Out of Touch

by alphamonkey on April 15, 2008 · 7 comments

in Commercials

Sadly that title doesn’t mean a rocking Hall & Oates video is on the plate, but rather the first of many ads from the newly formed Progressive Media USAaimed at cutting away at John McCain’s maverick persona. Progressive Media founder David Brock knows a little bit about misleading statements in the media, so I expect the organization will let McCain’s own words and actions be their best tool.

Now to be fair, McCain has since stated that he thinks the country is indeed in a recession (Which one would assume was to fight off the perception that he was weak on economic policy due to the statements contained in this ad), but the reason I’m posting this is to highlight how effective a spot like this can be in undercutting McCain’s maverick mythos by simply showcasing just how closely he’s stayed in step with the GOP line these last few years.

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  • EduardoOTI

    Websters definition of ‘Recession’: a period of an economic contraction, sometimes limited in scope or duration.

    If someone can show me when the last time the economy did not grow, I’d appreciate it.

  • http://www.dadsbigplan.com .alphamonkey.

    I’d say that the 0.6% growth in Fourth Quarter 07 was hardly worth crowing about, considering the prior quarter’s growth was 4.9%. That’s one hell of a slowdown, wouldn’t you say? What bout the fact that, cumulatively speaking, the economy only expanded 2.2% in 2007, which marks the worst growth rate in 5 years?

    So are we ‘officially’ in a recession? Not yet, as we haven’t had the two straight quarters of negative or no growth, but somehow I doubt an official pronouncement will make consumers feel better than they do right now.

    They’ll get that official pronouncement soon enough though: the Fed forecasts a contraction for the first half of 08 (ie, recession). Fun!

  • Recycled Miffery

    Forecasts, schmorecasts. Until the contraction is two quarters in the bank, it is silly to prematurely don the recession mantle. I’ve never heard anyone obsess over robust projections, but golly gee, someone guess that the cycle may be at a slight downturn, and every politician in the country jumps in to make hay.

    People, including McCain, who use a pretty basic measurable definition in this way remind me of Vezzini in Princess Bride. I do not think that word means what they think it means.

    Why not call it a Great Depression while we are at it? Or an Apocalyptic Economic Collapse? Why not a Galactic Toot Fest of Deathlike Proportions?

    I mean, so what if the numbers don’t support it? Because golly gee, you’ll look like a callous dunderhead if you let the word mean what it is supposed to!

    Politicians are going to use the word “recession” like a pawn and pretend that they know what it means. What happens if the forecasts are too conservative? Do you think you’ll see any politician running around saying “Hey! Look at that! We weren’t in a recession after all! How about that?”

    “Recession” in the mouth of a politician is a nothing word, like “parity” is in the mouth of a sports analyst.

    The President’s impact on the economy is grossly overstated. Two factors – independent labor ventures and career government number-crunchers outweigh the impact that the relative window dressing that Congress or the executive provides. But, since we can relatively easily rearrange the window dressing, we allow it to become a political issue.

    We simply don’t change our Fed Chairman at the whims of politics. That’s a good thing. Greenspan lasted from Reagan to W, through three and a quarter Republican terms and two Democrat terms for a reason.

    Who you vote for has far less impact on the economy than we’d like to believe.

  • http://www.dadsbigplan.com .alphamonkey.

    Point of fact is that until the numbers come out for the first half of 08, there’s just as much evidence to support the recession label as there is to dispute it. In that regard, you’re correct that a forecast can be meaningless.

    However, I think it’s equally foolish to not bring the discussion to bear on the subject as it is to run riot in the streets at the mere forecast of a recession. There’s a real slowdown occurring, and that is indisputable enough to warrant a conversation on the subject, along with addressing how we got there and how we move forward.

    And I take issue with the idea that your vote means less than we believe. In fact, I’d argue the opposite. I think the effect of the Executive (by dictating the direction policy should move it, and providing the motivation to enact/block the same) and the Legislative (de/regulation, oversight, controls,tax breaks, etc) is far greater than people tend to realize.

    Sure, the Fed may stand alone outside the sphere of day-to-day influence, but the ‘window dressing’, as you refer to it, has a real and measurable impact.

  • Recycled Miffery

    Really? What index factors might you be referring to? As I look at the economic indicators of, say March 1996, which was widely regarded as “the best economy in thirty years,” it doesn’t look that different from March 2008.

    I can guarantee you that William Clinton’s econ policies were drastically different than W’s. Both had an opposition party controlling congress. Now, while the merits of one approach vs. the other can certainly be debated, I’d love to hear which policies enacted by Clinton produced the great March of ’96, and which ones of W. produced the nearly equal “recession” March of twelve years later.

    I’m not saying that political candidates can’t, or shouldn’t have diversity of economic policies, or that one isn’t, in some ethereal way, “better” than the other.

    I just know that any candidate proposing “economic healing” to what is (and we agree here) a slowdown economy is blowing smoke, regardless of party or policy. If any politician or economist has that one figured out, or even could agree on what constitutes a “good” economy vs. a “bad” economy, they would exercise that formula every time.

    In short, McCain “admitting” a recession does not indicate his ability (or capacity) to address economic issues. In fact, it seems to indicate a lack thereof. I prefer my politicians to work with facts in hand whenever possible, not on positive or negative speculation.

  • http://www.dadsbigplan.com .alphamonkey.

    Digging up the numbers is out of my reach at the present (as my Trouble Twins are riding roughshod around the house right now), but I certainly intend to do so. Though I think a straight comparison of March ’96 and March ’08 would be a bit disingenuous as that’s not taking into account the months prior (which is, as we both agree, a necessary benchmark for measurement).

    As to the rest, I’m not really looking for a candidate to propose economic healing, as I accept a downturn is an inevitability that can only be buffered against, not stopped. I’m more concerned with a leader who’ll at least be curious enough to see where the system might have failed, and how it can be addressed in the future.

    Now I’ll obsess over finding those numbers, but I thank you for an engaging discussion.

  • Just Plain Bob

    Vote Colbert.

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