James Carville: "The Truman-Carville-Bartels position is the economic equivalent of evolution."

Thursday, May 7, 2009


“There’s a book that’s come out right now, by prominent economist—irrefutable—looking at the evidence showing that when Democrats have been in charge of the economy, the economy has grown faster and it’s also been fairer in the sense that everybody benefits. And when the Republicans have been in charge, the economy has grown slower and there’s been greater inequality. And this is, you know, looking back over the last 80 years.” –Barack Obama


As reported last fall by MSNBC, Barack Obama spoke about key ideas found in Larry Bartels’ book Unequal Democracy: The Political Economy of the New Gilded Age during a stop on the campaign trail in Pennsylvania. Obama’s comments came on the heels of an August commentary for CNN in which James Carville wrote, “Obama can connect with voters on the economy by using history as a guideline. He should start by reading Unequal Democracy by Princeton academic Larry Bartels. The non-partisan and non-political Bartels points out devastatingly after an exhaustive study of Democratic and Republican presidents that the Democrats built a better economy and a more just society."


Carville has now relied on Bartels' work to draw conclusions described in Carville's new book, 40 More Years: How the Democrats Will Rule the Next Generation. Carville cites Bartels' analyses, creating what Carville calls the "Truman-Carville-Bartels" position.