Stocks mostly climbed on Wednesday, with the Dow notching a record close, as investors bought into optimism that the Federal Reserve would continue its stimulus longer than thought, ahead of reports this week on the economy and the labor market. [...] The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 128 points at 15,746.88, easily beating its record of 15,680.35, set last Tuesday.
Sean Vitka took a closer look at why the Dow reached a record high -- there really isn't a good reason, aside from expectations that the Fed will extend quantitative easing in light of the recent government shutdown -- but from time to time, I'm also reminded of the politics of this.
As we talked about earlier in the year, if President Obama is trying to impose socialism on the U.S. economy, he really isn't trying very hard.
The real fun begins when we reminisce about what Obama's Republican critics were saying in early 2009. Indeed, the Wall Street Journal ran an entire editorial in early March 2009 arguing that the weak stock market was a direct result of investors evaluating "Mr. Obama's agenda and his approach to governance."
Karl Rove and Lou Dobbs made the same case. So did Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Fred Barnes. For a short while, it was one of Mitt Romney's favorite talking points, too. Even John Boehner got in on the larger attack.
Just so we're clear, I still don't think a strong stock market is necessarily proof of a robust economy. There are far more reliable indicators -- job growth and median wages, for example -- that tell us far more about the relative strengh of the economy than where major Wall Street indexes close on a given day.
But when it comes to the politics, consistency matters. Conservatives can't say a falling stock market in early 2009 is proof that Obama's agenda is a dangerous failure, and then ignore a rising stock market as irrelevant.