Andrew Clem home
Andrew Clem banner

Blog post

Monthly archives
(all categories)

September 24, 2008 [LINK / comment]

Wall Street dive helps Obama

It is becoming clear that the plunge in stock prices and the more general crisis of nerves on Wall Street has given a huge boost to Barack Obama's campaign hopes. According to a poll published in the Washington Post (in conjunction with ABC), he has erased John McCain's recent slim lead and now is up by nine percentage points, 52% to 43%. Not surprisingly, among those who believe that the economy is the biggest issue (50% of all voters), Obama's lead is even bigger, 62% to 33%. Those who are more pessimistic about the U.S. economy's long-term prospects are much more likely to vote for Obama as well. Is that just a blip, or do most Americans really think the Illinois Democrat is better suited to addressing our fundamental economic problems? John McCain freely admits that economics is not his strong suit, but where does Obama's alleged economic expertise come from? He's a lawyer, for cryin' out loud!

I can understand that many Americans are prone to blaming the party of the incumbent president for the economic woes, but it simply defies reason to think that Barack Obama is any better suited to fix the problems than John McCain is. As I pointed out on Saturday, a major reason for the collapse of the mortgage banking sector, which has dragged down the entire financial system, is the politicization of economic policy, and Obama is a perfect example of what's wrong with the status quo. Why, then, do so few people grasp this??? Probably because of the myth that there is an economic magic wand in the Oval Office, and everything is up to the president, for better or worse. There's no question that Bush bears some responsibility for the failure of regulatory agencies to prevent the crisis in the first place, but John McCain has absolutely no connection to the Bush White House, and has proven himself over the years to be an independent-minded reformer. The cure to this country's financial distress will come from a pragmatic combination of regulatory vigilance and renewed reliance on free market principles, as opposed to class-baiting populism (on the left) or crony capitalism (on the right). McCain is the right choice for America.

Meanwhile, there is widespread consensus on Capitol Hill that something must be done immediately to prevent the economic crisis from getting worse, but there's a complete lack of agreement on exactly what to do. Putting caps on executive compensation, as the Democrats are demanding, would do virtually nothing to improve matters, but it would play well on Main Street. If that's what it takes to get an emergency "bailout" bill passed by the Democratic-led Congress, then so be it. Going along with such a token populist measure might even reflect favorably on McCain and the Republicans, but I doubt that it would have much impact on voting. But any such measure must be limited in scope, to avoid the "moral hazard" which would tempt other corporations to take risks thinking that Washington would come to their rescue if worse came to worse. That would be the road to perdition, a.k.a. socialism.

Some observers have pointed out the irony that President Bush's second term began with a strong (and in my view, rather miguided) push to privatize Social Security, and is now coming to an end with a strong push to socialize much of the financial sector.


John McCain just announced that he is "suspending his campaign" and is returning to Capitol Hill in order to devote more time to addressing the economic crisis. That means no speeches, no advertising, and no fund-raisers for the time being. See Whether this is perceived as a good thing or a bad thing will be entirely up to the spin-meisters. What I do know for absolute certain is this: Among all members of the United States Senate, and indeed the entire Congress, John McCain ranks near the very top in terms of his solid record of pursuing bipartisan cooperation. In tough times like these, our country needs a unifying leader like John McCain.

Is Obama a Muslim?

I thought we settled this question during the primary campaign back in March, when Hillary Clinton kept bringing it up. In an interview with ABC's George Stephanopoulos earlier this month, Barack Obama said, "You're absolutely right that John McCain has not talked about my Muslim faith, and you're absolutely right that that is not some..." Then Stephanopoulos interrupted to correct the apparent gaffe, and Obama clarified, "my Christian faith." If you don't believe it, watch it for yourself on YouTube. (This may be a mere coincidence, but as Rush Limbaugh recently pointed out with respect to an earlier gaffe, "Obama said he's going to campaign in 57 states, and it turns out that there are 57 Islamic states." Hmm-m-m...) Hat tip to Stacey Morris.

Now, how in the world did that latest gaffe escape my notice? Is there a coverup by the Mainstream Media, or is it my fault for paying too much attention to the baseball pennant races? Well, you can read about it at Washington Times and, at any rate. This, of course, is providing great fodder for the fearsome right-wing smear machine...


WARNING: Political humor is a matter of taste. If you are easily offended, DO NOT click on the above image.

Posted (or last updated or commented upon): 24 Sep 2008, 7: 28 PM

(unformatted URL)

This post is over a week old, so comments are closed.

© Andrew G. Clem. All rights reserved. Your use of this material signifies your acceptance of the Terms of use.

Hits on this page (single blog post) since July 2, 2007:

Category archives:
(all years)

This (or that) year's
blog highlights

Blog highlights have been compiled for the years 2010-2012 thus far, and eventually will be compiled for earlier years, back to 2002.


The "home made" blog organization system that I created was instituted on November 1, 2004, followed by several functional enhancements in subsequent years. I make no more than one blog post per day on any one category, so some posts may cover multiple news items or issues. Blog posts appear in the following (reverse alphabetical) order, which may differ from the chronological order in which the posts were originally made:

  1. Wild birds (LAST)
  2. War
  3. Science & Technology
  4. Politics
  5. Latin America
  6. Culture & Travel
  7. Canaries ("Home birds")
  8. Baseball (FIRST)