Monday, September 29, 2008

Dave Ramsey for President

Dave Ramsey for President.

Just one more year and then you’d be happy
But you’re crying, you’re crying now.

-Gerry Rafferty

As the financial crisis has played out, the leadership styles of President Bush and Secretary of the Treasury Hank Paulson have contributed to the problem.

Great presidents reassure the country in times of crisis. Look at Teddy Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt Abraham Lincoln, and George Washington.

I've never seen a great president scold or scare the American people into going along with a program.

Both Paulson and Bush showed neither confidence, nor optimism. They seemed nervous and distracted. They didn’t appear to have a handle on the situation.

President Bush was unable to get his fellow Republican in Congress to go along with the program that he proposed.

The President claimed dire consequences if the Wall Street bailout failed, but his party voted against him anyway.

Paulson's friends on Wall Street didn't like the rebuke. They struck back. The Dow Jones average dropped 777 points and one day. It was the 17th largest percentage drop in history.

Bush and Paulson don’t have a great track record. We are still looking for Bush’s “weapons of mass destruction” and Paulson has mistakes that has turned a recession into a possible depression.

I’ve been hoping that a presidential candidate would take charge and lead us.

Barack Obama has been very cool and calm. Maybe a little too cool. He has not offered specific and concrete ideas. He often talks in techno jargon and legalese.

Obama may not be ideal but he belongs on Mount Rushmore compared to the antics of John McCain.

McCain first declared that the economic fundamentals of the nation were strong. Then he changed his mind, and decided he was going to suspend his campaign, cancel the first presidential debate, and come back to Washington to assist the bailout.

He interjected himself into the negotiations. He decided on Friday that things look good and went back to campaigning. They weren’t but he left anyway. He tried to take credit for getting fellow Republicans to back the President.

Thus, he has egg on his face when the Republicans torpedoed the President’ bill.

I was running out of hope for an American showing true leadership, when I happened to flip on the Fox Business Network to catch the Dave Ramsey Show.

Personal finance is Dave’s thing. One look at him and you saw a guy who knew what he was doing. He was calm and in charge. He didn’t act nervous like Paulson and Bush.

Ramsey framed the issues in a way that Americans could understand.

He told people to ignore the “sky is falling” histrionics that some news channels were touting.

Ramsey looked at the bailout from the perspective someone on Main Street. Just like Ramsey’s opposition to Bush’s ill fated ‘tax rebate” giveaway, Dave reminded us that a $700 billion bailout would destroy the futures of our children.

Ramsey said the world wasn’t ending and he wasn’t cashing in his 401k or taking his money out of the bank.

Like many Americans, he didn’t see the need for the bailout. He noted that 90% of his radio listeners and 74% of the people who participated in his online poll were against it.

Dave said that we needed to ignore the horror stories being pushed by the Wall Street gang, that people wouldn’t be able to ‘buy their dishwashers.” He said he talked to car dealers making loans and realtors selling homes.

He said the tightening of credit meant that “broke people couldn’t get a loan” and that wasn’t all bad.

He was calm and optimistic. Like good leaders are in times of crisis.

He was more like Winston Churchill than Chicken Little.

Ramsey spent an hour taking questions from average citizens. Like President Bush should have.

If President Bush had Dave Ramsey’s communications skills, he might have explained the bailout in a way that the average American could grasp. He might have passed his package.

On the other hand, Dave Ramsey doesn’t believe in debt. Of any kind. If Dave had been president for the past 8 years, we wouldn’t need a bailout to begin with.

Vote for Dave.

Don McNay is Chairman of the Board for McNay Settlement Group in Richmond Kentucky. You can read his award winning, syndicated column at or write to him at McNay is the Treasurer for the National Society of Newspaper Columnists.

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