Gift to Obama
“The chaos on Wall Street that exploded over the [Sept. 13-14] weekend — and caused [the] Dow to drop by more than 500 points on [Sept. 15] alone — is, obviously, bad news for just about everyone. But strictly in terms of the looming election, now fewer than 50 days away, the timing may be something of a gift to Barack Obama and the Democrats, who have watched in bafflement since late August as their once-dominant political position has eroded,” Steve Kornacki writes in the New York Observer.
“Long before this week, the economy had already emerged as the top issue — by far — on the minds of voters. Now, Americans will be inundated with stories about the potentially devastating fallout from the collapse of Lehman Brothers, the sale of Merrill Lynch and the perilous footing of A.I.G. — thereby focusing their attention even more on the economy and their own financial security,” Mr. Kornacki said.
“An election driven by economic anxiety generally works to the Democrats’ advantage, simply because more voters tend to identify with the party’s economic message than with the GOP’s. Obviously, this doesn’t hold when tough economic times coincide with Democratic leadership — like in 1980, when a staggering ‘misery index’ helped seal Jimmy Carter’s fate — but it’s the Republicans who have owned the White House for the past eight years; bad economic news should only confirm the public’s assumptions about their agenda. This may bolster Mr. Obama’s frantic effort to make this year’s election a referendum on George W. Bush’s presidency.”
An election “driven by economic anxiety” is said to benefit Democrats, but the “misery index” doomed President Jimmy Carter’s 1980 re-election bid.