The White House White Board makes its debut

THE WHITE HOUSE WHITE BOARD MAKES ITS DEBUT…. It often seems as if Democrats would be more likely to win policy debates if the public actually understood what the debate is all about. It’s tempting to think getting everyone into a giant classroom, and handing Professor Obama a sharpie and a dry-erase board would do wonders for the public discourse.

As it turns out, the White House sees some value in this, too, and today unveiled the “White House White Board.” The president’s not in it — and least not in this first edition — but Austan Goolsbee, the new chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, has the pen and the dry-erase board, and he does a nice job explaining the debate over tax policy.

It’s fairly brief, and it’s the kind of explanation that should be easily understood by most of the public. (I would have made it a little longer — it’s worth explaining why tax breaks for millionaires don’t do much to help the economy — but I can appreciate why the White House felt compelled to keep it as short as possible.)

Here’s hoping there will be many more of these. Trying to get a message out is obviously tricky — speeches tend to be long; the media prefers quick sound bites; and few are willing to read policy papers — but an explanation of a policy debate in a video that’s under two minutes strikes me as a clever and worthwhile idea.

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.