While I, along with millions of others around the world, have been experiencing visceral reactions to the market’s rise and fall over the past two weeks, I suppose the one sliver of good that can be gleamed from this crisis is that Americans are being forced to evaluate what really matters. After years of anti-intellectualism in the political arena, now they want an intelligent “elitist” to save their portfolios and pensions. The media found Sarah Palin intriguing, with her moose-hunting and lipstick. Some Americans seemed to think she was qualified to become the vice-president because she decided against having an abortion (and I suspect some still do believe this makes her qualified to run the country). Now, morals are well and good, but please save our money! It’s interesting that the right wing can tout morality, but when threatened with economic uncertainty, well – the abortion issue may not matter quite so much anymore.
I ran across this in a recent MSNBC article:
Last week’s near-meltdown in the financial markets and the subsequent debate in Washington over a proposed government bailout of troubled financial institutions have made the economy even more important in the minds of voters. Fully 50 percent called the economy and jobs the single most important issue that will determine their vote, up from 37 percent two weeks ago. In contrast, just 9 percent cited the Iraq war as their most important issue, its lowest of the campaign.
The media continues to separate “the economy” and “the Iraq war” as issues, and I don’t think this is possible. Our economy is in a lot of trouble right now, in large part because we spend more than we earn. We borrow, and borrow, and borrow – to pay for things we cannot afford, whether it is for homes or for wars. The first thing Obama should do when he gets to the White House is begin withdrawing troops from Iraq. I heard recently on NPR that the war is costing approximately $5000 per second. If we’re going to throw $700 billion into bailing out financial institutions, then the money has to come from somewhere, and I would prefer it not be in the form of newly printed currency.
I think it’s interesting that the worst the right-wing can say about Obama is that he is some sort of Messiah-type figure. After the last two weeks, they had better hope that he is capable of performing miracles.