Tuesday, January 22, 2008

turing on a dime

Going into the presidential election, there was much talk about the "surge" and how John McCain was gambling his candidacy on supporting it and the Iraq war in general (except for his complaints about mismanagement). There was debate in Democratic circles whether Obama's objection to the war in 2002, or Edwards's admission of error in voting to authorize the war, or Hillary's refusal to do admit error would be the best course against McCain.

Then McCain seemed done for, even though "the surge worked" (since the goalposts changed). So did Obama, for a while...

But as quickly as he rose, Obama fell down to sub-parity with Sen. Clinton. And then economy got progressively worse.

While the markets were closed in the US yesterday, the DAX (the German stock exachange) lost 7% of its value. The same thing happened in London, Hong Kong, etc. The fed tried an emergency .75% interest rate cut, but that seems to have hastened the panic.

And all of the sudden, Romney with his business consulting know-how and claims that he can turn around the economy seems to be not just a one-trick-pony for Michigan. Meanwhile, McCain and his "I don't know much about the economy, but I slept at a Holiday Inn Express last night" routine looks a little scary.

My the same token, Hillary's claim of experience and having the same old Clinton economic team around sounds pretty good when a recession seems to be upon us.

So the question becomes, can Obama (and to a lesser extent McCain) change their message around to the economy and how they will do a better job than Mitt and Hillary would? And in general, can Republicans walk back from their rosy talk about the economy when the markets tank and lots of real people come up to them on the campaign trial to tell them their horror stories?

Washington DC is a panic to do SOMETHING, anything to show they care...even if it might make the situation worse. Democrats of late have owned economic issues it terms of health care, unemployment etc. Republicans have always claimed tax cuts will fix everything...but what will the package look like? How much tax cuts will there be, and how much will pure spending stimulus will occur.

The situation is quickly spinning out of control and politicans from both parties need to figure out how to capitalize in the new environment.

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