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Final Thought on Campaign

November 3, 2008 - John Stack

A new day dawns tomorrow. As has been a common theme in this election (more so than in any recent election) is change. The Obama campaign has been running a campaign almost exclusively on Change. Most people most likely don’t really know what many of Obama’s real positions or what his plans are for the coming 4 years. And truthfully, any candidate’s positions are open to change. They may be unrealistic, and floated only to get votes. If Obama wins, he will have a much better chance of his agenda being accepted, with a congress that will be close to veto-proof. With a McCain presidency, we could see either great stalemates with no good projects going forward because of partisanship and such (like the NYS Senate and Assembly) or, there could be a true chance for both sides to work together (such as Schwarzenegger in California). But, it is almost moot which candidate has a better chance at moving their agenda forward. People will vote for an agenda, even with the chance of that agenda being stifled. I believe though that many Obama voters are voting for a change, that of a change from the policies of Bush and the Neo-cons over the last 8 years. It was the same back in when Pataki came into office. It was the ABC vote –Anyone But Cuomo. How else do you describe the Pataki win, from a little known Peekskill mayor, who was intentionally vague on anything but that he wasn’t Mario Cuomo?

            Many will also vote for McCain for ‘change’, but it’s a little harder row for him to hoe, as he is seen by many as ‘part of the problem’. That is why he pushes his maverick position, and his pick of Palin was right up there in showing he was not going to play by ‘their rules’. Many of the accusations of the McCain camp are not too far from the truth. Will taxes ‘rise’? Probably, with Bush’s tax cuts back to Clintonian levels, many may see their taxes rise. Will government play a bigger role in health care in the US? Most likely.  But, I see this election as mostly being won by people wanting to get as far from Bush policies as possible, and I believe the majority of voters see Obama as this agent of change more so than McCain.

            This campaign also reminds me of when I was at Potsdam state and Bush the elder in was running in 1988. The US was headed for economic hardships that would dog whoever was in power. But, there was a light on the horizon in a few years, as there is now. Whoever won in 1988 was going to lose the 92 election because the problems could not be solved that quickly, and even though the problems weren’t Bush’s (actually caused by Reagan, but that is sacrilege today) he was going to pay the price, as the next president may also meet the same fate. If Obama wins as expected, and the bailout actually works and the US economy miraculously jump starts just in time for the 2012 elections, Obama will have it easy. But, I don’t see the US economy jump starting like it did in the 90s that propelled Bill Clinton to 2 terms, mostly with issues out of his control (the stock market mostly).

            Finally, no matter who wins, as my analyst friend from Chevastack Consulting tells me, no matter who wins, it will be a change because it won’t be Bush anymore.


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