It was news media conventional wisdom during the 2008 presidential campaign: the worse the economy, the better it was for Democrat candidate prospects. But now that they have the legislative and executive branches and the burden of actually governing, that advantage is slowly being chipped away.
CNBC "Mad Money" host Jim Cramer, who first starting connecting that perhaps a Democrat-controlled federal government might not be the best thing for the United States earlier this year, gave something of a downbeat rant on Feb. 2 about Obama's handling of the economy so far.
"Until the Obama administration starts listening, until they start paying attention to what you're watching - to the stock market, until they realize that their agenda is destroying the life savings of millions of Americans - then all I can give you is caution," Cramer said on his March 2 broadcast.
Since Obama took office on Jan. 20, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) has lost over 1,000 points, including a nearly 400-point drop on Feb. 10 after a disappointing speech by Obama's Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner on sorting out troubled assets. Cramer pleaded with the administration to take note of the possibility it might have something to do with that.
"I'm not asking for the Feds to give us a plunge protection team, to stop declines - as we always thought to be the case under Greenspan," he continued. "I'm not saying, ‘Mr. President, stare at the Bloomberg quote machine and come to your senses. I just want some sign that Obama realizes the market is totally falling apart and his agenda has a big hand in that happening."
Cramer was highly critical of the Obama administration for not catching on thus far. He questioned the merits of their abilities to contain the market turmoil and wondered if they were even bothered by it.
"I thought the prices, the screen, the action, the sense of a vortex down that cannot be stopped, of equities becoming worthless, of savings becoming tattered, of a stock market without bottom," Cramer said. "But this time in slow motion, I felt the total lack of control that we all feel right now - the ‘it's out of my hands,' the ‘where's the authority,' the, ‘Hey, it's amateur hour at our darkest moment.' It's the feeling of capitalism vanishing, businesses capsizing under their own weight - thanks to an administration that doesn't seem to know or maybe doesn't care."
The "Mad Money" host observed that the "change" mantra that Obama campaigned on was actually coming to fruition, but he said it was coming to the detriment of the American economy.
"Hey - I get it," Cramer said. "Young president, big landslide, vigorous agenda, Congress that smells Republican blood - might find changing the world simply irresistible. We all want to change the world. I know I'd like to change the world, but when you talk about wealth destruction, don't you know that you can count me out?"