In the midst of a global financial crisis, caused by a confluence of countries facing massive debt and in turn leading citizens to lose hope and confidence in government, what’s needed is a clear direction. Or as Bob Dylan once wrote…
There must be some way out of hereSaid the joker to the thiefThere''s too much confusionI can''t get no relief.
The past month’s fiasco in Washington and the squabble over the debt illustrated for the world that leadership is lacking. The back and forth bickering demonstrated that no one is really in charge.
And as the Wall Street Journal noted, unlike in 2008 where the crisis was caused by the markets, today the markets are reacting to a crisis in government. The markets witness the row between President Obama and the U.S. Congress as if in the back seat of a car that’s headed off a cliff. What they see are two parents fighting, “You take the wheel.” “No, you take the wheel.” Meanwhile, the markets are screaming, “One of you, just take the wheel!”
Behind this hearse is a funeral procession, a global economy with European nations from Italy, Greece, Spain and now France following along through a fog unsure where they are headed.
Apart from the danger of dropping of the edge, is also the opportunity that opens and is created for a false messiah, a demagogue to appear offering to rescue the hapless victims. Not unlike the election of 2008, when the country turned to President Obama, who heralded Hope and Change, now, many in the Democratic Party and others are having buyer’s remorse as the path we’ve been on seems to be the same. No different than the seesawing stock market, the political compass of Left or Right has been thrown off course and many on the Left have tossed in the towel on the President, while moderates are again looking for that change once again.
Meanwhile, on the Right and amidst the Eight Republicans, who are vying to challenge the incumbent President, none have electrified their electorate. With no clear frontrunner, it’s the perfect opportunity for a lone cowboy from Texas to ride in with a swagger. As if on cue, we have Texas Governor Rick Perry (yes, he even dons cowboy boots.)
In 1979, during the Iranian hostage crisis and an incumbent President Carter who appeared weak, another former Governor from the west rode in and swept the country and the world off its feet. President Reagan often borrowed the very cowboy imagery, often riding on horseback and donning a Stetson.
Today Rick Perry announced his candidacy and all eyes are on him as the possible hero—a Shane to save the world.
In his announcement declaring his candidacy he said, “I will not accept the path that America is on.”
With confidence waning, no clear consensus or direction out of Washington and an unstable world market, everyone watching will be looking for that new path and a leader that will project clarity, direction, strength and stability.
But if it’s more of the same, with change for change sake, then I’m afraid another set of Dylan lyrics will again be apt…
A change in the weather is known to be extremeBut what’s the sense of changing horses in midstream?
Abe Novick can be reached at [email protected]