Tuesday, January 30, 2018

What Joe Kennedy Should Say Tonight

Preview of Tonight's Speeches.  First Trump, then Kennedy.

Donald Trump has previewed what he will do.  It will be a good, effective, teleprompter speech, along the lines of what he said at Davos, and what he says at his rallies.  The formality of the event will strongly pull him toward staying on script.  He has a speech to read.  Here it is:

"America is back!   The economy is humming.  Corporate profits are coming back to America. Black unemployment is low.  We have 200,000 new jobs a month.  We are deporting criminals who are here illegally.  Neal Gorsuch is on the Supreme Court and will defend conservative values.  The tax bill was terrible for rich people like me, but I am willing to sacrifice for the good of America, and the tax bill is great for the hard working men and women of America, the forgotten Americans. Americans are strong and proud and we stand for the pledge of allegiance and the Star Spangled banner. I inherited "carnage" but now things are great."

Something like that.

Joe Kennedy III will give the Democratic response, and he needs to play catchup.  It is late for Democrats.  Democrats need to reposition the economic recovery.  Obama did a poor job of selling the narrative of recovery. Happily for Kennedy, the facts are on his side.

Housing Market in a hard-hit area: Medford, Oregon
Anchoring.  My suggestion for Joe Kennedy is informed in part by my long career as a Financial Advisor. I watched Americans evaluate their overall well being in part by comparing themselves to mental set points.  (H. L. Mencken said "wealth is any income that is $100 a year more than a man's wife's sister's husband's income.) Behavioral psychologists call this process anchoring.  People see a value for their house or some other asset, and that number becomes the equilibrium fair and reasonable thing that is theirs.  

Loss is profoundly unsettling to people. 

Obama entered office amidst economic collapse in asset values.

US Stock Market
Some 64 percent of American households own a home.  People are aware what their property is worth.  A great many Americans own financial assets, often very little, in an IRA or other retirement account.  People with small amounts worry as much or more than people with ample assets.

What happened. The US stock market hit a low in March, 2009, shortly after Obama's inauguration and it climbed steadily for the next seven years, nearly tripling during his tenure in office.  The American housing market collapsed 2008 and 2009, hitting a bottom in 2011, then rebounded, bringing housing prices up to, or beyond, their 2007 highs.  

Joe Kennedy should reframe the economy as sound Democratic response to the recession and Trump grandiosity and narcissism.

Joe Kennedy:

"My fellow Americans, we have been through a roller coaster of highs and lows in the past decade.  We have just heard from President Trump.   He bragged.  He crowed.  He took credit for everything good.   All hail Donald Trump.  

Democratic response.
In the years prior to President Obama's election the country experimented with undoing the rules that protected our economy from wild risk taking and leveraged bets that would make Wall Street speculators billions of dollars if the bets worked--and would destroy the American economy if they didn't.  In 2008 it all came crashing down.  The stock market lost half its value.  Our homes became unsellable at any price.  We fell into deep recession.  We discovered that the banks had used their freedom to make--then sell and resell--crazy mortgages.  In that catastrophe we elected Barrack Obama, who began the slow steady work of rebuilding the economy.   

His purpose was to fix the economy, restore the values of your homes and IRAs. Politically, it would have been smart to have prosecuted and dismantled the banks.  Wall Street executives in handcuffs.  But a strong economy needs strong financial institutions.  Obama did the brave and wise thing.  He saved those institutions, and we regulated them better.  Oh, they complain.  'We have to have too much capital to back our deposits!  We can't take crazy risks!'  

We passed the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to try to assure taxpayers and consumers would be protected.

The stock market and housing markets recovered.  What Donald Trump called "carnage" was a tripling of the stock market during a Democratic administration.  Unemployment went from 10% down in a steady decline to 4.3% when Obama left office.  Home prices are back up restoring the equity people have in their homes.  

Donald Trump was elected president of the United States.  This was a risky experiment for our country, somewhat like the risky experiment we entered into when we unleashed the banks, brokerages, insurance companies to make exciting, risky bets.  Part of what we got when we elected Trump was a president who flagrantly and shamelessly sells what he claims to be true--even in the face of direct evidence to the contrary.  In October, 2016 before his election he said that the Bureau of Labor Statistics unemployment numbers showing record lows, were "fake."  Somehow, by inauguration day, the same statistics showing the same low numbers were a triumph for Trump!

