Missing the Boat on the Big Political News

The Dow Jones industrial average briefly dropped more than 1,000 points in morning trading on Monday. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

On Aug. 21, I did something — twice — that I rarely do. I tweeted. But it wasn’t about Donald Trump’s poll numbers or Hillary Rodham Clinton’s emails. It was about the stock market’s plunge.  

While Trump’s latest salvo (no matter the subject) is always entertaining and the size of Bernard Sanders’ most recent crowd is worth noting, Wall Street’s current performance and the investment community’s nervousness could turn out to be more important for the two parties next year.  

President George W. Obama Meets the Midterms

I certainly didn’t know foreign policy would be front and center in the final months before the midterm elections when I wrote in late April that these issues “could have an indirect yet significant impact on the midterm elections.”  

But now, it looks increasingly as if foreign policy — particularly problems in the Middle East and relations with Russia — will add to the president’s woes.  

Could Upbeat Economic News Help Obama, Democrats?
Keep Your Eye on the Dow

While the Dow Jones Industrial Average is up just short of 13 percent over the past year, it has lost almost 850 points since it hit its 52-week high of 15,658.43 on Aug. 2. With the Dow closing today at 14,824.51, that’s a drop of only 5.3 percent.

That recent slide in the Dow surely reflects concern about expected U.S. military action in Syria and higher crude oil prices, but it also is a function of the growing belief of investors that the Federal Reserve will start to taper its policy of quantitative easing.

Democrats Rally Against Bill Clinton's Record

Clinton announced his budget in 1998 (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

What do you call a politician who supports the Defense of Marriage Act and a balanced federal budget? Today, that describes a conservative Republican. Sixteen years ago, that was a two-term Democratic president.

Bill Clinton is a rock star among Democrats. He’s one of the most requested politicians on the campaign trail because his unique appeal allows him to go to regions of the country where President Barack Obama isn’t particularly popular.

When the Nation Has the Blahs ...

Is the nation suffering from a national case of hypochondria, or are Americans rightly worried about the country's future?

The answer depends, in part, on your (political) point of view. But it’s also true that every bit of good news — rising home prices, rising stock prices and an increase in federal tax revenues that improves Medicare’s short-term outlook — seems to be followed by a warning, a disappointment or tragedy, some of them weather-related, that brings gloom and doom.

Is Long-term Economic, Political Discontent Ahead?

Washington Post columnist Robert J. Samuelson is one of a handful of economic writers I pay a lot of attention to. If you are a political junkie, you should read his April 28 piece The Twilight of Entitlement, which has profound implications for American politics and for the nation’s psyche.

Samuelson isn’t talking merely about Social Security or Medicare when he writes about “entitlements.” Instead, he is talking about a set of “attitudes and beliefs” best expressed by President Bill Clinton when he said, “If you work hard and play by the rules, you’ll have the freedom and opportunity to pursue your own dream.”