business news in context, analysis with attitude

Interesting piece in BusinessWeek Online about which of the two Presidential candidates – President George W. Bush or his Democratic challenger, Sen. John Kerry – would be better for consumers.

While neither candidate has spent much time discussing consumer issues, the magazine reports “neither would dispute that they define consumers in two different ways. Republican Bush takes more of an economic view, emphasizing cost-benefit analysis for regulations and freer trade to give consumers more products and choices. And Democrat Kerry's 20-year Senate career shows much more concern for the issues that consumer advocates prize, including a patients ‘bill of rights’ to rein in health-care insurers and providers and strong opposition for limits on product-liability and medical malpractice lawsuits.”

In many ways, according to BusinessWeek, it depends on how you define “consumerist” – because there often is a gap between interests as expressed by consumer advocacy groups and interests described by actual consumers. The key issues are consumer protection, trade, and legal reform – each of which are seen differently by Bush and Kerry.
KC's View:
We think that differentiating between what consumer groups what and what actual consumers seem to want is a dangerous game. Not that this isn’t a legitimate distinction to draw…but it is tough to win the perception game in the court of public opinion this way.

Still, it is an interesting construct.