It’s the conversation, stupid.

Back in 1992, Bill Clinton’s campaign team coined a sticky little phrase, “It’s the economy, stupid!” Today, while the topic may still be the economy, what everyone’s talking about is the conversation.

I sat in on a conference call today with some folks from Pew who are sponsoring business leader summits on early childhood around the country. The focus of the call was on how to convey the economic message of business support for early childhood.

Diane Neighbors, Tennessee’s business leader summit organizer, has been keeping the conversation going in her state, touting business leader advocacy and urging more of it.

Likewise, Timothy Bartik, a labor economist in Kalamazoo who writes on early childhood economics, responded in a very measured tone to an angry anti-pre-k media piece, in the process drawing reader support.

I was describing to a friend a Twitter conversation I had recently with someone whose views are quite strong and opposed to mine. I don’t know this person; she lives in another state and I likely will never meet her. My friend found it hard to imagine having an emotionally charged conversation with someone she didn’t know. But it happens all the time…on talk radio. In letters to the editor. In comments on blogs.

People like to talk! In fact, some might call it “conversation.”