Richard Nixon — I, Too, Have a Dream
Will Wall Street be kind to Republicans — by turning south during during the 2000 presidential campaign?
January 13, 2000
The presidential elections are almost upon us, but George W. Bush, our party’s top contender — and the son of my old protégé — has not yet developed any real traction with voters. He still comes across as too shallow.
Can’t really blame the nation for it. I mean the guy wouldn’t stand a prayer if I were running against him. But now we Republicans are sort of stuck with the younger Bush. I guess that’s what you call the power of money. Wish I had such a cakewalk with the rich and mighty who run our party.
What can we Republicans do to advance our electoral fortunes and win back the White House? We clearly can’t leave the country in the hands of that Al-boy cadet. I’ll never forget that his father came out against the Vietnam War. That family is on my enemy list for the duration.
How about we ask for some help from our friends on Wall Street? Can’t we simply ask them to engineer a little market downturn for the year? I mean, they should be willing to make that small sacrifice. Everybody has been making pots of money in the markets.
Then, once we’re back in the White House, we can have Wall Street engineer a spectacular comeback of the market in 2001 — sort of as a welcoming present of the Republican Party for the American people. Ah, they will never forget that. Wish I could have had such a “Nixon rally” early in my term.
You have to admit this strategy has a certain charm. Letting the market turn south in 2000 will rob the Democrats of their most potent weapon. After all, for quite a few years now, the Democrats’ best argument to fend off our attacks has been simply to point to the financial markets.
Smart, but I don’t like it. I mean, how long can anyone tolerate the Democrats being sanctimonious about the stock market providing an unbiased stamp of approval on the economy’s general health?
But beyond the 2000 presidential race, we’ve also got to be thinking about the long term. Why shouldn’t we thus turn our madness into destiny? As I understand it, over 50% of Americans now own shares. They should all be Republicans! This has important implications. We can no longer count on our old war horse — advocating tax cuts.
If the U.S. stock market were to perform poorly this election year, we can make this argument stick. Only by getting Republican hands back on the nation’s steering wheel do investors stand a chance at getting back to the kind of market performance they have grown accustomed to.
Also, let’s not forget that we Republicans have not yet succeeded in what is perhaps our most important party-building objective: to align (or realign!) as many 401(k) and IRA holders and mutual fund owners permanently into the Republican fold. So far, too many of them are still Democrats. Oh, how I hate that.