FDR and lobbying…

One of the most common conversations we have with clients when planning advocacy to persuade politicians, is to increase work outside the Brussels beltway in addition to lobbying inside it; and to focus on communicating messages which resonate with the public in addition to talking to policy elites with long words.

Several recent meetings have reminded us of the following story of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and the civil rights movement.

During his time in office, FDR was visited at the White House by a group of leading civil rights activists.  At the meeting, the activists laid out their case and their policy asks. Walking them to the door, FDR summed up the need to convince politicians from without, not within: ‘I agree with you,’ he said. ‘Now go out there and make me do it…’

July 2011