Talkers, Newly-Elected Face Resurgence Of Terrorism
Terrorism Didn't Go Away, It Just Took An Election Break
Though the BombayIslamist terror siegemay finally be over, the real fallout here at home has yet to begin. Due to the long Thanksgiving holiday weekend, Washington was largely shut down, while most media personalities were enjoying a rare, post-election breather from their duties (though we did see Hannity & Colmes return for a Friday show which covered the unfolding events).
We now know that terrorism hasn't yet been defeated, it just took a short break in order to keep Republicans from winning November's elections.
On Monday, this reality check from India will profoundly affect our political landscape, with many winners and losers:
Conservative talkers, cable hosts and bloggers will be strongly positioned to successfully push for a continued tough line against terrorism despite single-party Democratic control. Though the attacks may have occurred overseas, Americans were key targets.
Liberals and their mainstream media fellow-travellers who argued that Obama's election would make the world love us have been proven wrong. On the contrary, perceived weakness on America's part will only embolden terrorists to destroy more innocent human life.
Because Americans were targeted and killed, this can't be portrayed as an internal matter specific to India.
"Progressives" who thought Obama would carry out their defeatist agenda are the big losers, with further disillusionment sure to follow. As global events dictate his actions, rather than the other way around, Obama will simply not be able to go soft in the War on Terror: his career is based first and foremost on ego and amassing power.
Does anyone really believe Gitmo will be shut down, for example?
After dominating the headlines for months, the economy may take a back seat to homeland security, especially as governments and private businesses take stock of their own defenses and speculation heats up over where terrorists will strike next.
Thanks to these heartless thugs, the American political winds have once again shifted. And while Democrats may have won November's elections, they remain on the losing side of this issue.
Ever since Rush Limbaugh's massive mega-contract renewal deal was announced earlier this year, envious cable talkers have wondered how they too could grab a piece of the radio pie.
And while they may be clueless about what it takes to succeed in this competitive medium, that hasn't stopped TV hosts from trying anyway. Worse, in order to pad their salaries, some are willing to sell out their beliefs to fit the other venue.
Topping that list is MSNBC morning host Joe Scarborough, who according to a source inside the NBC-owned network, will begin a new radio talk show on New York's WABC radio as soon as Monday.
Morning Joe will apparently get the 10am to noon slot to host a local program, but that will most likely later turn into a syndicated show heard from 9am to noon.
In July of this year, Joe did a series of late night, unannounced tryouts with liberal co-host Mika Brzezinski. Clearly, that was in preparation for this new program. A source indicates that Mika might be part of the new WABC show, or he could potentially be paired with someone else down the road.
But within MSNBC, there is said to be a great deal of concern with Scarborough's move. Why? According to a network source, NBC has spent a great deal of time and money shifting Scarborough leftward, but at WABC, it is recognized that his only real chance for success would be to follow the station's right-leaning philosophy.
So how could Scarborough play a liberal on TV and be conservative on the radio? Could he really show two political faces and maintain what little credibility he retains with the audience?
"The only way to get ratings is to move to the right on the radio, though it will be fun to watch him try to juggle the two positions, he just can't be himself," said one industry observer.
For WABC, it's even riskier: Scarborough is a proven failure at radio and now, making matters far worse, he has a solidly liberal reputation. With a conservative lineup, the station has generated huge ratings. If Joe chases away its mid-morning audience, the outlet could be badly damaged.
Given Citadel - ABC Radio's precarious financial situation (it may be close to bankruptcy and currently trades for 17 cents a share on the NYSE), they can't afford even the slightest misstep.
Beyond that, one wonders what Citadel would see in Scarborough, given his dodgy reputation and likely fatigue coming off of the TV show each morning.
In his quest to attain Limbaugh-like status, Joe Scarborough seems willing to do just about anything. But how can potential fans bond with someone who comes across as such a phony?
UPDATE:TVNewser now has its own version of the story, featuring Scarborough making some truly peculiar, if not downright inaccurate comments. There's no mention of Citadel's precarious financial situation, tensions behind the scenes at MSNBC over this move, or Scarborough's track record of failure in radio:
Scarborough says, "We've talked to Citadel [which owns WABC-AM], and several other networks."
