THE BLOG
07/30/2010 02:28 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Obama, Grumpy Old Men and Detroit

"Obama is the maid after Led Zeppelin's been in the room" -- comic Bill Maher

This is the best description of the mess that the President inherited from the cowboy capitalists who let the banking system run amok and opted for the Iraq war instead of health care. It is the moral compass to many Americans. Witness that Obama's approval rating of 47%, mid-term, is equivalent to Reagan's and other popular presidents at this point in the presidency. Gallup's running poll breaks down support demographically, and Obama's highest percentages remain female and under 30 then drop with age. Old guys like him least.

This is America's Grumpy Old Man cohort that listens to Rush Limbaugh; likes to get Social Security, but not to pay taxes for it; likes Medicare but doesn't want anybody else to get government health care, and that liked John McCain and his sidekick Sarah.

The U.S. Congress, on the other hand, is in for a major purge. This week, Zogby Interactive found only 20% of voters approve of the job Congress is doing. And of this, 25% approve of Republican job performance and 37% approve of the Democrats. Zogby said the difference is that Republicans don't approve of their party's performance.

With a margin of error of plus or minus 2.2% -- or even 20% -- this means a bloodbath in the House of Representatives where everybody's seat is up for grabs and one third of the Senate's.
But that's weeks away so the noise will abate. Besides, the well's been capped, the BP CEO sent to Siberia and so TV ratings will track mindless distractions like Chelsea's wedding and Mel Gibson's anger.

For business, the new convergence with politics will mean that the car company turnarounds will be front and center this fall. Obama has already begun the first of many tours of the automobile heartland -- factories in Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and Illinois -- to trumpet the fact that the 2009 rescue of the Big Three has gotten them back on the road. Some 55,000 jobs have returned in that sector along with profits. This is also good news for Ontario's auto heartland.

My guess is that the timing of General Motors' new share issue in markets will be before the November vote and that pricing of the issue will be favorably tilted toward investors and headlines alike.

There will also be more headlines, and selective buying opportunities, in the months ahead as the Republican press inaccurately compares the United States debt situation with that of moribund Japan's where it is 2.5 times bigger.

And in European, markets riots in Greece and Spain will no longer be the barometer of impending doom, but of positive resolution as budget constraints bite workers who have been paid forever to do very little.