Gift to Obama

The Washington Times Weekly - - Politics -

“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.

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