But Scarborough is clear — WABC, is where he wants to be. "If we had our druthers we'd sign with Citadel, only because they launched Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, all the most successful talk shows in the country," he says. "As I explained to Mika, there are two types of radio shows, those that have clearance on WABC, and those that don't have clearance on WABC. It is just a radio station like the New York Times is just a newspaper," he says facetiously.
TVNewser says the Scarborough radio show would likely begin in January, but we're hearing the slot needs to be filled much sooner than that.
And why in the world is Joe claiming Citadel is responsible for launching Rush and Hannity?
After Long Run, Hannity's Liberal Foil To Leave Show
*** THIS STORY FIRST BROKEN AT THE RADIO EQUALIZER *** *** UPDATED AGAIN BELOW *** *** SOURCE: HANNITY TO GO SOLO - SEE BELOW ***
After a remarkable twelve year run, Alan Colmes is set to leave FOX News Channel's top-rated Hannity & Colmes at the end of the year, according to key sources.
Though the decision was said to have been made by Colmes himself, it is not yet known what future role he will play at the network.
There have been no industry rumblings regarding the liberal host heading for another network and his radio show remains syndicated by FOX News Radio. That means he's probably likely to remain there in some capacity.
Also unknown at this time is who will replace take Alan's place at the Hannity & Colmes Show, if anyone.
So far, Colmes has not commented on the move at his site, but syndicated talker Lars Larson tells your Radio Equalizer that he's asked Colmes to appear on his show to discuss the situation.
Update: rather than comment, Colmes is simply referring readers to the Fox press release reprinted below.
The former WABC and WNBC/ New York talker has been with FOX News since its launch in October 1996.
Stand by for further details on this breaking story.
In addition, industry speculation centers around the idea that perhaps Hannity may begin to host the program alone, an idea that has come up in the past. There's no indication of a replacement named at this time.
UPDATE: Here's the News Corporation press release:
FOX News Channel's (FNC) Alan Colmes will relinquish his role as co-host of Hannity & Colmes at the end of the year.
In announcing his decision, Colmes said, "I approached Bill Shine (FNC's Senior Vice President of Programming) earlier this year about wanting to move on after 12 years to develop new and challenging ways to contribute to the growth of the network. Although it's bittersweet to leave one of the longest marriages on cable news, I'm proud that both Sean (Hannity) and I remained unharmed after sitting side by side, night after night for so many years."
Colmes will continue to have a presence on FNC as he will serve as a liberal commentator on a variety of FOX News programming, including Foxnews.com's The Strategy Room and continue hosting his radio program, The Alan Colmes Show on FOX Talk, a division of FOX News Radio. He will also begin developing a weekend program.
Shine said, "We're very sorry to see Alan reach this decision but we understand his desire to seek other creative challenges in his career. We value his incredible hard work in making Hannity & Colmes the most successful debate program on cable news and we're going to miss him on the show. Thankfully, he will begin developing a weekend pilot for us."
FOX News Chairman & Chief Executive Officer Roger Ailes added, "Alan is one of the key reasons why FOX News has been such a remarkable success. We're sad to see him leave the program but we look forward to his ongoing contributions to the network."
Hannity & Colmes is the only FNC program which has remained in the same timeslot for 12 years, catapulting to number one in 2003 and never relinquishing the top spot. The second highest-rated program in cable news behind only The O'Reilly Factor, Hannity & Colmes averaged 3.3 million viewers nightly for the Nielsen month of October and is poised to mark 60 consecutive months at number one at the end of November.
Hannity added, "Not only has Alan been a remarkable co-host, he's been a great friend which is rare in this industry.” I'll genuinely miss sparring with such a skillful debate partner."
Throughout his 12 year tenure on Hannity & Colmes, Colmes has interviewed numerous key political figures, including: President Elect Barack Obama, Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY), Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA), DNC Chairman Howard Dean and former Vice President Al Gore.
