"I’m telling you this to point out that we need a coherent narrative... The No. 1 rule of effective politics, especially if the people you’re running against have a simple narrative — that government is always the problem, there is no such thing as a good tax or a bad tax cut, there’s no such thing as a good program or a bad program cut, no such thing as a good regulation or a bad deregulation — if you’re going to fight that, your counter has to be rooted in the lives of other people...."So... he wants stories and anecdotes, not a countervailing simple message?
"We need to understand that one of the things that tends to tilt things toward the Republicans’ anti-government narrative is our country was born out of a suspicion of government... King George’s government was not accountable to us. That’s what the Boston tea party was about. When the tea party started out, at least they were against unaccountable behavior from top to bottom. Then it morphed into something different. If you want to go against that grain, you’ve got to tell people you understand it’s a privilege and a responsibility to spend their tax money, but there’s some things we have to do together. And that’s what the purpose of government is, to do the things that we have to do together that we can’t do on our own."Of course he's right about the purpose of government. The real difference of opinion is about how gigantically huge that pile of "things" is.
“If we can make that choice credible... then our candidates — starting with the president — and our principles will be fine."Make it credible.... In other words, get people to believe that the Democrats have a better definition of the things that we can't do on our own that are therefore the purpose of government. That's all! Just do that. Basically: Okay, now, there's your big idea from me. You figure out the details.
If we start at the top the article, we see that he was mostly talking up his own story, his accomplishments, the details from his time, when it was his privilege and responsibility to spend other people's money.
Bill Clinton has explained the big idea — "it’s a privilege and a responsibility to spend [the people's] money, but there’s some things we have to do together" — and each leader in his time must work out the details. And Bill Clinton would like you to know/believe that he did a fabulous job with the details, and life was pretty good back then. If the same Democratic vision of a broad role for government is going badly now then it's the fault of the man who now has the privilege to spend the money, the responsibility to choose the details, and the task to "make that choice credible."