Tuesday, August 22, 2006

No Doomsday Yet

Although there are still a few more hours left in the day, the Islamic doomsday scenario scheduled for today, August 22, appears not to be in place. Maybe the airplane bombing terrorist threat foiled by our British cousins at MI5 and Scotland Yard was aimed at the doomsday scenario. We will always be thankful for the Brits.

But the big Internet story in recent days was the potential significance of August 22nd as a possible target date for a massive terrorist attack commemorating the return of the 12th Imam; a supposed day of reckoning for Shiites who believe that August 22nd corresponds to the end of the world.

Stock market investors were wearily eyeing the top of yesterday’s Drudge Report which featured this story. But veteran portfolio manager Mike Holland told us on Kudlow and Company last night that he didn’t believe a word of it. Blessedly, Mr. Holland looks to have gotten it right.

Stocks have been rising in recent weeks on the strength of a stronger than expected American economy, where resilient consumers and highly profitable businesses are outperforming the doom & gloom, cacophonous, cult of the bear on Wall Street.

Within shouting distance of 5-year highs, the bull market economy and stocks, backed by President Bush’s successful low tax rate program, continues to outperform the bearish consensus. It is the greatest story never told. It continues to dodge doomsday.

And then we have President Bush, under fire from both the left and the right, who very clearly communicated a strong positive vision for the upcoming congressional elections during yesterday’s news conference. Bush is attempting to take command of the election year Republican strategy to avoid a doomsday scenario this November.

He said, “Look, issues are won based on whether or not you can keep this economy strong—elections are won based on economic issues and national security issues…I'd be telling people that the Democrats will raise your taxes…I’d be running on the economy and I’d be running on national security. But since I’m not running, I can only serve as an advisor to those who are.”

The latest Gallup Poll shows Bush’s approval now at 42 percent, up from 31 percent in May. But here’s the real anti-doomsday shocker: among registered voters, the Republicans have closed a 12-point deficit on the generic congressional ballot in early last June to only 2 percentage points now, with the Dems at 47 percent and the Republicans at 45.

It may well be that the “Armageddon Imams” are actually helping the down on their luck GOP.

With terrorism on the front page, Democrats are losing ground rapidly, almost as much ground lost as the Boston Red Sox, who just got slammed for five straight games by the New York Yankees. Now that’s doomsday.

As for the rest of this story, I say keep the faith. Faith is the spirit.