FOX News Channel (FNC) is a 24-hour general news service covering breaking news as well as political, entertainment and business news. For nearly seven years, FNC has been the most watched cable news channel in the nation. Owned by News Corp., FNC is available in more than 90 million homes.
Colmes began his career in stand-up comedy. He developed his radio career in the Northeast, eventually working at stations like WABC, WNBC, WHN and WEVD in New York and WZLX in Boston.
He is syndicated nationally, starting with his involvement with Daynet, a venture created by Colmes and other regional radio hosts. Daynet was sold to Major Networks, Inc., in 1994. Colmes kept his own show, which is now distributed by Fox News Radio. His radio career took off when WABC hired him for the morning drive time slot, billed as, "W. Alan B. Colmes," as in the station's call sign. When WNBC let its staff go in 1988, Colmes was the final radio personality to sign off, doing so with the words: "I'm Alan Colmes. Thank you, God bless you, and for the last time, this is 66 WNBC." He was well-known in New York City when he was hired by Fox News CEO Roger Ailes, in 1996. Since then, he has been the co-host of Hannity and Colmes, beginning with the Fox News Channel launch on October 6, 1996.
Colmes has written one book, Red, White & Liberal: How Left is Right and Right is Wrong (ISBN 0-06-056297-8) which was published in October 2003.
On November 24, 2008, it was reported by Brian Maloney on his Radio Equalizer blog that Colmes would leave Hannity and Colmes. It is unclear what role Colmes will have at Fox News or who, if anyone, will replace him on the primetime program.
Quick to protect their Dear Leader from criticism over plans to crack down on political dissent, liberal newspaper columnists have gone on the offensive, blaming talk hosts themselves for daring to suggest the medium may soon be shut down.
It's a classic case of running interference: cover for Obama by calling his intended targets "paranoid". This has the added benefit of potentially convincing talkers and fans to let down their guard ahead of the real plan.
With each passing day, the need to protect Obama from political criticism becomes even more pressing. Clearly, the Dear Leader didn't have a post-election battle plan and has subsequently ceded much of his power to the Clintons.
With that unnerving scenario now playing out, the media's response is to return to an old stand-by: blame it all on Rush Limbaugh and talk radio for daring to suggest the Fairness (read: censorship) Doctrine may be on the way.
First and foremost, Rush is all about Rush — especially now that he has a bloated new radio contract to justify. That is why he adamantly will not allow the facts to stand in the way of his assertion that Barack Obama is bringing back the Fairness Doctrine, the old government rule that required broadcasters to present all sides of controversial issues.
As the respected trade publication Broadcasting and Cable reported in June, President-elect Barack Obama does not support the return of the Fairness Doctrine, which was abolished in 1987. Just to be sure, B&C re-quizzed the campaign just before Election Day and was told that Obama thinks trying to regulate the airwaves would be a “distraction” from more important national business.
Is it possible the new president will change his mind once in office? Is it possible a Democratic Congress will ram the Fairness Doctrine through and force him to sign it back into law? Perhaps — but as the Senate’s rapid about-face on the Joe Lieberman matter shows, the legislative branch shows no sign of bucking the wishes of the executive branch.
Some members of the paranoid class, afraid of recrimination for all those months trying to scare people into voting against Obama, point out that he has flip-flopped before.
Here, Barnhart demonstrates that he really doesn't have a grasp of the issue at hand:
Now, I have one question for the paranoids: In what scenario would it be politically expedient to bring back a controversial regulation that members of his own party oppose, would endanger his allies in the Air America network (not to mention NPR) and give a bottomless barrel of material to people who have nothing better to do all day than complain at the top of their lungs?
RADIO INK: What do you think of all the speculation about the return of the Fairness Doctrine? Would that be a big problem for Air America?
BENNETT ZIER: If there’s a Fairness Doctrine, one would say that would be a good thing for left-of-center talk. But I think if Air America puts forth relevant, entertaining, provocative content, it’ll be a balance. People will be interested in what we want to do. We believe that we need to control our own destiny, and we’re going to do that by giving the listeners, the viewers, and the readers what they want in a lot of different technologies.