The stock market, which had been making repeated new highs under Obama--that was carnage.  The next month, it was triumph for Trump!

Job growth of 2.2 million new jobs per year under Obama were "pathetic", but job growth of 2.1 million new jobs under Trump was somehow a spectacular achievement.

Trump claims that America is energy independent and acts like he is responsible.  The energy revolution in America took place under Obama, with clear rules in place to protect our environment ,and we still went from importer to energy independence.  Under Obama!

A campaign strategist once said that there was one key to presidential popularity.  "It's the economy, stupid."  Well, Donald Trump, we aren't stupid.  The economy was driven into a ditch by crazy risk taking under a Republican president; Democrats repaired the damage; and now Trump is taking credit for the recovery that took place while you were golfing, and now as president are busy cancelling the very protections we put into place to stop another debacle. 

You are removing regulations from banks. How did that work out last time? 

You are removing environmental protections.  Do you really think Americans are better off and safer if coal mining sludge is free to dump into rivers?  Apparently, yes, because you removed that protection.

Do you really think America's beaches are protected if we allow a free for all of offshore drilling?  Apparently, yes, because you just removed that protection--except for Florida. What a blatantly political and self serving thing to do, Mr. President.  You will risk fouling the beaches of North Carolina and California and Alaska, but your precious Mar-a-Lago gets an exemption.

America has never had such a blatantly vulgar, unrepentant, unstable president.  But you have an extraordinary talent, Mr. President.  You look the American people in the eye and some believe you, not the facts right before their eyes.  You can sell Trump Steaks, Trump University, bankrupt Trump bonds.  You have an extraordinary talent for blaming and branding others, and dividing Americans.  Lying Ted.  Low energy Jeb.  Little Marco.  Ugly Carly. You can tell people Obama was born in Kenya.  You can blame the FBI and your own Justice Department for doing their jobs.  You have a dangerous talent, dangerous for America because in order to sell the half truths you undermine the checks and balances on you.  'The news media is fake.  The opposition party are all losers. Experts know nothing.  Career people are all out to get you.'

Well, Mr. Trump, you are the fake news.  But there is good news in America.  Republicans are afraid of you, but they know full well how badly you are damaging the institutions of American government, including the Congress they control. They will awaken. The courts, the opposition party, and, yes, the news media understands that you can sell your false narrative--but you cannot lead America forward because this country is not all about you, Mr. President.  It is about the people of this country.

This country is not racist, even if you appeal to racists.  This country welcomes immigrants, and we are ready to put in place rules and procedures to make sure immigration serves America's values.  We do not welcome your smears and vulgarisms of people you disdain.

My uncle spoke of a real patriotism, ask not what your country can do for you.  Ask what you can do for your country.  Mr. Trump, this country is full of patriots, people who serve, people who sacrifice, people concerned with the greater good. People born here and people who moved here to serve our economy, to do the hard work, to serve in our military.  Your mother was an immigrant, Mr. Trump.  You have immigrants in your own family, Mr. Trump.  You insult all Americans when you insult immigrants

Mr. Trump, this country is better than you.  You stand on the shoulders of patriots, people who have made this a country where you could become rich.  The Democratic party stands for the values that made this possible.  You, Mr. Trump, are busy destroying them.

Good night.  God bless you and God bless the United States of America."


Robert Mann said...

Peter should be in the party leadership. The party needs help badly.

Thad Guyer said...

I see your point. Trump's speech is targeted to a few key issues, concisely narrated and both self-agrandizing and dismissive of Democrats claims at the same time. By contrast, Kennedy's is long, rambling, claims victimhood, cries Trump stole our mojo, and tells Americans that the big shiny economy they're adniring, well Obama built that, Trump knocked us down in the achool yard and ate our lunch, so it's unfair not to vote for us instead of him.

Plus, while Trump invites a bunch of Americam heros, cops, soldiers and first responders to the speech, Democrats will bring illegal immigrants and assorted cultural victims.

With that juxtapositioning, the GOP can never beat us!