Saturday, September 27, 2008

financial pundits of the FT

I've got myself a free subscription to the Financial Times courtesy my UK student status. FT is considered to be right-of-center so its comments on the US election might be thought to slant toward the Republican candidate. But as with conservative columnist George Will this does not seem to be the case.

Before last night's debate the FT leader writer assessed the candidates on the financial crisis and gave Obama the edge: "Ordinary economic competence, which Mr McCain particularly appears to lack, may be less important than grace under pressure. Readiness to take charge and ability to inspire some confidence will be the real test. In this, Mr Obama has done better than his rival. Mr McCain’s instinct for decisive action has led him astray: his initial interventions were ill-judged and poorly received. Mr Obama’s tendency to intellectual detachment has been much criticised hitherto, including by many Democrats, but has now come into its own. Whereas Mr McCain has seemed rattled, Mr Obama has seemed calm and methodical. The Democrat’s impeccable taste in advisers – men such as Paul Volcker, whom voters are inclined to trust in an economic emergency – has also served him well."

This morning two FT columnists tip the same way.

Gideon Rachman says McCain showed his age while rambling about the economy but seemed more on top of things when the subject turned to "stuff he actually cares and knows about." He says Obama wasn't much better on the crisis but did have four succinct points to make at the beginning; contrast McCain who "gave the impression that he thought that the source of the problem is excessive spending in Congress."

Clive Crook liked Obama's performance much better than McCain's: "After the last couple of days, McCain badly needed to win Friday’s debate. My immediate feeling was that he didn’t even manage a draw. Obama was on fine form. He did not meander. His responses were calm and focused. He never looked rattled. He seemed comfortable with the issues and unthreatened by his opponent — sufficiently unthreatened to be generous to McCain now and then, an effective Clintonian (Bill) touch. McCain was prickly, rarely looking in Obama’s direction, repeatedly accusing him of failing to understand the issues — a difficult charge to make stick with Obama looking so assured. McCain’s aggression seemed to me at times to betray a lack of confidence. He had his moments; still, I thought it was a comfortable win on points for Obama."

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