school like me.

I agree with Nides, the only difference being that I can’t think of someone in government any different. Someone said to me recently that yes, there are unintended consequences, and so politics is about letting the chips fall where they may and then leaving enough flexibility to control the damage afterwards. Maybe one lesson of the last decade is that the US government is bad at damage control.

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