April 13, 2022

It's The Ideology...

With apologies to James Carvel and his favorite dicta from 1990, “It's the economy, stupid.”

We need to recognize how President Joe Biden, along with his former boss, Barack Obama, had changed the Presidency. The principal management arm of the US Government.

Before the Obama/Biden type president, there was a fairly consistent pattern for those elected to the nation's top spot. Generally, Presidents aligned themselves with the current issues and concerns of the average American.

Presidents like Franklin Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower, John Kennedy, and Ronald Reagan all achieved great popularity with their ability to talk to the common man.

This move to closely identify with people's concerns reached a peak during the Bill Clinton Presidency.

Along with Carvel, and pollster Sid Greenfield, Clinton made sure that each of his proposals and initiatives resonated with Americans. Each initiative was carefully tested to sound just right for the voters. Focus groups were suddenly in vogue.

It was marketing 101 every day at the Clinton White House.

All that changed just 8 years later when Barack Obama came to office. Here was a true ideologue, through and through.

Out went all that extraneous polling. No more catchphrases, designed by marketing staff. Even his signature legislation, the American Cares Act. Is better known as the simply perfunctory: Obama Care.

And I'm sure the President liked it that way.

The problem with an ideological President, one who goes their own way, is that they can get cross-threaded with the American public. Obsessed with issues Americans don't care about. While ignoring vital concerns of the people.

And that is exactly what we see playing out with President Joe Biden.

In thumbing through the President's latest speeches, we get a good idea of just what concerns him: Biofuels, Gun Control of various types, Build Back Better for Rural Infrastructure, Medicare. I could go on.

Important issues no doubt. And certainly high on an ideology list. But hardly the issues that most Americans are concerned about.

There is no speech on Inflation, and how to contain it. On the economy, and how to avoid recession. On the growing threat of food shortages, here in this country.

By every measure, Americans are currently worried. And growing more so by the day.

But those concerns seem to be greeted by a deaf ear in this Administration.

There are two basic reasons for this, I believe.

The first is simply the calendar. On November 20th this year, Joe Biden will turn 80 years old. I'm sure the stress and strain of this job are becoming overwhelming at that age.

I fully expect Biden to be a one-and-done president. So there is no real need to prepare for any re-election. There won't be one.

The other reason this White House seems so tone-deaf is its focus on ideology. It's a "we know best" attitude. That seeks to accomplish only those goals THEY deem most important. Not necessarily what Americans view as important.

Obama did this to a very large extent. But many didn't notice because the business cycle was positive, and we were basically at peace.

Biden doesn't have those advantages. War is looming, and the business cycle is turning decidedly negative.

For investors, entrepreneurs, and those just trying to survive in this economy, this assessment of a President becomes critically important.

We should not expect him to respond to any issue, as we would.

We've already seen this, in the ideological response to energy. Instead of encouraging more production of traditional fossil fuels. Biden elected to promote alternative energy sources like wind and solar.

When dealing with the issue of the Supply Chain, Biden allowed his Transportation Secretary to take 60 days off, on maternity leave, rather than immediately address the issue.

Putting us well behind in our effort to bring the supply chain under control. There was, after all, a larger social statement to make.

Finally, inflation is an issue that has been almost totally ignored by 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

When was the last time you heard from Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen? As the former head of the Federal Reserve, Yellen is in the perfect spot to address inflation. But all we hear are crickets.

As you can see, your issues may not be the issues this White House deems most critical.

For this President ideology trumps all.