The Massachusetts Senatorial race was not necessarily a referendum against the administration's policies (health care being one of them); it's broader than that. The populist uproar is geared toward the incumbent, toward anyone in power. It does not run on party lines, nor is it focused on health care. It is the zeitgeist of dissatisfaction, a sign of the times. Maybe it's a function of high unemployment or the electorate ticked off at the wealthy and the largest institutions (especially of a banking kind). This dissatisfaction was expressed in the Democratic tsunami that brought Obama the Presidency, and it was seen yesterday in the Massachusetts Senatorial election that brought Brown the Senate seat. In other words, the mood of the country has been changing for a while, and it is being reflected in a very negative view toward those who have not suffered from high unemployment or from wayward derivative bets (and still got paid). And, as I have written before, this will lead to policies that are arguably needed but, generally speaking, are valuation deflating.
While I recognize that historically political gridlock is generally seen as a market positive, it might not be this time as the nation needs sound direction and leadership, not legislative inertia. Given the complexity and scope of our country's fiscal problems, obstruction and the perception of continued divisive and partisan political agendas and the lack of an overall governmental community (which could thwart desperately necessary legislative solutions) might quickly be seen as a negative.
In summary, on so many levels, it's different this time.
Doug Kass writes daily for
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