An observation - the discussions are remarkably isolated from one another.
There's a small but substantial community of traders on Twitter (you can find a chunk of them at Soren Macbeth's StockTwits) that are really focused on the market, and not surprisingly, they're looking for opportunities to make money (or stem their losses). A big topic of discussion: the recently-imposed rules that curb short-selling. They're highlighting individual stocks and looking for value. Of course, talk about filing for cloture on the motion to proceed in the Senate or the debate of an open or closed rule in the House, and you can hear crickets chirp in this community.
There's obviously a huge pool of political bloggers, doing what they do best - blaming the other party for what's wrong. Hugh Hewitt is ranting about "Pelosivilles" and "Destructocrats" and how the Democratic Party is almost singlehandedly responsible for the next Great Depression. Todd Beeton at MyDD blames the vote on "John McCain's Impotence in Washington." But these political bloggers don't have the chops to know the ins and outs of Wall Street. I've also had some friendly political banter with two of my favorite GOP tweeters, Chip Griffin and Jim Durbin.
So who makes up the very small handful of online opinion leaders who can drive discussions on financial policy? Regardless of ideology, I'm looking at the following.
- Paul Kedrosky has had a really impressive run of it lately, providing analysis and a bit of commentary while not going over the top.
- Brad DeLong is talking a lot more about politics than finance lately, but he clearly knows his stuff in both areas.
- Greg Mankiw is a smart deregulator who knows politics - his arguments are clearly market-focused and his background in the Bush White House serves him well.
- Larry Kudlow is a passionate conservative and obviously has been following this closely, both on CNBC and his blog.
- Mark Thoma takes a more liberal perspective, but he's every bit as smart and has done an impressive job talking about political proposals.