THE WAKE THAT WOKE UP THE BULL MARKET
by Mark Scheinbaum
American Reporter Correspondent
Boca Raton, Fla.
BOCA RATON, Fla., Nov. 6, 2002 -- Little did the late Sen. Paul Wellstone (D-Minn.) know that his own wake could have been the catalyst for sparking a bull stock market rally.
My instant analysis of the still-incomplete election night results is that the national mandate handed hard-campaigning incumbent Pres. George Bush allows the following issues to spark the market: On the next SEC chief Appointment of a shareholder activist such as Muriel Seibert to head up the Securities and Exchange Commission. The head securities regulator should be someone who knows how to lead and manage and control lawyers. It should not be a lawyer who has never been in the retail brokerage trenches. On a Capital Gains tax cut A GOP-controlled Congress can finally pass legislation which will help more average-income Democrats than anyone else. A huge reduction, or a complete elimination of the capital gains tax. IRS figures show that most folks who report capital gains have household incomes of less than $75,000.
America is probably the only modern democracy that punishes people for following the Judeo-Christian values of being thrifty and saving for a rainy day. Put your money away in a lousy 3 percent annual Certificate of Deposit. Take nothing out. Withdraw nothing. Roll it over every year. Your reward is a 1099 statement in January and a tax bill in April. It's time for a change.
As a lifelong Democrat, it seems to me as if the estimated 22 percent of the public which actually watches CNN, reads newspapers, and follows the news, was mostly shocked, outraged, or at the very least puzzled by the Wellstone Wake.
Moderate Democrats and Republicans, and undecided voters, got to see Bill and Hillary Clinton in full Democratic regalia. The feeding frenzy of minority rights, immigrant protection, and empowerment of gays and lesbians, went against the mainstream of voters.
This was supposed to be a funeral. Remember, it came on the heels of Streisand and Belafonte attacks on Colin Powell and Condoleeza Rice.
Understand, that to voters here in Florida and elsewhere, who were impressed by the basic decency of Democratic novice Bill McBride, the Wellstone Wake presented a strange dichotomy:
The issues and hopes, the dreams and dilemmas of blacks and hispanics who feel victimized, (in some cases of people whose generational welfare lives and crack infested slums, yearned for equal treatment under the law,) were not equal to Rice and Powell. They were superior.
Just think about it, freedom of speech is not enough. The achievements both personal and professional of Rice and Powell, should not be challenged in public debate and at the polls. If everyone is free to his opinion, that would be equality. But the disciples of the Wellstone Wake basically said, "Rice and Powell are sell-outs, like slaves and Uncle Toms, and are not deserving of their rights, or their following amongst millions of Americans."
By now, my own critics, have figured out that connecting the Wellstone Wake, the success of Bush campaign visits versus the failure of Clinton-Gore campaign stumps, and the impact on the stock market are a bit of a stretch. What the hell, it's supposed to be a business commentary.
Yet, in thinking about the snowball effect of widespread negative reaction to the Wellstone Wake, I focused on comments made by Sen. Trent Lott, the former Republican Senate Majority Leader, who likely has won his job back. Let's state upfront, I never envisioned Lott on anyone's list of "Mr. Congeniality."
Lott was a guest on Sean Hannity's national radio program on Election Day, and was asked by the host about whether he was surpirsed or insulted by being booed at the Wellstone Wake. The gist of Lott's reply went like this:
"It wasn't just me, but I had brought my wife. In fact, about one third of the entire United States Senate had turned out to pay hoamge to a colleague. "I figured right away that it wouldn't be a usual funeral, by the rock bands playing when we approached the arena, but I figured different people had different upbringings and different observances.
"But, I felt that having been in a leadership role in the Senate, and having been a colleague, the tragic and sudden death of Paul Wellstone called for some dignity and respect, and I guess the cheers for former President Clinton as a returning hero, indicated something else."
That's the key.
Hard-working and trusted Democrats won control of many governor's mansions Tuesday night. But it was a nation which supported the difficult job George Bush has undertaken post-9/11 that rallied behind national GOP candidates. Every time a newscast showed the two Bills - McBride and Clinton campaigning, and the next minute the two Bushes - George W. and Jeb - the basic contrast was there. Even Jeb Bush's own possible failures as a father, with a drug-addicted daughter, seemed to evoke voter sympathy rather than derision. The final signal for a Bull Run is the burial of the "stolen election" theory. No voters complained more than rank-and-file Democrats in Florida. Floridians allegedly had the biggest gripe. These same Floridians re-elected the President's brother by double digits. They also had a chance to hand a victory to the Goristas who preach Supreme Court manipulation of the 2000 vote. Guess what, Floridians showed about a 65 percent approval rate, in retaining the same appellate and State Supreme Court justices who some accused of participating in a serpentine judicial conspiracy. Let the rally begin!
Political scientist Mark Scheinbaum is chief investment strategist for Kaplan & Co, www.kaplansecurities.com in Boca Raton, Fla.