Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The Steady Hand on the "Tiller"

John Cole has an interesting take on the lack of "straight talk" coming from the Presidential campaigns reference the current economic disaster:

Among the number of things that really concerns me is that there still has not been an honest appraisal of how bad things are right now, even when both candidates were given a chance to talk about sacrifice last night. There are, I think, some very tough times ahead. We don’t just have a crisis in confidence right now, we have a deep structural problems and a mountain of debt and an aging population that has been promised a great deal of entitlement money and I just don’t see any end in sight. Things are really a mess.

It is not in Obama's nature to fearmonger and fearmongering is exactly how that sort of "straight talk" would be perceived. Besides, the candidate who turns to the audience or camera and makes such a statement is doing so for no good reason. Most of us already know that things are bad and as this crisis deepened most of us (including low information individuals) have come to grips that this financial downturn is going to be a motherfucker. The last thing the markets need right now is someone stating the obvious and doing it in an imprudent manner. Perception is as important as reality in stabilizing the markets when it goes through these wild mood swings. It won't put out the rapidly approaching inferno but throwing more kindling on it is not the appropriate approach. An imprudent remark or grandstanding would have that effect in my opinion. I suspect John McCain's "fundamentally sound economy" comment and his almost immediate pivot to being the HFMIC of this meltdown threw more fuel on the fire. I like Obama's approach much better (NO SHIT!) because a steady hand on the "tiller" is critical and as important as any small step taken to help alleviate this mess. I would contend that steady empathetic but dispassionate talk is exactly the kind of leadership a President should show in any toxic economic climate. 

But in the comment section we have this reality:
It’s simple really. The last president that had the gall to tell the American people life isn’t all rosy, and they are going to have to sacrifice has been villified as one of the worst presidents by pundits, commenters, and most people that reflexively have integrated the propaganda without realizing it.

Go back and re-read the speech Carter gave. The one that is used against him so much by Republicans, pundits, and Reagan’s campaign. It was a sober assesment of what was happening, and a plan for the sacrifices we would have to make to get out of it.

America decided it would rather stick it’s head in the sand and pretend "it was morning in America". It worked for 30+ years, but the bill is finally coming due for America’s aversion to facing the reality that has been there since the late 70’s


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