When President Richard Nixon collided with the Watergate scandal he was a very unpopular man. The nation at the time was suffering one of the worst recessions in history, and one of the highest inflation rates, too. So Watergate sunk Dick Nixon, but for good measure, the economy sunk him even more.
Roughly 25 years later, Bill Clinton was impeached because he lied about his affair with Monica Lewinsky. But despite his personal transgressions, he never really lost his popularity. Why? The economy was roaring.
So you might say scandals are less scandalous during prosperity, and more scandalous during recession.
As for the current president, he finds himself with a precariously thin margin. As yet, there is no clear and direct link between President Obama and a trove of political scandals. Not yet. And while he doesn’t have a recession on his hands, not even the president’s strongest supporter believes we’re in some kind of Reagan-Clinton economic boom.
Read my full column here.