American Gerontocracy

Generational Warfare In Our Time

The Economy, Stupid

We’ve all heard how bad it is.

But is it really?

And on Friday, after the most recent jobs report — which produced a much-smaller-than-expected decline in corporate payrolls, a huge 362,000 increase in the more entrepreneurial household survey (the best gain in five months), and a historically low 5 percent unemployment rate (4.95 percent, to be precise) — the president told reporters: “This economy is going to come on. I’m confident it will.”

We’re in the midst of the most widely predicted and heralded recession in history. Problem is, so far it’s a non-recession recession. Score one for President Bush. In an election year, it could be a big one.

First-quarter GDP growth came in at 0.6 percent. It wasn’t the widely predicted decline, and economists expect that number to be revised up. GDP growth for the fourth quarter of 2007 was also up slightly, while the prior two quarters averaged over 4 percent growth….

Interesting — isn’t it? — just how durable and resilient our low-tax, free-market, capitalist economy truly is. Hit by soaring food and energy prices, a bad housing downturn, and a Wall Street credit crunch, the economy continues to expand, albeit slowly.

The media and the Democrats would like us to believe the economy is a disaster. But our economy is cyclical by nature, and this downturn may not even be as lasting as most.


May 4, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Trouble with Obama

Despite a rather profound dislike of Hillary Clinton’s character and public persona, American Gerontocracy endorses her for the Democratic Presidential nomination — with the firm expectation that Obama will, in fact, be the eventual nominee.

Obama is an emotionally compelling candidate because of his rhetorical gifts and his charismatic presense. But what does he really bring to the table? I think most votes would agree that it isn’t his experience, since he has very little. He has never worked in the priate sector. He has never served in the military. He has basically been involved in local politics for almost his entire life, with the exception of a few years of national service in the Senate. He has zero executive experience. By any objective standard, he isn’t ready to be Commander-in-Chief.

(It’s interesting because when you break it down, Obama has almostnothing in common with the average American — blue collar or white collar. His ethnic backgrund, his international upbringing, his Ivy League education, his lack of true real work experience or military service…. All reflect a life history profoundly different from that of 99.9999% of Americans.)

But, his proponents argue, Obama has better judgement than the alternatives. On that basis, he should earn our votes. But does Obama really have good judgement? And how are we to know if he does, since Obama lacks any track record?

This is why Obama’s relationship with Rev. Wright is relevant. As the Wright issue reemerged front and center over the last week, we’ve been given new insight into Obama’s character and his response to pressure:

But we did gain a new perspective on Wright’s former parishioner, Senator Barack Obama. And it’s not flattering. It took the Democratic frontrunner 20 years–and 50 days since videos surfaced of Wright’s incendiary sermons–to discover that the man who helped him become a Christian, officiated at his marriage, and baptized his two daughters is a conspiracy theory-loving self-publicizer. What does that say about Obama’s “judgment,” on which he largely bases his claim to the presidency?

Worse, one of the main reasons for Obama’s unequivocal split from Wright had nothing to do with the reverend’s hateful ideology. You see, Wright had the temerity to suggest that Barack Obama is just another pol. “What I think particularly angered me was his suggestion somehow that my previous denunciations of his remarks were somehow political posturing,” Obama said. This only confirms Obama’s reputation for being thin-skinned and self-absorbed. 

Months ago, when Wright first became an issue in the campaign, many chose to believe the explanations of the Obama campaign that Wright’s words were taken out of context. That they did not adequately represent the compass of Wright, the man. Even Obama excused him as the product of his times, when he said: “”I could no more disown him than I can disown my white grandmother.” And yet, in the last week, Wright’s words — and actions — have shown him to be an irresponsible radical and a racist. Yes, a racist — per Wright:

On Sunday in Detroit, he explained to 10,000 people at the Fight for Freedom Fund dinner of the NAACP — an organization adept at taking offense at far less racist comments from nonblacks — that whites have an inherent “left-brain cognitive, object-oriented learning style. Logical and analytical,” while blacks “learn not from an object but from a subject. They are right-brain, subject-oriented in their learning style. That means creative and intuitive. The two worlds have different ways of learning.”

Blacks even have better rhythm, Wright explained.

And, in fact, for political expediency, if nothing more, Obama has now contradicted his own words and finally disowned Wright.

Amazing. So where is the spectacular judgement that Obama’s backers tout? I don’t see it. And yet the media continues to go easy on Obama, even as he begins to show more and more of his true character as the pressures of the campaign ratchet up.

It’s tempting for younger voters to fall for the Obama mystique…. But politicians have been fooled before — George W. Bush being the perfect example.

May 4, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment