TIME Person of the Year: Obama, the Economy or the American Consumer?

November 13, 2008

It seemed obvious enough that President-elect Barack Obama will be TIME Person of the Year. But the debate that took place at the TIME Person of the Year Lunch earlier today at the Time & Life building in the Big Apple, seems to cast a little doubt on that. Although the panelist were hard pressed to name a first and second runners up if the choice is not Obama, yet Obama’s name kept resurfacing. Finally someone from the audience asked the panelist to answer the question Richard Stengel, managing editor of TIME, asked them earlier to no avail to name a number two or three for the Person of the Year.
Suze Orman (far right) host of The Suze Orman Show who predicted in 2004 that the Dow will be in the 7,000 to 8,000 range in 2008-09, ventured to mention The American Consumer and the end of consumerism. She predicted the end of consumerism “not because the American Consumers want to end it, but because they have to.” “Consumers,” she added, “can’t get credit today. And if they can’t get credit they can’t buy…and there goes economy.” Elizabeth Edwards, senior fellow at the Center for American Progress predicted that all the future issues have to be framed with the economy in mind. “Whether it is health care, foreign affairs, or any other subject matter facing us, it has to be framed by the economy.”
Other panelists included Rep. Artur Davis (D – AL), Seth Meyers, head writer, Saturday Night Live, John Slattery, Roger Sterling on AMC’s Mad Men and Brian Williams, anchor and managing editor, NBC Nightly News.
So is the economy or is it Obama? Well we will have to wait until Dec. 17 when Rick Stengel will reveal one of the most sought after issue of TIME magazine. To paraphrase Brian Williams answer predicting the name of the person of the year, he said, if you want the Gods to laugh then tell them what is going to happen tomorrow.


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