What can only be described as a coincidence, the two times that I’ve visited New York and DC on business, we’ve witnessed such epic events that if I were less wiser, I would believe that I may have caused them. Thankfully, we know that there are far greater forces at play.
The first time, last year, as we stepped onto the hallowed turf of Wall St, we saw for ourselves the wide reaching impact of sub – prime lending.
This time, as we visited leading fund managers and financial analysts on Wall St, we saw for ourselves the full scale assault on the global financial markets. Despite the loss of a large number of jobs at Lehman Brothers, we were delighted that key figures like Mayor Bloomberg made time to meet with us. It was fair to assume that he’d be busy trying to deal with the crisis that could have such a massive impact on New York.
We, then, moved onto DC, where we met with key figures on Capitol Hill. We met with Senator Shelby, who is the ranking Republican on the influential Senate Banking Committee, who hinted as to the line of questioning he would be putting to Hank Paulson.
All in all, after all the analyst briefings we’d attended, after all the politicians we met, after all the hype we read in the leading newspapers in the US, we kept on getting drawn to the presidential race between Senators Obama and McCain.
I was hoping to gain an understanding on whether Wall St had a preference. Well, it turned out that the majority of people we met said that they’d like Obama to succeed BUT couldn’t actually see him winning. Most of the people, drew our attention to middle America (…one CEO referred to them as “white trash”!), who’ll find it difficult to get over the race issue.
My experience on vacation to the US MidWest earlier this summer confirms this view. In my opinion, if Obama wants to win, he needs to do the following:
1. Communicate that he understands the gravity of the financial crisis that we are currently experiencing and then let the current administration get on with what they’re doing. Political interference by either candidate will not be taken well.
2. Make sure the American people understand that McCain belongs to the same ideological family as Dubya. Connecting McCain with the current President will serve him and his campaign for change well.
With about 40 days to go, he could do it. He landed some big blows in the first televised debate last night. Let’s hope that he holds his lead.