Teachers with night jobs at Amazon are not a feel-good story End-shutdown

Why is this important? While Biden and his fellow Democrats can’t do much to pass laws with the GOP in control of the House, they can still spend the next two years setting an example. Collectively, everyone on the team should be looking for opportunities to play Gallant to the weird goofus impulses of the Republicans. But it’s also important for Biden to hone his credibility with the American people, and perhaps be a much-needed change agent in our overly seedy political culture. Washington, a notoriously cynical place, is famous for its common sense: paralyzing ideas about leadership. Perhaps one of the most notorious is the bizarre rule that publicly admitting mistakes is a sign of weakness and that politicians should resort to comic lengths to avoid doing it.

There is another way: In rescue, Memoirs by Neil Barofsky From his time in Washington serving as a special inspector general overseeing the Troubled Asset Relief Program, he described the advice he received from Kristine Belisle, the woman he smartly hired to be his director of communications. It was as anti-Washington as possible: “We will admit and even highlight our mistakes.” As he went on to explain, there is a method to a strategy that most people within the Beltway would consider insane:

This is the best way to gain the trust of the press. They’ll know we’re not spinning like everyone else. SIGTARP will quickly become Washington’s only credible source of TARP information. We may be embarrassed at times and reveal things that we could (and others would) easily hide, but we will surprise the press with our honesty. No one else does this, and before long, we’ll have a built-in defense when we’re attacked. No matter what they hear, the press will come to us first and believe us, because we will show them that we are telling the truth.

This is perhaps the main reason why Biden follows the course of radical assumption of responsibility: there are inevitably moments in any presidency when it is essential to have the trust of the public and the institutions that safeguard the civic interest. Furthermore, vital capital can be gained by owning up to our mistakes, and there is an important distinction Biden can make with his political opponents. The president would do well to follow the old adage: Tell the truth and shame the devil.

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