Matthew Yglesias 🍦 Profile picture
DC Bureau Chief, Slow Boring. Author of One Billion Americans. Host of The Weeds. These tweets are worth what you pay for them.
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26 Nov
I’m a little tired of hearing “well they’re activists” as an all-purpose response to criticisms that groups are spreading misinformation, picking counterproductive fights, and making progress on the issues they claim to care about harder.
The F- for Biden’s climate plan was risible. The hair trigger denunciation of Beto’s climate plan was absurd. Backing Weiner’s primary challenger was antithetical to climate goals. And the idea that Brian Deese is a major impediment to good climate policy is false.
And to be clear, I’m not saying that “activism is stupid.”

I’m saying that this specific activist group keeps doing stupid things, and you don’t get to say “well we’re doing activism” as an all-purpose excuse for saying and doing things that don’t make sense.
Read 6 tweets
25 Nov
To me the most frustrating aspect of recent progressive politics is the constant insistence that it’s *not possible* to exercise strategic message discipline around [whatever topic we are discussing]
I liked @OsitaNwanevu’s conclusion reviewing Obama’s book.

But you win battles by making conscious choices about where to fight and when. If that’s not possible things really are hopeless (things are not hopeless).… Image
I would prefer politicians to do things that lead to electoral victory and progressive governance rather than ineffectual efforts to “show leadership.”

Politics ... but as a vocation
Read 4 tweets
25 Nov
Two Trumpisms:

— “Abandon Paul Ryan’s vision of welfare state rollback while giving corporate America tax cuts and regulatory favors but TALK exclusively about cultural issues” seems effective.

— Donald Trump personally is not effective
Like all else being equal Republicans would be better off with a nominee who can speak coherently and isn’t dogged by dozens of sexual assault accusations — but reverting to the Romney/Bush policy agenda wouldn’t help.
But to say that cutting taxes while increasing spending is popular if you’re not facing an objective budget constraint seems obvious?

Yet Obama didn’t see it that way and that’s why I worry about Bruce Reed at OMB. The federal government has access to free money — hand it out!
Read 4 tweets
18 Nov
This thread doesn’t make sense to me.

Arnold repeatedly concedes that there is no actual fiscal tradeoff here, but then simply pounds the table and insists that student loan forgiveness would be a bad idea if there *were* a fiscal tradeoff.

But there isn’t!
I think a lot of people would rather debate policy in a world where fiscal tradeoffs exist and cost-effectiveness is an important consideration.

But to get there you need to get the full employment.
So on one level I agree — Mitch McConnell should call Joe Biden and say he wants to negotiate details on a $5 trillion fiscal stimulus package but that part of the package will be taking the student debt idea off the table.

That would be great. Let’s do that.
Read 4 tweets
18 Nov
I wonder what people in the electorate understand to have been promised when they hear Democrats over the past few years promise to tackle “systemic racism.”…
This phrase was not a staple of Democratic rhetoric until very recently, when Hillary Clinton said it in 2016 it was noteworthy enough to garner a whole article on its own.

Now Biden drops it into speeches and it’s considered unremarkable.…
Speaking personally, to me it just sounds kind of inherently non-credible.

Like I totally believe that if you elect politicians who say they want to expand Medicaid that Medicaid will be expanded. But I don’t really believe that the future of racism hinges on the GA runoffs.
Read 4 tweets
13 Nov
Hey folks, some personal news.

Co-founding @voxdotcom with @ezraklein & @MelissaBell has been one of the great adventures of my life but after 6+ years on the job I’ve decided it’s time for me to move on to something new that I’m really excited about.
I’ve been wanting for some time to reclaim what I had in my blog days as an independent voice, and a great opportunity has arisen for me to do that on Substack where today I’m launching a new site that you can find and read all about here:…
Parting is always bittersweet and I’ll miss so many colleagues so very much but I’m looking forward to really telling everyone what’s on my mind to an even greater extent than I do now :)
Read 5 tweets
13 Nov
Notwithstanding my earlier grousing about Turchin, I think “elite overproduction” is an excellent framework within which to understand intra-caucus tensions among House Democrats.
The people who become members of congress are ambitious. But in the Dem system it takes forever to chair a committee, there’s no upward mobility in caucus leadership, and members have no ability to influence legislation.

So what do they do? Factional infighting!
You want to be able to say to people “hey if you chilled out, made a bit less trouble, put your head down, and really did the work you could _____.”

But what’s the ____ for House Dems?
Read 4 tweets
12 Nov
Because of his service as Ebola Czar, @RonaldKlain kind of became a Pandemic Guy even before Covid and then when Covid hit he was THE pandemic guy.

But the most important part of the story is that when he got the Ebola ob, the knock on him was that he wasn’t qualified.
He’s not a doctor, he’s not a research scientist, he wasn’t an expert in the politics of West Africa, he was just like this veteran political guy who was highly respected by people who knew him.

But it turned out to be a great pick — politics is a distinct sphere of endeavor.
The question of what to do is inherently more complicated than “listen to the scientists.”

You have to listen to them, of course, but they don’t all agree and there’s a balance of considerations and a whole of government to coordinate.

He did great.
Read 6 tweets