Perhaps when historians look back at this election, they will see this one — not 2004’s — as the first real post-9/11 contest, with the nation having taken several years to come to terms with the trauma and the meaning of that event. So let’s posit a scenario. Over the past eight years, the reaction of the Bush administration to both 9/11 and the current financial mess has been, ironically, one that is traditionally Democratic: running huge deficits while creating vast new government interventionist bureaucracies to deal with homeland security and the credit crisis. The current administration also decided that this new era required an expensive, expansionist foreign policy, fighting “terror wars” on various fronts.
Now, the public may be in the process of deciding that, if a new era requires a more activist and expansionist government, Democrats are better equipped to handle these tasks. Voters may also decide that they are willing to accept the “risk” of a far more rapid military withdrawal from Iraq — which is, after all, the major foreign-policy difference between the McCain and Obama candidacies. Right now, Obama’s alternative looks attractive, especially given that military action always carries a huge price tag in what may be a coming age of austerity.
And then there’s the credit crisis which has just hit; admittedly, its effects may not be known for months or even years. But if Obama is able to win big because of it, it could serve as the final crystallizing event that allows the Democratic Party to reap the benefit for years to come. If that should happen, George W. Bush may be forever linked with Herbert Hoover. How’s that for a legacy?
To read the “Presidential Tote Board” blog, go to thePhoenix.com/blogs/toteboard. Steven Stark can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Odds: 1-3│This past week: 1-2
Odds: 3-1│This past week: 2-1
: Stark Ravings
, Barack Obama, Barack Obama, Richard Nixon, More