Monday, March 02, 2009

The New Iraq Body Count

I was thinking this afternoon about how the Dow Jones index seems to be becoming for people who don't like Obama what the Iraq body count was for people who didn't like Bush: a measure they can turn to every day to quantify just how awful a job the guy they don't like is doing. I guess everyone wants to quantify their anger, no matter how inappropriate the measuring stick might be.


Mithridates said...

Hmm, let's think about this:

1. The Iraq body county is the direct result of a presidential decision. There would be no body count if we didn't go to war. It's unclear how much control the President has over the stock market, but . . .

2. The Dow Jones was at 10,588 when W took over. It was 8,280 when he left. That's eight years resulting in a net loss of ~20%. And boy these people must really love Clinton! The Dow went up over 200% on his watch. But if you want to judge a President by the Dow, knock yourself out. We'll see where we are at the end of Obama's term.

If you ask me, they're both pretty stupid ways to judge a President . . . I don't like Bush at all, but never thought the Iraq body count measured how bad a President he was. Hell, if Lincoln, FDR, LBJ, and Nixon could have got away with body counts like W's . . .

WhiteCollar Redneck said...

I should stress, I don't think the Dow is a good measure of how well Obama is doing - I hope that was clear in my post. I'm just saying it's interesting how everyone wants to quantify such a tough-to-measure thing as presidential performance.

I also didn't think the Iraq body count made much sense as a performance yardstick, since we could succeed in Iraq with a high body count, or fail with a low one - it just happened to be something that was updated daily, so people latched on to it. Just like some people are doing with the Dow.

If I were to rewrite this post, I'd just say that it's interesting how there seems to be a desire for high-frequency numerical presidential performance benchmarks that crosses the political spectrum, and it's such a strong desire that it overlooks the fact that there really aren't any appropriate ones.

Phutatorius said...

WCRN: No need to rewrite the blog post. There are two points: (1) people on Wall Street are really angry, and (2) they want to be able to point to a number to make their case. You made 'em just fine.

Are they really that angry on Wall Street?

ONTRI said...

The stock market shouldn't be a measuring stick for anything, certainly not a President.

I'll be happy if the Big O gives us that web site where we can track every dollar spent by the government. Maybe they will twitter it "Your Govermnent just spent 20 billion to build a very high fence between Texas and Mexico" and then have a thumbs up / thumbs down next to each entry so you can vote. At the end of the 4 years we add all the thumbs ups, subtract the thumbs downs - the body count from any wars waged and that is your presidential score.

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