Posted by | March 22, 2011 15:23 | Filed under: Top Stories

by Stuart Shapiro

I wear my label as a policy wonk proudly.   Therefore I like to think that the label brings with it a certain level of sophistication.  But it seems like the path to being called a wonk is getting easier and easier.  Apparently all one has to do is say something vaguely related to policy and use complete sentences.  Jonathan Chait explains how Sen. Marco Rubio has become qualified as a wonk (h/t Steve Benen).

Jennifer Rubin has an item headlined, “Marco Rubio continues to impress,” which gushes over Rubio’s deep grasp of public policy. Here’s the Rubio-authored passage she cites:

Approving free-trade agreements with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea would be a boon to our economy, create jobs for Floridians, and help solidify our alliances with these steadfast allies. . .

Maybe I’m missing something. This seems like pure boilerplate, something you get get by waking up any press secretary in the middle of the night and urging them to attack the free trade stance of a Democratic president.

You don’t get to be called a nerd (another title I wear proudly) just because you watched an episode of Star Trek.  You don’t get to be called a jock (a title I have no hope of acquiring) by not tripping when you walk.  And you don’t get to be called a wonk just by saying “free trade is good.”

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Copyright 2011 Liberaland
By: Stuart Shapiro

Stuart is a professor and the Director of the Public Policy
program at the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers
University. He teaches economics and cost-benefit analysis and studies
regulation in the United States at both the federal and state levels.
Prior to coming to Rutgers, Stuart worked for five years at the Office
of Management and Budget in Washington under Presidents Clinton and
George W. Bush.