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Tuesday: Des Moines Clairvoyant

Yesterday, we who have 401Ks and other investments took another plunge on the Wall Street Roller Coaster.  The vibrations are starting to resonate in other markets as well.  Soon, there will be harmonic oscillations all over the world, reinforcing each other, all swinging and rippling together.

To those of us many more years from retirement, the spectacle is like watching a horror flick at a theater.  It looks really big up there on the screen but even though we are scared, we know that when the movie is over, our heart rates will return to normal after some time and we can forget all about it.  To those of us getting close to retirement or who are retired with savings in investments, it’s like being *IN* the movie itself.

The New York Times is finally facing up to what’s coming:

The Fed’s move was barely noticed. Now there’s talk of another intervention by the Federal Reserve to help thaw the frozen credit markets by buying up short-term commercial debt.

“What I am worried about with all these bailouts,” said the great Wall Street historian Ron Chernow, “is whether they are going to eventually tax the resources of the federal government. The numbers are already getting very, very large. What is especially scary and unsettling is that even actions of this magnitude have not seemed to restore confidence. Each time, you thought that would be the one to stop the contagion. It hasn’t happened.”

This panic is taking place in such a compressed time frame that it is just astonishing. Mr. Chernow pointed out that while the stock market crash of 1929 took place over three brutal trading days in October 1929, it took nearly three years to reach bottom. By then, stocks had lost a shocking 89 percent of their value.

This crisis, by contrast, seems to be moving at hyper-speed — one day it is Lehman Brothers, the next A.I.G., the day after that Washington Mutual. This crisis doesn’t wear you down over time. It hits you over the head with a two-by-four. On a daily basis.

Ahhh, yes, this is the curse of the internet age.  Everything happens at hyperspeed.  That also means that the data modelers can get a better fix on what is actually going on.  It’s just that it’s happening in real time and not in simulation. It will take a skillful politician who understands the parameters and relationships between the economy and government to help us navigate our way out of this mess.

Last December, the Des Moines Register gave its endorsement to Hillary Clinton.  It was a serious and sobering endorsement.  The editorial board acknowledged that they liked Obama’s inspirational delivery.  But they respected Hillary’s depth of knowledge and, looking ahead, they saw that the times we are living in now will require a president who is an insider who understands the synergism between market and government policy.

You will not be able to find this endorsement anywhere on the web.  It appears that it has been scrubbed, like someone wanted to erase the record of what the Des Moines Register said about Hillary.  Even DailyKos removed the crucial part of the endorsement while leaving the honorable mention to Obama.  One of the most complete diaries on the subject was written by our friend Alegre. Many of the bits and pieces that Alegre cites can be found elsewhere on the web though never the complete endorsement.  And I think that is because there was one section of the endorsement where the Des Moines Register was clairvoyant.  It is this missing section that was ignored during most of the primary when Barack Obama hurled accusations of racism at Bill and Hillary Clinton.  It was the part that was neglected when the RBC members gave us a teachable moment about race over gender.  It was the thing that Nancy Pelosi conveniently ignored in her zeal to bang the gavel at the convention.

The endorsement said that the country was at a crucial period of its evolution and that the times required a president like FDR more than it needed the sunny optimism and experimentation of JFK.  I can only find one comment from DailyKos, my own, dated 12/16/07, that refers to the missing section:

… by comparing Clinton with FDR and Obama with JFK.  The endorsement was determined by the state of the nation, not the personalities of the candidates.
We are in for some hard times, my friends.  We have no idea what the coffers are going to look like when the Bushies leave.  We don’t know how many booby traps they are going to leave in the various executive branch departments.  We have an pretty good idea of the state of foreign affairs but the full extent of the damage has yet to be determined.
Our country is at an inflection point like it was during the Great Depression and WWII.
It is not the end of a stable moderately conservative administration like Eisenhower’s.  We are not following in the wake of the Happy Days era.  There isn’t unlimited optimism and great improvements in infrastructure.
That is why Hillary is the obvious choice.  It is a no-brainer when you think about it.

The scrubbers seem to not want anyone to remember that portion of the endorsement.  The damn Cassandras of the Des Moines Register have been silenced.  Let’s just forget about them.  The Obama campaign and the DNC have been wildly successful.  Because now we are stuck with the young, inexperienced JFK when the older, wiser guiding hand of the FDR is benched.

We’re on our own.