Wednesday | June 26, 2002
Economy in a free fall
Does anybody still think the market won't become an issue in November? Not only does it makes attacks on 'privatization' of social security more salient, but it touches on anyone with a stock portfolio or 401(k). That may be one major reason that men are increasingly identifying with the Democratic Party, defying recent trends.
Of course, the latest bombshell to hit Wall Street was the restatement of WorldCom's earnings. The markets have tumbled, and as I write this, the Dow has dropped just below the 9,000 mark. There is zero public confidence in Wall Street or its leaders. And, this anger, distrust, and distaste should be easy to transfer to corporate America's biggest boosters -- the Republican Party. In fact, some early reports note that WorldCom has donated over $1 million to the GOP. That would be par for the course.
Democrats aren't letting this opportunity pass. There is a clear distinction between rabidly pro-business Republicans and the more pragmatic Dems, and the House Dems are using that distinction to hammer their opponents. In vote after vote, Democrats are highlighting corporate America's most indefensible tacticts -- for example, incorporating overseas to avoid paying taxes. And woe to Republicans who vote against these measures:
"[Republican] Representative Gekas took sides in the fight between ordinary Americans and corrupt corporate practices," declared DCCC spokeswoman Kim Rubey. "At a time when our country is fighting a war, these companies are planting their flags overseas for a quick buck."Democrats are calling it "economic patriotism".
Rove and company are expecting to receive a boost in November from an improving economy. That is increasingly less likely to happen. Home sales are down. Consumer sentiment is pessimistic. GOP-tied companies are being exposed for corrupt business practices. Economic 'malaise' and war weariness infects the public. The country may default on its financial obligations thanks to skyrocketing deficits and a ballooning debt. Promises that tax cuts would avert the economic downturn haven't panned out.
The economy speaks directly to every single voter. pollster John Zogby says the economy could be the "sleeper issue". I don't think I need to go out on a ledge to predict the economy will be THE issue. There is little difference between the GOP and Dems on the war. What differentiates them will be the economy. And the way things are going, I doubt Karl Rove is getting much sleep these days.Posted June 26, 2002 08:30 AM | Comments (1)