James McPherson's Media & Politics Blog

Observations of a patriotic progressive historian, media critic & former journalist


  • By the author of The Conservative Resurgence and the Press: The Media’s Role in the Rise of the Right and of Journalism at the End of the American Century, 1965-Present. A former journalist with a Ph.D. in journalism, history and political science, McPherson is a past president of the American Journalism Historians Association, a board member for the Northwest Alliance for Responsible Media, and a professor of communication studies at Whitworth University.

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Obama the conservative, America’s decline, and stock market yo-yo

Posted by James McPherson on November 21, 2008

Though only compulsive gamblers, business junkies and the masochists are following the day-to-day fluctuations of the stock market, those fluctuations have reminded us that the market sometimes seemingly jumps or dives for little apparent reason. A stray comment from the Fed chairman is enough to make the Dow act like a kid’s kite encountering wind shear.

Today CNN reports that today’s gains came apparently as a result of reports “that President-elect Barack Obama will nominate New York Federal Bank president Timothy Geithner as his new Treasury Secretary.” I don’t know anything about Geithner, and I’m increasingly convinced that no one knows much about the economy. But the suggestion that Obama’s possible actions can help the market do give some support to my earlier contention that his election might save the country from economic collapse.

On the other hand, seeing the conservative (even neoconservative) nature of Obama’s possible appointments–including, apparently, Hillary Clinton–I’m more inclined to see his presidency as another step in the decline of America’s power–not because he’s a Muslim, a Communist or a New Dealer, but because at heart he’s a conservative. For their part, Asians won’t be surprised by the power shift.

Monday update: Geithner is the guy–or one of them–and the market continues to boom under Obamamania. No one knows how long it will last. Probably just long enough for me to shift more of my retirement funds back to stocks.

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5 Responses to “Obama the conservative, America’s decline, and stock market yo-yo”

  1. […] members of the opposing party. Besides, as I’ve also pointed out elsewhere, Obama is at heart a conservative–as are most of the media that talk radio hosts like to complain about so much. Tagged […]

  2. Steve George said

    Has the egg on your face made an omelette yet? HRC criticizing Israel, massive gov’t spending and deficits, a hard line on abortion, a letter encouraging gay marriage. Some conservative.

    So the market boomed under “Obamamania.” What has it done since he raised his hand to swear the oath (twice, mind you)? Down over 20%. Unemployment continuing to rise. How are your retirement funds doing in stocks?……..

  3. James McPherson said

    Obama’s actions regarding Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantanamo and trade all reflect his conservatism. He has not been the kind of reactionary social conservative that Bush was (though he did feel obligated to kowtow to the Religious Right with the Saddleback Forum), but is in fact more conservative than many Republicans were as recently as the 1970s. For more about why, you could read my book or simply check out columns by a former Nixon/Reagan speechwriter (http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2008-10-31/obama-is-the-true-conservative/) or Canadian Thomas Walkom (http://www.thestar.com/article/590950).

    Nowadays defining conservatism or liberalism is imprecise, at best. After all, the current spending is pretty much a continuation of Bush economic policies, while traditional conservatives such as Barry Goldwater didn’t much care about treating gays differently from other folks.

    As for the stock market, you’re right that Obama hasn’t fixed it. Of course he also isn’t the one who broke it. Finally, you’ll note that in piece above I suggested that his actions would likely continue the economic slide, not reverse it. Thanks for the comment.

  4. […] justice who is leaving, with the largely unknowable Elena Kagan nominated by pseudo-liberal Barack Obama to take Stevens’ place on a court of contradictions. Assuming Kagan is seated, the court will […]

  5. […] there is no meaningful difference between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. In fact, they are both neoconservative pro-business chickenhawks. Neither has been acting particularly presidential in this campaign, with […]

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