JPod, on our cascading fiscal crisis:
If the public views this as a major crisis, a threat to the American way of life, then this becomes a question about crisis management and not about change. Crisis management is a leadership issue. And when people are asked who seems to them to be a strong leader, McCain outdistances Obama by an 11-point margin.
This provides McCain with an opening he might not otherwise have. But an opening is not a victory. He will have to use the opening to demonstrate the strong leadership skills by announcing some kind of plan on stabilizing markets, how they should be overseen and regulated in the future, and how to make sure that what happens isn’t just a bailout of people who took unforgivable risks. Those people have to lose their money. They have to become poor, and they have to lose their jobs and their licenses, so that they are not followed by others who will also believe either that there is no risk in risk or that in the end someone will bear the burden of their folly.
Obama will certainly have a lot to say on this matter, though most of it will probably be in the realm of the trial lawyer — i.e., the big guy on Wall Street doing harm to the little guy, there should be hearings, we must unmask the conspiracy, etc. The problem for him is that these are uncharted waters, and his populist rhetoric may not work the same magic when the people who stand to lose the most aren’t working stiffs but the investor class, which means the American upper middle class, those in the top 20 percent, earning as a household more than $92,000 in a year.
McCain is unveiling a new ad on this exact theme, entitled “Crisis.”
ANNCR: Our economy in crisis. Only proven reformers John McCain and Sarah Palin can fix it.
Tougher rules on Wall Street to protect your life savings.
No special interest giveaways.
Lower taxes to create new jobs.
Offshore drilling to reduce gas prices.
McCain – Palin.
Leadership, experience, for the change we need.
JOHN MCCAIN: I’m John McCain and I approved this message.
I’m pleased to see that the taxpayers will not be putting up money to come to the rescue of Lehman Brothers. After Bear Stearns, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, it was becoming clear that any large, mismanaged financial insitution was going to be knocking on the door of the Treasury Department and asking for cash.