Investors should be pleased to find out the political environment might soon be much more conducive to business investments.
In fall 2010, a Bloomberg poll showed 77 percent of investors believed President Obama was anti-business. Nothing I’ve seen contradicts this data today, as the economy still sputters.
But investors should be pleased to find out the political environment might soon be much more conducive to business investments.
|Story by William Lacy|
A May New York Times/CBS poll showed Mitt Romney leading the president; the Times placed this news on A 17. The popular national narrative that this election will be close—but that the president will win re-election—couldn’t support better placement for the results.
I think this narrative is completely wrong. Some smart Democrats agree. Democratic strategist James Carville recently asked Democratic donors and activists: “What are you smoking? What are you drinking?” in reference to the optimism widely shared by the president’s allies and supporters.
A new book tells of a meeting where former President Bill Clinton describes the president as an “amateur” and beseeches his wife to leave the cabinet and run against him in the primary to save the Democratic Party. The Clintons denied the claim, but others were present at the meeting, and it’s believable. Clinton, who completely reinvented himself after a devastating 1994 midterm election, must be frustrated by the White House’s failure to come up with any coherent strategy.
And at the end of May, former Congressman Artur Davis, Obama’s first 2008 congressional endorser outside Illinois, announced he was leaving the Democratic Party. He said he took exception to “an agenda that would punish businesses and job creators with more taxes just as they are trying to thrive again.”
You heard it here: Unless there is a considerable uptick in the economy—and soon—or the GOP botches a wonderful opportunity, Mitt Romney is going to be president. And his margin of victory could be ugly.
Short of this economic improvement, the president’s showpiece will be what? Health care reform is still opposed by the electorate. The killing of Bin Laden? The White House made a bad political choice to widely celebrate the first anniversary with the focus on the president.
Polls showing a highly competitive race are not the only sign the president is in trouble. The president’s lack of a coherent strategy or theme and the seemingly tactical use of issues like gay marriage are juxtaposed with Romney’s tight focus on economic issues. Whereas the 2008 Obama campaign was arguably the best-run presidential campaign in contemporary history, the 2012 campaign lacks focus.
And the president’s attack on Romney as a business vampire and his campaign’s public disparagement of important business leaders who support his opponent are making him appear even more anti-business.
Romney’s primary message might not have been conservative enough for all Republicans, but his current direction is tailor-made for the general election. He comes out of the primary fight positioned to court the independent and undecided voters he needs to win.
Romney’s campaign must relentlessly press every advantage on this issue and avoid getting distracted as the Obama campaign throws everything at them. We know that is coming because it’s the only way the president can win.
The president’s greatest strength is his personal popularity. People do want him to succeed. (Keep in mind, though, voters wanted Jimmy Carter to succeed, as well.) This desire will work two ways: If the economy is really improving, and it’s obvious to voters, the president could eke out a narrow win.
If the economy doesn’t show serious movement, his personal popularity will not save him. For the business world, the message is clear: Hold on, Mitt’s coming. Be ready to start investing again because more business-friendly policies are around the corner.