Retired Gen. Wesley Clark struck what some might regard as the low blow of the campaign the other day when he said of John McCain that ‘riding in a fighter plane and getting shot down” is not “a qualification to be president.” On the same point, Clark sounded less nasty a few months ago when, during a press conference, he noted the following: ‘In the national security business, the question is, do you have � when you have served in uniform, do you really have the relevant experience for making the decisions at the top that have to be made? Everybody admires John McCain’s service as a fighter pilot, his courage as a prisoner of war. There’s no issue there. He’s a great man and an honorable man. But having served as a fighter pilot � and I know my experience as a company commander in Vietnam � that doesn’t prepare you to be commander-in-chief in terms of dealing with the national strategic issues that are involved. It may give you a feeling for what the troops are going through in the process, but it doesn’t give you the experience first hand of the national strategic issues.’
Clark, torturing logic to the point of entertainment, went on to assert that Hillary (of all people) had the right kind of experience for the job. Perhaps. But does Obama? Most surely not, and that is why we are predicting that the election will be very close. This is notwithstanding a chat we had the other day with a friend in Berkeley who foresees an Obama landslide. You’d probably get the same feeling if you lived in, say, Santa Cruz, or Boulder ‘ which is to say, in an ideological warp. But our take is that even peaceniks will think twice about voting for Obama, since this is no time for a rookie with zero policy experience to be negotiating with a hardened enemy that has sworn to destroy us.
If we therefore concede the national security argument to McCain, the economy is the only issue on which voters can be swayed. Both candidates have a chance to seize the advantage here, but we see McCain as more likely to find the correct message, since, unlike Obama, he does not see himself as the Messiah. What is the message? Just this: ‘We are headed into something far worse than mere recession, and the longer we delude ourselves about this, the tougher it’s going to be to turn things around.’ Grim tidings, for sure. But tough times call for tough measures. At the moment, both candidates are campaigning on the statistical lie that although the economy is weak, it is not yet in recession. This has led them to suggest weak, conventional nostrums, but it has also put them out of touch with an electorate that knows a gathering economic disaster when it sees one. The first candidate to recognize this, and to tell it like it is, is going to win the election.
Last Chance to Take Seminar
Because of family vacation plans, I will be able to offer the Hidden Pivot Seminar only once this summer ‘ on two consecutive weekday evenings, July 23-24. If you’ve been thinking about signing up, now is the time to do it, since once this class is full there will not be another opportunity to take it until fall. Click here, and then on the ‘Upcoming’ tab to register; or here if you would like more information as well as a detailed description of the Hidden Pivot Method and a free Hidden Pivot calculator (our latest model, perfect for beginners).
We don’t have any easy answers, but we’re hoping to hear from readers with ideas about how to return the U.S. economy to health. The person who submits the best essay on the topic What Will Save America will receive not only a scholarship to the Hidden Pivot seminar, but also unlimited access to post-graduate tutorial sessions held each week during market hours. The value of this package is $1,150, and a week into the competition we’ve received no fewer than 21 submissions, including one that argues that Americans need, more than anything else, to get serious about diet and exercise.
Essays should be 750 words or less and must be received at this e-mail address by no later than July 15. For details about the Hidden Pivot seminar and comments from those who have taken it, click here.
Our own idea about how to save America is to become a global leader in energy. A solution that works for the whole world would be a triumph for Yankee know-how on a par with the invention of the automobile assembly line. To stimulate thought on this topic and others, we will be presenting occasional guest commentaries by people with backgrounds in science and engineering. Economists need not apply. In the meantime, we welcome any contributions at the e-mail address linked above. We’ll print the best of them once the competition has concluded next month.