There’s really only one topic in the zeitgeist this week: Barack Obama.
Following his groundbreaking victory on Tuesday, capping off a hugely impressive campaign, attention now turns to what the President-elect will do to revive the sagging economy, and also how he will do it.
His statement and press conference today following a meeting with his all-star team of economic advisers was short on specifics and long on the need for a bipartisan approach. Cynics will say that it will soon be back to politics as usual, with Democrats in Congress eager to force through a very liberal agenda with little regard for the Republican minority. Still, Obama continues to talk the bipartisan talk, and defeated presidential candidate John McCain graciously did his part in calling for the nation to unite behind the new President. Obama has surprised us throughout his ascent to the presidency, so it may not be wise to bet against him.
In any case, the very severity of both the short term credit crisis and longer term fiscal challenges will work against any radical shift to the left, as Oxford Analytica and others have pointed out.
Other than the revelation that the Obamas will be looking for a hypoallergenic pooch, maybe even “a mutt like me,” Obama broke no real news but gave a steady and sober performance. The automobile industry should draw some encouragement from the press conference, as Obama made a strong statement of commitment to supporting Detroit.
On the other hand, he showed no signs of letting high earners off the hook despite the weakness of the economy, reiterating his plan to cut taxes only for the bottom 95 percent of taxpayers.
As The Economist points out, “Like most politicians, Mr Obama will surely fail more than he succeeds. But he is a man of great dignity, superior talents and high ideals.”
But if President Obama performs even half as well as he did as candidate Obama, there is indeed hope.
Research Recap Quote of the Week:
The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep. We may not get there in one year or even one term, but America – I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight that we will get there. I promise you – we as a people will get there. - President-elect Barack Obama.