About the election, I mean. For the last couple of weeks I have thought of setting up as an election grief counselor, as I have been assailed on all sides by people wanted me to assure them that Obama was still on course to be elected. I stayed calm, wasn’t distracted by the noise, and remained firm in my conviction that we will be inaugurating Barack Obama on January 20, 2009. I don’t think I was just offering easy nostrums — my analysis of the likely result is increasingly being justified by the post-bounce polls.
But now, in addition to my addiction to election news, I am being consumed by torrents of information about the financial crisis. I was a business magazine editor during 1987’s Black Monday, and then again during the East Asian financial crisis of 1997, and then again when Long-Term Capital Management went belly up. None of these events, to my mind, compared in severity to what we’re experiencing now, and — more troubling — none of them were so difficult to figure out.
As Obama said in Elko, Nevada yesterday, there isn’t great difficulty in figuring out how we got here. No need for a commission, which is a proposal I’m sure even John McCain now regrets. What’s difficult is figuring out what happens next. It’s one of the cliches of blogging to quote William Goldman on Hollywood, “Nobody knows anything.” In this case it’s true. Should I believe doomster Noriel Roubini that it’s the worst crisis since the Great Depression? Or the more cautious pessimism of Martin Wolf? It’s too soon to tell.
What I have decided, however, is to offer a regular distraction for Davos Newbies readers. We all need a break from politics and market ructions. I’ve long been an addict of cryptic crossword puzzles, particularly those published in The Guardian and The Observer. I’ve been disappointed that even word maven friends in the US don’t see the clear superiority of these puzzles over feeble efforts like The New York Times crosswords (not helped, to my mind, by the bumptious Will Shortz). So, starting tomorrow, I’m going to write a series on cryptic crosswords for Americans. Stay tuned.