Yesterday President Obama said this:
What I ‘ m looking at is not the day-to-day gyrations of the stock market, but the long-term ability for the United States and the entire world economy to regain its footing. And, you know, the stock market is sort of like a tracking poll in politics. You know, it bobs up and down day to day. And if you spend all your time worrying about that, then you’re probably going to get the long-term strategy wrong.
Bill Kristol and Jennifer Rubin have commented on this matter quite well. I’d only add that Obama is playing a silly game. He is trying to frame this as if the cratering market is evidence that he is putting in place the pieces for the right long-term strategy. In fact, the market is collapsing precisely because Obama is doing almost everything wrong when it comes to putting in place a sound long-term strategy — from shaking the confidence of the market and the public, to targeting businesses and the investor class in America, to promising tax increases in a nasty recession, to increasing spending by trillions of dollars, to being clueless about how to deal with the banking crisis and toxic assets. The performance of the market is evidence it has almost no confidence that President Obama and his Administration know what to do to help the American economy regain its footing. And why should it?
Beyond that, the notion that the stock market is “gyrating” (“to revolve around a point or axis; to oscillate with or as if with a circular or spiral motion”) is wrong. The market is plunging, not gyrating. And to compare it to a tracking poll in politics is foolish and somewhat callous. What we are witnessing are trillions of dollars of people’s savings evaporating. It is causing enormous fear in a lot of people, especially those nearing or in retirement, who are watching their life savings disappear. To cavalierly dismiss this concern, as Obama does, is a sign that he is already at the point of employing unserious arguments to explain a crisis he has, so far, not only been unable to reverse, but has made worse.
It’s amazing how quickly a formidable political figure, in the midst of a crisis he (so far) seems unable to confront, can go tone deaf. And, of course, the next step when you’re at sea is to attack Rush Limbaugh. Gosh, and to think we were told that we were through with petty politics and childish ways.