Normally, Richard Russell limits his prognostications to the financial markets. He has done so for more than fifty years.
As editor of the Dow Theory Letters Russell sends out a newsletter every three weeks and offers a daily commentary on the markets to his subscribers.
For those who do not subscribe the Dow Theory is currently on a sell signal. Russell is recommending that people be out of stocks and into cash and gold.
If it did not require a subscription, the daily comments section would be a blog.
Yesterday, while trying to figure out the Obama psyche, Russell offered a few comments about the next presidential debate. Four years ago, as I recall, he liked Obama, though he has never been a partisan.
His comments were concise, to the point, and original. I am happy to share it with you:
Obama must feel under extreme pressure to "act like a man and a strong leader" during debate number two, and my sense is that this is outside Obama's normal character. Therefore, I expect Obama to step outside his true character, and perhaps act like a fool in his effort to be something that he really is not.
My secret suspicion is that Obama was embarrassed and even insulted that he, the sitting US President, should have to submit to a debate with another man for the Presidential office. Obama probably thinks the debates are beneath the dignity of a sitting US President, and therefore, considering his stature and position, the debates are, in Obama's thinking, insulting and never should have been allowed to happen. Thus, Obama probably thought Romney should have been intimidated at the mere thought of debating with the President of the United States. Obviously, Obama was very wrong about Romney.
Russell was saying, first, that Romney looked more manly than Obama.
In a world where manliness has been under constant attack, that in itself would have been refreshing. Surely, Romney is a man's man. America seems to have been shocked to discover that real men are not yet extinct.
Russell then explained that Obama cannot act like a man or a strong leader because that isn’t who he is.
Obama will try to correct this flaw in the second debate, but, Russell said, to do so he will have to step out of character. And this might make him look like a fool.
Pretending to be something you are not, especially when standing next to the real thing, will make you look like a fool.
Next, Russell suggested that Obama performed poorly because he was suffering from an undiagnosed case of hubris.
Thinking that he should not have to suffer the indignity of debating, he prepared inadequately and performed poorly.
His performance expressed his contempt for the process.
Finally, Obama imagined that Mitt Romney would have been intimidated by the notion of debating a sitting president.
I suspect that Obama had gained this impression by having lived his life surrounded and protected by an army of sycophants.
In that sense Obama was right to say that the man he encountered in Denver was not the man he expected. Mitt Romney represented something that was foreign to Obama’s experience, and thus, Obama was thrown off his game.
Kudos to Richard Russell for an excellent piece of psychological analysis.