John McCain has an opportunity to play 'Ronald Reagan's optimism' to Barack Obama's 'Jimmy Carter-malaise.'
The latest shoes to drop on Wall Street are Lehman Bros.'s bankruptcy and Merrill Lynch's sale to Bank of America. These events and others led to a 500 point drop in the stock market.
Fine. These things are bad and people are worried. Call it a crisis, if you like. But despite what Barack Obama, Guitar Hero* says, it is not the worst since the Great Depression. Lets take this news with a huge grain of salt. Today's drop represented a loss on the order of 4%. In 1987, when Obama was organizing communities, the stock market dropped 22%. The least we can say is that Obama is bad at math. The worst? That he is exploiting people's populist fears.
Wherever you fall on that debate, Obama and McCain are striking two different chords:
Obama: Economy in crisis, let me solve the problem with a massive increase of regulation & expansion of government. (forget, of course, Obama's passive-aggressive refusal to reform Fannie & Freddy that in part led to the current crisis)
McCain: Economy in crisis, people are hurting, but the fundamentals remain strong--American ingenuity, entrepreneurial spirit, & work ethic; the basic, underlying strength of a market economy in a democratic society.
McCain needs to follow this up by assuring Americans that he will approach any economic problem with them--the American people (Country First!)--in mind. It's important that he makes them understand that he understands the "pain" felt by Americans from Chicago to Phoenix.
At the same time that he feels their pain, he can strike the Ronald Reagan note and express a comprehensive and optimistic view of the future--a future of peace and prosperity, untainted by the expansion of the Nanny State. This is a vision he can contrast with Obama's economic fearmongering, doom & gloom, and doubt of the American economy.
(Do click the link, it's funny)
*Over-the-top performance, no real skill or experience.
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