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The Perils Of Market Commentary

Over at The Corner, Victor Davis Hanson seizes on the following Obama quote from that AP story I linked to earlier:

There have been so many times, during my political career ... where people have said, 'Boy, this is make or break for Obama. . . . When the stock market went down everybody was saying, 'This is a disaster.' And what I found is that as long as we are making good decisions, thinking always what's . . . best for the American people, that, eventually, as long as we're persistent and we're listening to the American people, that things get done. 

Hanson then writes: 

But wait, the September 2008 stock market meltdown was not a "make or break for Obama," but rather a political godsend of the first order. At the time of the meltdown, he was still in some polls slightly trailing McCain, who was still coming off a strong convention.

Take away the stock market's sudden crash, and the race would have been 50/50 to the wire. And so, with all due respect, I doubt that even one Obama supporter ("everybody?") was saying of the sudden panic that hit Wall Street that this was "a disaster" for a liberal, anti-business Democrat, who quickly offered the obligatory populist rhetoric about greed and spread the wealth — and so suddenly surged ahead. 

Hmmm. I could be wrong, but I understood Obama to be talking about the stock market slump of early March 2009, when the Dow hit its lowest point in over a decade, when everyone who'd ever so much as opened a checking account was offering advice (much of it conflicting) about how to fix the failing banks, and when it looked like his Treasury secretary might not last through the end of the month. I'm not sure what Hanson (or Obama) would consider a "make or break" moment, but that sounds pretty close to me.


--Noam Scheiber