Clearly, Zier expects a Fairness Doctrine to force low-rated Air America programming onto major conservative talk stations. And frankly, he's right, that would be the result. That's why Democrats WILL push for this, it's in their best interests to do so.
Talk-radio hosts play their listeners as well as Yo Yo Ma plays the cello, stroking a string and making their audience respond exactly the way they want. It’s bizarre how easily they can manipulate people who like to think of themselves as sturdy, independent-minded Americans.
Nowhere is that more evident than in the fabricated right-wing outrage about reimposition of the Fairness Doctrine. Under that long-abandoned rule, radio and TV stations that use the public airways were required to give equal time to various sides of every political issue. The rule was well-intended, but in practical terms radio and TV stations found it safer to avoid political discussion altogether rather than risk running afoul of the law.
For that and other reasons, the Fairness Doctrine was abandoned more than 20 years ago, a change that quickly led to the boom in right-wing talk radio.
However, with Democrats in control of Congress and Barack Obama about to become president, the maestros of talk radio are eager to take advantage. They know that the more threatened their audience feels, the higher their ratings get. And what better way to get their listeners riled up than to claim that the Democrats are out to silence talk radio itself, the medium that brings conservatives the truth as they want to know it?
So for months, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and others have been warning their audiences that once in power, the Democrats plan to bring back the Fairness Doctrine. Politicians such as Newt Gingrich have joined the chorus, and the issue is now being cited as a critical reason why Saxby Chambliss has to be re-elected to the Senate. Right-wing pundits insist the issue will be part of Obama’s agenda in his first 100 days in office.
But of course, it’s all made-up nonsense, backed by no evidence whatsoever. In the current issue of the New Republic, Marin Cogan goes looking for those Democrats supposedly plotting to kill talk radio but ends up empty handed.
But looking at Cogan's actual piece, rather than Bookman's oversimplification of it, Schumer and Bingaman's positions are discussed, but they've been allowed to weasel out of previous statements with new ones, purely for partisan political purposes.
Finally, Randy Dotinga of the North County Times in San Diego pushes his luck even further, quoting a professor from the widely-discredited UC-Santa Cruz campus to make his point:
The FCC killed off the Fairness Doctrine in 1987 amid the growth of cable television, which offered more broadcast voices to the public. It wasn't a big deal: UC Santa Cruz professor Matthew Lasar wrote in a recent commentary that the federal government hardly ever bothered to enforce the rules.
Since then, right-wing talk radio has taken off. According to one estimate, 90 percent of talk radio is conservative; that number may be even higher on talk stations in San Diego, where the sole left-wing talk station tanked in 2007.
Talk-show hosts and their fans fear that the new Congress and president will create a new Fairness Doctrine, designed to make sure a Rachel Maddow or Ed Schultz is around to respond to everything that Sean Hannity or Michael Savage say on the airwaves.
Looking into Lasar's work, it's clear he's a left-wing extremist, certainly a job requirement at UC-Santa Cruz. Though he's written extensively about both the FCC and the Fairness Doctrine, it's difficult to find where he's provided evidence that it was "hardly ever" enforced.
But there's plenty of data to support the idea that the Fairness Doctrine is a major headache for broadcasters. Even though successful complaints were fairly uncommon (70 between 1973 and 1976 at a time when only a small number of talk stations were on the air), they were forced to fend off tens of thousands of typically-frivolous complaints by political foes:
If the fiscal years 1973 through 1976 are combined, a total of 49,801 fairness complaints received by the Commission resulted in 244 station inquiries (.406 percent of complaints), 54 adverse rulings (.108 percent of complaints), and 16 general fairness doctrine rulings (.0321 percent of complaints).
That kind of bureaucratic nightmare would convince any station owner to practice self-censorship, even ahead of the policy's implementation. In order to appease conservative talk's enemies, broadcasters would quickly surround Rush's program with Air America's offerings, leading to a ratings and revenue disaster.
Let's face it: the Fairness Doctrine should really be known as the Liberal Talk Radio Welfare Act of 2009. With single-party rule now poised to control Washington, don't think for a moment they will resist the temptation to make this the law of the land.
