Several readers have objected to the reader comment that Gore presided over a boom when in fact the economy was already starting to slide into recession. Here’s an interesting email (and then I’m done with this topic for a while):
Your correspondent’s harping on Gore and the economy is misplaced. 1. The stock market was already in freefall by the time of the election so everyone with 401K plans or other investments was beginning to feel less comfortable about their economic well-being. 2. Bush wasn’t proposing anything that could be argued reasonably as being a major detriment to the economy. There was no reason to expect different economic performance under Bush than under Gore except in a way positive for Bush because he advocated cutting taxes.
The result was that Bush appealed to those who were growing concerned about the economy and didn’t frighten those who thought everything was still peachy.
This time, however, all the major Democratic candidates have announced their intentions to roll back at least part of Bush’s tax cuts. Most people realize that the rollback will significantly impact their wallets and probably the economy. It is doubtful that the majority of voters will perceive no important differences between Bush and the Democrats as to how they will handle the economy. The difference will favor Bush.
(Bush v. Gore was essentially a race for president of the fraternity council. Gore was Greg Marmalard. Smug and smarmy but apparently competent. Bush was Otter. Likable, but potentially incompetent. The DUI news added to the incompetent impression of Bush and may have swayed some last minute deciders to go with the “competent” prick. Having watched Bush in office the issue of incompetence won’t fly. Likability (George Will’s living room test) will have more weight. I think most Americans will prefer Bush to Howard (The personification of weenie) Dean.)