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"Big Challenge for progressives...

By Michael J. Smith on Monday March 5, 2007 11:13 PM

....People Don't Believe That Government Works."

One Mike Lux is very upset about the results of a recent poll:

....there is some stuff in there that also just scares the shit out of me, and ought to scare anyone who cares about the broader progressive agenda.

Look at some of these numbers:


If the federal government were to receive additional money, do you think the additional money is more likely to be spent well or is it more likely to be wasted?

  • Spent well: 13%
  • Wasted: 83%

A. Government does more to help people get ahead in life.

  • 30% agree
B. Government mostly gets in the way of the economy and job growth.
  • 57% agree
Well, you might ask, what's Mike's problem here? Don't these stats show how intelligent the public is? Presumably, when the pollster interrupted the respondents' dinner, the poll's "subjects" weren't thinking about some ideal, conjectural government in Cloud-Cuckoo-Land, but about the government under which they actually live, and have lived all their lives, through Bushes and Clintons and, for the elderly among them, Reagans and Carters. Are they mistaken in their assessment of that government, Mike?

Mike, naturally, doesn't address this question. In all fairness to him, it's almost certain that the question has never occurred to him. For reasons of his own, he would very much like voters to believe in some government that he might be, or once was part of:

Long-term, the broad progressive movement needs to have a... strategy toward convincing Americans of the positive things a well-run government can bring to their lives.... this is why I was a lot more excited than many progressives when I was in the Clinton White House about the National Service, 100,000 cops on the street, and re-inventing government initiatives we implemented....
He goes on, at great length, to stress how important it is for the voters to believe that "our" candidates will give them a "well-run" government. This is remarkably obtuse, for a presumably quick-witted merit-class Clintonian junior woodchuck. If people think that actually-existing government is inimical to them -- and once again, Mike, are they wrong? -- then why in the name of all that's holy would they want it to be "well-run?" Surely they ought to want just the opposite?

I'm being too hard on the guy, obviously. You can't expect a man to be rational when his career is at stake. Here's his CV:


Mike Lux is the founder of Progressive Strategies LLC and a director of the Center for Progressive Leadership.

* Director, Proteus Fund
* Director, Arca Foundation

According to the Progressive Strategies' web site, prior "to founding Progressive Strategies, Lux was Senior Vice President for Political Action at People For the American Way (PFAW), PFAW Foundation, and the PFAW Voters Alliance....

Before coming to People For the American Way, Lux served at the William Jefferson Clinton White House as a Special Assistant to the President for Public Liaison, where his role on health care and budget issues involved working closely with a wide range of constituency groups including labor, seniors, health care providers, trial lawyers, consumer groups and agricultural interests.

"Since leaving the White House in April 1995, Lux has become a significant fundraiser for progressive causes and candidates. He was a 1996 Clinton-Gore Finance Committee Vice Chair, and served in the 1996 cycle as a Democratic National Business Council Vice Chair.... Prior to his service at the White House, Lux was Constituency Director on both the 1992 Clinton-Gore campaign and the Presidential transition. Lux was also a senior staffer for the Joseph R. Biden, Jr. and Paul Simon campaigns in the 1988 cycle....

Lux is currently (January 29, 2003) involved in assisting Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) "in assembling and raising money for a new outside organization designed to provide a voice to the party's progressive wing....

It's wonderful, really, how Mike and his mirror-image careerists at the Heritage Foundation have agreed that this needs to be a conversation about the abstract idea of "government" Good thing, or bad thing? More, or less? Anarchy, or totalitarianism? Vote, or die!

No wonder people don't vote, and die stoically when their time comes. They know a scam when they see it.

Comments (7)

owen paine:

just read a very silly
benthamite negation of bentham's selfishness
a citizen/voter model
where the utility function
contained both an individual "argument"
a sopcial or large reference group "argument"

seems no matter how large the electorate
or how feeble the social impact
if the second argument is non zero......benthamite automata...vote their prefernce

moral non voters are ....selfish

such are the sleep products of academe


Help me out here...what does "progressive" mean exactly, when this guy tosses it around with such ease?


I think it means more sweet career for him, more careers for people just like him, and making sure people are more like the kind of people he and his pals want to manage.

owen paine:

its an old orwellian theme :

babs sang it best

who manage people ...
are the luckiest people...
in the world"


Sounds scrumptious! Career ahoy!

Brian The Evil Bureuacrat*

* What's that? I see your fence is too close to the sidewalk! Off with your head!


People may joke about it, but fences kill. Last year alone they accounted for close to 12,000 pedestrian fatalities. If beheading is what it takes to send a message of personal responsbility, then so be it.


What if they threw a Democratic Party and nobody came? Such is the fear that creeps up the Lux wonk-spine.

Allow me a Seuss moment: Creep, fear, creep!

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