RUSH: These self-inflicted wounds are about the only opportunities that you have. We don't want to sit around and wait for those because we don't know how often he's going to say things. Another one was when he said that abortion, you know, determining when a human being gets rights, at what point does life begin, when he said this to Rick Warren out at the Saddleback Church. That was a big problem. That was a big self-inflicted wound. Remember how among everybody who saw the debate at the Saddleback Church, it was clear that McCain had smoked Obama. Everybody knew it. So what are we left with to do, then? "Well, okay, Rush, you haven't talked about Bill Ayers being on Good Morning America Friday."
I know. On purpose. Others are going to talk about Bill Ayers. The election's over. You can do it from a See, I Told You So kind of point of view, if you want. What I think is going to be the most effective way to criticize Obama is to criticize his ideas without criticizing him. To criticize collectivism, to criticize giant growth of government. Call it Obamaism or whatever, but the way to go about this, I think, is, if you don't want to wait for these self-inflicted wounds, is to ignore Obama the man. When you ignore Obama the man, we do not run the risk of inflicting our own self-inflicted wounds that would create sympathy for the guy, 'cause right now he's a beloved figure with four million people headed to Washington at the inauguration, they say.
He's got everybody in the country enough behind him for all of the mythological reasons, for all of the public image reasons, the historical reasons and right now people don't want to hear anything bad about Barack Obama. They just don't want to hear it and if they do they're not going to believe it and they're going to resent anybody who runs around talking about Obama. He's going to have to do something first that illustrates that the criticism that we have mounted up 'til now is accurate. You know, we talk about Reagan-ism. We talk about socialism, collective-ism, commun-ism. Obama-ism is the way to go after this.
Clearly, Obama's handlers still see his relationship with the radical marxist as a political threat:
Knowing the news media would be there, the event was clearly intended to shift his public image away from that of a violent terrorist to peace-loving expert on teaching elementary school children. It was frightening to think Ayers would ever be allowed near kids of any age.
It was also obvious that the reworking of Ayers was all about protecting Obama, rather than just an opportunity to sign books. As Ayers both emphasized his "peaceful" side and praised the left's Messiah, that came through loud and clear.
“There was this demonization of me, as if somehow I killed people or I’m a violent person — which I’m not,” Ayers said. And he decried the conservative attacks on Obama as “guilt-by-association… with a subtext that you’re only supposed to talk with people who have already passed your political litmus test.”
As for his real association with the president-elect: “I had the same relationship with Obama that he had with thousands and thousands,” Ayers said. “And like millions, I now wish I knew him better. Don’t you?”
Ayers spoke at the church after an event at the Georgetown Law School earlier in the day. A handful of protesters associated with the conservative Web site Free Republic gathered outside the building with signs calling Ayers a Marxist and comparing him to Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh.
Inside, Ayers stayed largely on the topic of education but wasn’t shy about current events, remarking on the excitement of being at Chicago’s Grant Park for Obama’s acceptance speech, expounding on the rhetoric of “Yes We Can,” and twice mentioning life in Obama’s Hyde Park neighborhood — “a wonderful neighborhood, very tight-knit, a lot like Wasilla.”
Especially chilling was the atmosphere inside the room, where Obama cultists cheered on this violent man as he denounced those who had dared to criticize him during the campaign. The extent to which the Dear Leader's key subjects have been brainwashed is stunning and the extreme nature of their views is shocking even to those of us who have extensive experience with the far left.
Oddly, Ayers and the cultists in the room acted as though the campaign were still ongoing, taking shots at both John McCain and Sarah Palin. Didn't they win? Apparently, they are fresh out of opponents to demonize, so it's necessary to turn back the clock to the days before the election.
But could it also be that beneath its thin veneer of overconfidence, Team Obama is still remarkably insecure? Yes, his vague slogans won the campaign, but he now seems relatively clueless about governing.
That's evident in his choice of Clinton Administration re-runs to fill essential Cabinet positions and his lack of progress on key economic appointments during this time of crisis.
Bill Ayers will remain Obama's Achilles heel because there's no real effort underway to disassociate the two. Instead, the strategy is to remake Ayers as a mainstream political figure, hoping the mainstream media will play along. But given his violent past, they may be pushing their luck.
