Friday, February 08, 2008

The Economy, Stupid--Again

With the imminent passage and signing of the stimulus bill, both parties have signed on to acknowledging that the economy is the major issue of the Presidential campaign. How will the candidates adjust?

Hillary Clinton has the 1992 "It's the economy, stupid" playbook in place as well as a new, improved Bill Clinton to stump on the good times of his tenure without creating new animosity and resentment.

Barack Obama will be hard-pressed to translate his idealism into leadership on the issue without looking too dreamy on the one hand or too scary with any practical solutions he proposes. FDR would be the most likely template--"nothing to fear but fear itself" with the argument that government can be the solution, not the problem.

John McCain will likely try to overcome his admitted deficiencies as Economist-in-Chief by shielding himself with a panel of Free Enterprise gurus while he hammers away at Republican verities about the wisdom of the marketplace.

Meanwhile, voters will be worrying about whether the downturn is going to be long, as Paul Krugman suggests today, or with rebate money in their pockets lighten up enough to believe that the economy will soon turn around, as it always does.

Shoved into the background will be ugly fact that Iraq continues to consume not only American lives but enormous amounts of money that could be invested in our infrastructure and put people to work.

But as McCain goes about proclaiming "victory" with "honor," making that case may turn out to be a hard sell.

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