Nov 10 2008

State of the Wave, Politics Focus — Sunday 11/9/08

In a historic election, American voters have chosen Barack Obama as their President-Elect. So it’s of interest now to evaluate how our long wave forecast model held up and what this selection means for the human future in space, and especially the onset of the 2015 Maslow Window.

As stated previously, this weblog’s major interest was not to express personal preferences for any candidate, but to reasonably project the direction of the U.S. and global space programs and related activities.

Will President Obama lead the U.S. and the world into the next race to space, and open up the planetary worlds to all humankind? Click marsfuture.jpg. has shown that ebullient Great Explorations and Macro-Engineering Projects are associated with rhythmic, twice-per-century major economic booms, such as in the 1960s. The continuing global financial turmoil motivates our interest in this election, because without the return of the long global boom interrupted in 2007, there will be no Maslow Window and no 1960s-style space spectaculars.

The following points illustrate our forecast model’s robust character.

“There was only one issue — the economy,” according to close McCain advisor Sen. Lindsey Graham (Wall Street Journal, 11/7/08). With the economy as the presidential campaign’s focus, long-term economic influences initially made it reasonable to favor McCain over Obama; see Kennedy and Eisenhower.

However, three “wildcards” intervened:

1) During the Summer Olympics, the Russians attacked Georgia. This seemed to favor McCain given his war hero experiences.
2) The Panic of 2008 occurred and the Republicans took the blame. The Wall Street Journal headline (11/5/08) said it all, “As Economic Crisis Peaked, Tide Turned Against McCain.”
3) McCain was not an effective campaigner. For example, Wildcard 2 forced Sen. McCain to support Bush tax cuts that he’d previously voted against. Plus, McCain couldn’t seem to decide if Sen. Obama had lied about his relationship with Weather Underground bomber Bill Ayers, or was “a decent person…that you do not have to be scared of,” (WSJ, 11/7/08).

As it turned out, Wildcards 2 and 3, trumped 1. But were these truly “wildcards”, or could they have been forecasted?

Although the exact timing of Wildcard 1 was not forecasted, this style of Russian aggression was not unexpected given the return of Cold War-like tensions in Europe — something that was likely in this timeframe based on long wave forecasts. Unfortunately, it can be expected to intensify.

Likewise for Wildcard 2 — although exact timings in market-related events are also difficult — a financial panic was also in the cards, based on the last 200 years of macroeconomic trends. Indeed, two of the last three Maslow Window openings featured major financial panics early in the decade just preceeding them: 1837 and 1893; only 1949 avoided one, see discussion HERE. With the Panic of 2008, the record is now 3 of the last 4 decades just prior to Maslow Windows were so afflicted.

Wildcard 3 was not predictable based on long wave trends, but Sen. McCain’s conflicted campaign style was obvious (New York Times Magazine, 10/26/08)

What of the future? The following points will be influential:

1. The Russians can be expected to continue to misbehave. Putin has already begun trying to intimidate Obama in the style of Biden’s campaign warning (10/19/08): “Mark my words,” the Democratic vice presidential nominee warned at the second of his two Seattle fundraisers Sunday. “It will not be six months before the world tests Barack Obama like they did John Kennedy… Watch, we’re gonna have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy.”

2. The U.S. remains a “center – right” country politically, “and if Obama loses track of that, he’ll be a weak-ass Jimmy Carter in office, especially with all those Clinton-clones hanging around,” according to vehement Obama supporter and Democratic political strategist Thomas Barnett. Also, a revealing Rasmussen survey conducted October 2 found that 59% of all surveyed and 44% of Obama voters agreed with this: “Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem,” (Wall Street Journal, 11/10/08).

3. The long-term trend of the economy is up, based on 200 years of macroeconomic data. This suggests that the current recession will be less like the Great Depression and more like the pre-Maslow Window panics in the 19th Century; both led to spectacular, on-time Maslow Windows.

4. Obama is flexible in his approach to problems and Obama’s key political asset is his Kennedy-like charisma. We’ve indicated before that Obama’s Kennedy-like persona suggests he could be the next Space President, but his long wave timing seemed a little premature. His main problem now is the duration of the current recession. The Los Angeles Times (11/9/08) reports that Obama backs public works projects in the style of Franklin Roosevelt as a way to combat a prolonged downturn.

If Obama can turn the recession around in his first term then he still has a chance to be The One to lead the world into the 2015 Maslow Window. Otherwise, he’ll be forced to leave it to his successor.

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