Obama Pal Ayers Confronted On Sirhan Sirhan Book Dedication
THE BIG QUESTION
Obama Pal Ayers Finally Grilled On RFK Assassin Support
*** ON THE ROAD EXCLUSIVE ***
Even after his victory, one of the great unresolved questions regarding Barack Obama is why he would choose to associate with a radical Marxist terrorist like Bill Ayers.
But with its singular mission to protect, promote and defend Obama's political career, the mainstream news media certainly isn't interested in getting to the bottom of this key issue, especially now that the election is over.
That's why Eyeblast's Kerry Picket and your Radio Equalizer infiltrated a speech given by Ayers last night in Washington DC and demanded answers. With just one shot at asking a question (after pushing through a crowd of about 30 cultists surrounding Ayers after the event), we chose the most puzzling: why would he dedicate Prairie Fire to Robert F Kennedy assassin Sirhan Sirhan?
Watch as Ayers initially tries to pretend he never did it, then changes course and turns on his spin machine:
Obama Appoints Failed Libtalk Exec To Transition Team
OBAMA'S NESS MESS
Failed Libtalk CEO To Oversee Econ-Trade Transition
A failed corporate executive responsible for the spectacular collapse of a celebrity-funded liberal talk radio network has been appointed by Barack Obama to a key transition panel.
Despite her dubious background, former GreenStone Media CEO Susan Ness has been selected by the incoming regime to Obama's Economics and International Trade Team, according to his "Change.gov" website.
GreenStone was the star-studded catastrophe backed by Jane Fonda, Gloria Steinem, Rosie O'Donnell and other well-known leftists in Hollywood and beyond. Broadcasting for only about a year, GreenStone's brand of feminist talk failed to generate ratings, affiliates and revenue.
FORMER staffers of Green Stone Media, the defunct women's radio network, are grumbling that its founders aren't living up to their feminist creds.
Women's libbers Gloria Steinem and Jane Fonda are "putting their own reputations above their female employees' finances," one source told Page Six.
The recently shuttered station is "refusing to pay severance, and the founders won't file for bankruptcy protection because it would publicly embarrass Jane and Gloria." A spokesperson for Fonda told us, "This is pure speculation. There is no foundation to the accusations and the staff has been informed throughout."
According to a trade report at All Access, Ness won't be reviewing FCC matters due to a conflict of interest. Ness is also a former commissioner of that agency.
But that does leave this failed corporate executive in a position to advise the Dear Leader on matters of economics, international trade and other business-related issues.
Despite indications from at least three senators that a clampdown on talk radio is in fact on the way, Rainey instead attacks conservative hosts for daring to worry about it. Hilariously, in the search for evidence to back up his claim, he turns to left-wing Democrat partisan Markos Moulitsas:
If the left wing is gearing up for such a push, I had trouble detecting it. A search of the liberal Daily Kos website turned up almost no mentions of the Fairness Doctrine. And the site's founder, Markos Moulitsas, said by e-mail Thursday that he sensed "zero impetus" to make the change.
"The right is using it as a straw man to build hysteria and opposition to the incoming Democratic administration and Congress," Moulitsas opined. "But there are zero serious efforts to make it happen."
Gosh, if Kos says it ain't so, then he MUST be correct, right? Clearly, the left isn't about to admit they plan to suppress political dissent, hence the mind games.
An FCC commissioner visiting the Hub this week didn’t rule out the possibility of a return of the Fairness Doctrine - a scourge on conservative talk jocks - under the Obama administration.
“There has been a lot of talk on Capitol Hill about bringing it back, maybe with a different name, but bringing the idea back,” Robert McDowell of the Federal Communications Commision told the Herald. “I would say stay tuned and see how the next year or two pan out.”
The doctrine required stations to present both sides of an issue. It was repealed in 1987.
Reimposing that FCC regulation, McDowell said, could inhibit radio or TV stations from airing controversial opinion shows altogether because “they would be fearful that the FCC might not renew their license if it was determined they were not complying with the so-called Fairness Doctrine.”
