Monday, October 18, 2004

It's Over, Except for the Vote-Counting

An article in the October edition of SFO Magazine ( caught my attention recently. It outlined, with charts, graphs, and text, the stock market scenarios for Octobers leading up to elections and offered the Dow Jones Industrial Average as a prediction tool.

In six out of eight presidential election years in which the Dow was down for the month of October - and it is down this month and heading lower today - the incumbent (that would be George Bush this year) lost. Not only is that a solid 75% hit rate, but the greater the loss on the Dow, the more reliable the indication.

According to one chart in the article, the only times the incumbent won when the Dow was down were the two smallest declines (1944, Roosevelt defeated Dewey, Dow down 0.1%; and, 1964, Johnson defeated Goldwater, Dow down 0.3%). The other six times in which the Dow slipped were greater losses, spelling defeat for the incumbent.

The most recent incarnations of this phenomenon are 1976 (Carter defeated Ford), 1980 (Reagan over Carter) and 1992 (Clinton defeated Bush). The 2000 election, in which Republican challenger George W. Bush won a narrow victory over Al Gore and the incumbent-party democrats, the Dow was up a solid 3% in October, one of only four times out of seventeen in which the Dow was up and the incumbent party lost. No system is perfect, but this one hits at a 75% or better rate and there are still plenty who believe Gore actually won in 2000, so there's more grist for that grindstone.

It does make some rational sense that the markets would turn lower sensing a change in the White House. Markets hate uncertainty, and even suspected change at the top, might engender some selling and profit taking. Juxtaposing the argument, the markets being down, i.e., a slowing or sluggish economy, may prompt a dumping of the chief executive.

Conversely, if the markets are strong and the economy flourishing, there's no need to make a change at the top, ergo, the incumbent sits pretty.

So, is the stock market telling us something many already suspect: that the economy is not so hot, that there are concerns over the current administration's ability to lead? Looks like it, and if the downward trend of the Dow continues (around 9870 at noon on Oct. 18, just over a 2% decline from the closing price of 10080.27 on Sept. 30), we may be waving another president bye-bye after a single term.

Forget the polls, just keep an eye on the Dow.

For more on the election and other fascinating topics, visit my web site.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Is there a Clod in our Future?

I have to admit, after watching the first Presidential and Vice Presidential debates, that, of the four men, George W. Bush not only performed the worst, but actually had to be rescued by Dr. Nasty, otherwise known as Dick Cheney.

Cheney, it seems to me, is the kind of guy our parents warned us about. He always seems to be aloof, distant and untouchable. Maybe it comes from being in a secure bunker for so long, but this guy is the archetypical fat-cat Republican, with connections out the ying-yang.

I could be wrong, as I am not privy to the inner workings of Washington, D. C., but Dick has gotten plenty of press on the topics of secrecy, Haliburton, arm-twisting, etc., but back to the overview of the debates...

Bush just seemed to be not very well-rehearsed or informed in his debate with John Kerry. His answers were right off the script and he seemed to have a hard time thinking on his feet (speaking of which, why were John Edwards and Cheney seated - is Cheney's health that bad?). Somebody suggested that having been in office for nearly four years has taken its toll on George W. If so, then maybe it really is time for him to go - and take that nasty VP with him.

Prior to the debate, I was certain that we'd be better off with the current administration winning re-election. Now, I am not so sure. The problems I have with Kerry/Edwards are that they are the epitome of the Democratic Party liberal ideal. My fear is that they'll tax and spend us to death, though, come to think of it, the Republicans are doing a pretty good job of that already.

Will we be safer from terrorism with George and Dick at the controls? This question is the height of stupidity in elections. I am convinced that about 99.7% of the American public will never be touched by terrorism as it is, no matter who is in the White House. And I really don't think the current administration has done such a bang-up job of it after all. We're spending billions of our money to secure peace in Iraq and it does not appear to be working, and Osama bin Laden is still on the loose, I guess.

The terrorists, for all the fear we're supposed to have of them, haven't changed much about how life in America is constituted, unless you're flying, of course. I don't think they're as large a threat to our way of life as, say, the World Bank, or maybe China. Sure, they'd like to blow our brains out, but there are many more of us than them, so if it ever comes down to it, we can and will simply obliterate them, either singularly, or en masse, a la nuke.

In any case, George W., of all four contestants in the debates, seemed the least intelligent, least informed, least able to make snap decisions. Overall, he looked rather cloddish. But, more than half the people in America still want to vote for him in November, probably because half the people in America are clods, too, when it comes to picking leaders.

It reminds me of pick-up football games on the playground. The biggest jerk always got to be quarterback and then he chose the lesser clods to be on his team. In essence, the smart kids always got pounded. This is not to say that all Republicans are clods and/or bullies, but the way things are going, it looks like the inner clod network is alive and well.

I haven't been so sure of Bush/Cheney from the start. As it is, and this should be pointed out, 9/11 DID happen on their watch and the war in Iraq probably could have been over a long time ago or never started in the first place. At least Kerry is putting up a fight and making people think about what this administration HAS done thus far. As elections go, this one will probably be pretty close, now that the Dems are pointing fingers and making strong points. Bush looks defenseless on a variety of issues.