“Capital Insights” with Jack Kern: President Obama from Petaluma to Pittsburgh

“I get no respect. The way my luck is running, if I was a politician I would be honest.”–Rodney Dangerfield

In the ever-present sport of President watching in Washington, D.C., it’s easy to become immune to the foibles of policy debates, Sunday morning talk shows and ratcheting spending. I’ve had occasion recently to speak with friends, colleagues and readers of this column about their views on Washington and how the political message is playing out. What they’ve shared with me is, in a word, surprising. Apparently the euphoria of the new President is wearing off as fast as they’ll tire of cleaning up after the soon-to-be-first-pooch, a Portuguese water dog (people in Portugal are thrilled about this and plan to hold street demonstrations in support of the choice. Special Obama dog t-shirts coming soon.)

The further you get from Washington, the more critical the opinions seem to run. For the most part, the political cognoscenti in the politically liberal Pacific Northwest seem to applaud the liberal leaning agenda, but abhor tax increases almost at any level. There were also numerous comments about how expensive the current budget proposals are and their relative likelihood of acceptance and approval. Not to be outdone, conservative minded Texans pretty much universally revile the new President’s proposals, choice in lunch menu, manner of transportation and choice in sports teams. The proposals were pretty much DOA in Texas, still a Bush stronghold. How interesting that the Bush legacy, mostly Houston, ended up in Dallas!

Readers and proponents of free market optimism from the Windy City were as divided as White Sox and Cubs fans. The general consensus is that Chicago’s proximity to Canada may be a good thing for newly emerging political refugees from the democrat party. I suspect even Mayor Daley is practicing his Canadian “eh!”

There is no certainty in politics and public policy responses. Messages coming from the current President and Congress are showing high marks in polls. Oddly, no one I spoke with was actually participating in any of these polls, which leads one to believe that the real margin of error is somewhere right after where it says, please begin here.

The American people are expert it seems at the old adage, be careful what you wish for. This time around, we might just end up getting it.

(Jack Kern is the managing director of Kern Investment Research who gained his only political experience in 4th grade, when he was elected to student council. He can be drafted for public office or reached at 301.601.900 or jkern@kernIRC.com.)