The S & P 500 was down 5% (it has rebounded 12% as of March 1). These people were obviously surprised by the outcome. But most did not find this outcome terribly surprising, considering the Republican challenger was a weak candidate who dug himself a very deep hole with many segments of the electorate.
Why the surprise?
I believe it is because of the information bubbles that have been created around the hyper-partisan political factions of the modern United States. These bubbles have been inflated by rhetoric on the Right and Left that at times veers so far from reality it is tough to reel people back in. Although most sides are guilty, the most egregious award goes to the Right, its blogosphere and radio/ television media. Aha, you say this guy is a real liberal. Maybe so, but I will rely on historical fact to bring my point home…but first an anecdote.
I was in St. Louis this week visiting family and had a chance to visit an old A. G. Edwards colleague and former client, who is now the chief investment officer of his own firm. We got to talking about what I was up to with kortsessions.com re. media malpractice and it struck a nerve.
Prior to the election my friend was on a routine update visit to important clients in the Southeastern part of the country. He related how confused and angry the mood was among these folks, many of whom were professionals and successful business people. They were worried about the country and were especially upset with the Obama Administration. They were terrified by the prospect of a second term for the President. They were scared to death about losing their guns. They repeated the mantra that Mr. Obama was a “socialist” or, even, worse a “communist”. All of this fear, of course, was stoked by the 24/7 blasts from the folks at Fox News, Messrs.’ Limbaugh and Beck, and the plethora of inane blogosphere sources. This is not to mention the un-rebutted BS that was being spewed by the Republican presidential gaggle…like the one from Newt Gingrich on the President’s world view being tainted by the “Kenyan, anti colonial” ideals of his father.
Give me a brake! It was an inflammatory and stupid thing to say. Neither the leaders of the party, nor the Right Wing media complex ever called Newt on this, just as they never bothered to discredit the crazy “birthers”. There are still a great number of people out there that believe the President to not be a U.S. citizen. These same uninformed souls do believe the Prez to be a member of the Islamic faith.
Now just so you don’t quit reading here, I have some real historical facts to offer vis-à-vis how liberal President Obama looks in the light of one of his Republican predecessors.
Let us look at the record of Richard Milhous Nixon, pre Watergate.
Did you know Richard Nixon —
- Created the (much scorned) U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to enforce laws passed by the Congress, December 2, 1970.
- signed the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, then created the bureau to administer it.
- He tried to do Healthcare, but that was an act too far.
- Oh yes, he started the process of normalizing relations with Communist China.
No one ever called him a socialist or a communist. By the way, all of this was pretty liberal stuff for the time. In today’s world Mr. Nixon would be red meat for the right wing talkers.
This is not to excuse the Constitutional crisis Richard Nixon put us through with Watergate, but it is to demonstrate how far we have gone off the track, vis-à-vis politics, in the United States.
How does Barack Obama’s record stack up vs. Richard Nixon? Save healthcare (which could have been a better program had the Republicans chosen to play), it doesn’t. Nixon accomplished a much more liberal agenda. And China was a real coup, as until the time of Nixon extending the olive branch, U.S. /China relations were as cold as current U. S. relations with Iran and North Korea. Could you imagine the uproar if Obama tried to embrace North Korea, Iran or even Cuba?
I need to make one other observation regarding the President’s orientation toward business and finance. You often hear the assertions “he doesn’t understand business” or “he’s anti business”. Well I can see where people might get that idea, in light of the rhetoric that M. Obama used after the blow up in 2008. I might point out that no one has gone to jail and the banking industry has not been nationalized. Finally, with several of the major stock market indices approaching new all-time high, logic would tell me he seems to understand something about the workings of business, at least enough as not to gum up the recovery.
As for guns, this is one I simply don’t get. With all of the recent gun violence tragedies there is not one proposal out there to confiscate firearms. My only explanation is that those who pay attention to the noise on the Right, have heard this charge so many times that they believe it the truth, regardless of much evidence to the contrary, just as they believe Barack Obama to be a radical socialist.
I have digressed in a major way. I return to the point.
Many of the fearful people, people fearful because of the media bubble that they live in, did sell stocks immediately after the November 2nd election. Obviously their media sphere did not help them to make a good investment decision. Now that the much feared apocalypse did not happen, they are back asking my investment-manager friend about getting back into the market. Methinks it might be time for a normal correction.
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