Sunday, April 27, 2008

Americans Pessimistic About Economy

Gallup reports a deep pessimism about the economy:

Eighty-six percent of Americans say the U.S. economy is getting worse, while 44% rate the current economy as "poor", and only 15% rate it as "excellent" or "good". These consumer sentiments represent a continuation of the strongly negative views of the economy measured by Gallup Poll Daily tracking over the last two months.
The economy's one of the major reasons this election year should be favorable to the Democrats.

But as the nomination battle drags on, the party still has no slam dunk in November.

Dick Polman,
at the Philadelphia Inquirer, has more on this:

If the Democrats somehow contrive to blow this presidential election, they should be consigned to the dustbin of history - or to a display case at the Smithsonian, where perhaps they can share space with the Whigs.

Seriously, think about it. The economy is tanking, yet their autumn opponent, John McCain is on record saying, "The issue of economics is not something I've understood as well as I should." The Iraq war continues to kill our kids and bleed us to the tune of $3 billion a week, yet McCain, who sometimes confuses the Sunnis with the Shiites, remains its unapologetic cheerleader. Meanwhile, nearly 80 percent of the American people think the country is on the wrong track - a legacy of the current Republican president, who now has the highest disapproval rating (69 percent) in the history of the Gallup poll.

Yet, McCain is deadlocked in the polls with his two Democratic rivals. He is traipsing around the nation on his "Time for Action Tour," blissfully unscathed and husbanding his septuagenarian strengths, while the Obama and Clinton armies burrow ever deeper into their respective trenches, emerging every so often to impale themselves on barbed wire, generally mimicking the bloody stalemate on the western front in World War I.

Given all the baggage bequeathed by George W. Bush, and the voters' traditional preference for a fresh start in bad times, one could not conjure a better Democratic environment, at least in theory. As Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics, put it the other day, "based on 220 years of precedent, a McCain win would be a striking repudiation of American history, since no presidential candidate of a two-term incumbent party has ever been elected under this set of severely adverse conditions."

The Democrats, so bedazzled by the choice between a black man and a woman, have been joyfully anticipating that they would write the history of 2008. But if they don't get their act together with all deliberate speed, and tame their latest impulse for self-destruction (last seen in 1968 and 1980), then it is McCain and the Republicans who will be making history this year.

It's almost strange that we're even considering a Democratic loss this year.

The economy, the war, and the recent political immobility on issues such as immigration reform should be creating a sure recipe for change.

But voters want competence in foreign policy, and the mainstream electorate will not warm to a radical Democratic Party agenda that
embraces America-bashing and gives entree to 1960s-era domestic terrorists.

We hear a lot of
criticisms of how long and drawn out are American presidential elections, and about the endless, deteriorating campaign negativity, but the great virtue of our politics is the crucial vetting the system provides, which helps to reveal the true nature of the candidates seeking to hold the most powerful leadership position in the world.