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Wonks vs. hacks

Noting the gripes and second-guessing coming from Hillary Clinton’s campaign, Berkeley economist and blogger Brad DeLong evinces a dim view of political advisors: There are two kinds of people who get involved in politics–those who care about the substance of policy, and those who want to get White House Mess privileges, or as a consolation ...

Noting the gripes and second-guessing coming from Hillary Clinton’s campaign, Berkeley economist and blogger Brad DeLong evinces a dim view of political advisors:

There are two kinds of people who get involved in politics–those who care about the substance of policy, and those who want to get White House Mess privileges, or as a consolation prize become media celebrities. The first kind–the policy people–will be loyal to a politician as long as he or she is trying his or her best to achieve the shared policy goals. The second kind–the spinmasters–will be loyal to a politician as long as he or she is a winner who favors them. If a politician stops looking like a winner, or if a politician starts favoring others for what they hoped would be their west wing job, they will jump ship as fast as they can–and you will start seeing the "infighting" stories.

The moral? A politician with an ideological policy compass is best off not hiring spinmasters as his or her senior aides. Hire people who care about the substance of policy instead.

(Hat tip: Daniel Drezner)

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