As Ed Morrisseypoints out at Hot Air, Democrats have included a desire to shut down conservative talk radio in their party platform for a number of years. He correctly calls Rainey's latest smear piece "confused and contradictory".
(CNSNews.com) – Local AM radio stations WMAL and WTNT in Washington, D.C., should not be forced by the federal government to provide equal time for liberal political views to counter the largely conservative views expressed in their daily line-up of talk shows, Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) told CNSNews.com on Wednesday.
The stations WMAL and WTNT broadcast conservative or right-leaning shows. WMAL's lineup includes Fred Grandy and Andy Parks, Chris Plante, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Mark Levin. WTNT's lineup features Bill Bennett, Laura Ingraham, Dennis Miller, Mancow, Michael Savage and Lars Larsen.
Bingaman has indicated he supports reinstating the Fairness Doctrine, a federal regulation abandoned by the Reagan administration in 1987 that required programs using the public airwaves to “afford reasonable opportunity for the discussion of conflicting views of public importance.”
The concept couldn't be simpler: an already-weakened economy is dealt a punishing body-blow by the election of America's first seemingly- socialist president. Faced with business conditions that are likely to deteriorate much further than expected, Wall Street throws in the towel and global markets collapse.
This is no mere economic theory, however: it's become reality, as investors ponder what higher taxes, increased regulation and unchecked labor union power will mean to suffering financial markets.
Call it Obama's market wipeout: since election day, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is down almost 1600 points. Your Radio Equalizer previously covered it here and here.
The substance of what Mr. Obama has promised for the economy is bearish for stocks. The threat of higher tax rates, especially on capital gains and dividends, now may be getting priced into the market. Add that to investor doubts about Democratic policies on unions, health care and trade -- and no wonder stocks are falling. Lower stock prices in turn reduce household net worth, thus slamming consumer confidence and contributing to what appears to be a consumer spending strike.
If Mr. Obama wants to reassure markets, he could announce that he won't be raising taxes for the foreseeable future. Unlike hundreds of billions in new government spending or more taxpayer cash for Detroit auto companies, this no-tax-hike declaration is a "stimulus" that would cost the U.S. Treasury nothing. In the current market, there won't be many capital gains and few companies will have surplus earnings to pay out in dividends. A higher tax rate on zero gains yields zero revenue, so what's the point of raising rates?
What markets want to see from Mr. Obama is a sense that the seriousness of this downturn is causing him to rethink the worst of his antigrowth policies.
In the week prior to the election, stocks surged, partly in the mistaken belief the polls were wrong regarding Obama's lead. Now, his election has taken away America's hope for a prosperous economic future. As a result, Wall Street no longer seems to know where the bottom may lie, with 8000 providing only a shaky Dow support level.
Obama's election is often compared to that of Ronald Reagan's in 1980. Both gentlemen were voted in to fix an ailing economy. But the 1982 recession took a huge chunk out of the Gipper's popularity. He had just a 35 percent job approval rating at the start of 1983, just two months after Republicans lost 27 seats in the House in the midterm elections. But Reagan's presidency was saved by an amazing economic rebound. The economy surged at a 4.5 percent pace in 1983 and at a mind-blowing 7.2 percent clip in 1984 as unemployment dropped from a high of 10.8 percent in December 1982 to 7.2 percent in November 1984. The Long Boom was underway.
Reagan worked his magic with tax cuts. Obama is trying to do the same with government spending. But stimulus packages are only supposed to keep the recession from getting worse or morphing into a mini-depression. I don't think anyone expects that $500 billion in hot money to return America to prosperity. Only time (and the private sector) can do that, especially with a downturn caused by a credit crisisa and deflating asset bubble. And four years may not be enough time for the Obama presidency to traverse that long road or complete that steep climb.
It has taken over a week, but finally there are signs that elements of the media are willing to tell the truth about the market's recent brutal sell-off.
But don't expect the Obama-fanatical NBC or other partisan defenders to suddenly come clean on this point. They've just spent two years conditioning Americans to believe in Obama's empty promises and aren't about to accept such a major credibility hit so soon after the election.