Deep thought

DEEP THOUGHT…. Over the first seven weeks of the Obama presidency, the Dow Jones Industrial Average, just one of many Wall Street indexes, dropped from 7,949.08 to 6,547.04. Conservatives said this was necessarily evidence that the White House’s economic policies were a mess, if not an outright failure, and that the president didn’t know what he was doing.

In the four weeks since, the Dow has gone from 6,547.04 to 8,017.59. Do those same conservatives believe this is evidence of a sound White House economic agenda? And that the president is now some sort of a genius?

And if, four weeks from now, the Dow is back down 1,000 points, how will the president’s detractors on the right explain that the same president with the same agenda went from being a fool to a hero to a fool again, all in the scope of a few months?

I’m thinking, in particular, of this Wall Street Journal editorial that ran a month ago.

As 2009 opened, three weeks before Barack Obama took office, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 9034 on January 2, its highest level since the autumn panic. Yesterday the Dow fell another 4.24% to 6763, for an overall decline of 25% in two months and to its lowest level since 1997. The dismaying message here is that President Obama’s policies have become part of the economy’s problem.

Americans have welcomed the Obama era in the same spirit of hope the President campaigned on. But after five weeks in office, it’s become clear that Mr. Obama’s policies are slowing, if not stopping, what would otherwise be the normal process of economic recovery. […]

So what has happened in the last two months? The economy has received no great new outside shock…. What is new is the unveiling of Mr. Obama’s agenda and his approach to governance.

The WSJ editorial board was hardly subtle. Wall Street declines didn’t reflect the economic downturn; they were evidence of Obama’s shortcomings.

To be sure, all of this is quite silly, and using the Dow as some kind of financial approval rating for the president is foolish.

But I’m curious whether the Journal’s editorial board — and every other conservative who said a drop in the Dow is proof of presidential failure — are now prepared to offer comparable praise.

Somehow, it seems unlikely, doesn’t it?

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