WSJ SmartMoney Editor in Little Rock on Obama, the Economy

A sunny view from the folks at Fox

A sunny view from the folks at Fox

As we mentioned earlier this week, Matthew Heimer, The Wall Street Journal Magazine SmartMoney deputy editor, was in Little Rock today to speak at one of UALR’s regular economic forecast conferences.

ArkansasBusiness.com Assistant Internet Editor Amy Riggin was there and filed this report:

“I’m optimistic,” Heimer said. “He [Obama] seems to be someone who is eager to build a consensus.”


Heimer said it is important to keep in mind that while Obama will be commander-in-chief, “he’s not the only player in the newly-enlarged Democratic Congress.”

“Under the best of circumstances almost no one can ever get their entire platform enacted,” he said. “It’s fairly safe to say that the Obama represented by his campaign platform is not the President Obama that we’re going to see over the next four years because even with a big Democratic majority he’s just not going to have that kind of leverage.”

Heimer said he believe the nation is in a recession, but he doesn’t think it’s going to be as severe as past recessions, including those of the 80s, and of course the market crash of ’29.

He also talked about Obama rode voter dissatisfaction with the economy into the White House:

While economics is not one of McCain’s strengths, Heimer said, there also is uncertainty surrounding Obama’s plans. But Obama had the same advantage that Ronald Reagan had over Jimmy Carter in 1980 and that Bill Clinton had over George H. W. Bush in 1992: a shaky economy during an election year acting as an “incumbent repellent.”

“I think it’s pretty well accepted at this point that the economy was McCain’s weak spot,” Heimer said. “The missteps unfortunately were many … Most of us can remember how many homes we own.”

“I think Obama, ultimately in his temperament, not necessarily in his policies, was able to reassure more people.”

Click here to see the complete report, including how the SmartMoney Web site responded to the financial crisis for its readers.

(Photo from Coltermac‘s Flickrstream here.)

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