This is the headline of The Economist magazine this week. The Economist, for its part, is going with the incoherent. The logic is simple, but the argument is incomplete. According to the Economist, a liberal-in-the-European-sense magazine published in London, President Bush understands the need for freedom in the Middle East, and acted decisively to respond to the true culprits of 9/11 with a minimum number of mistakes there. However, the editors of the Economist believe that while it was correct to invade Iraq based on shoddy evidence of WsMD, the subsequent occupation has been a disaster. They believe that the American people should give Bush the accountability that he claims to require for everyone, but seems not to require of himself, and vote for Kerry.
OK, I pretty much agree with that. There are several interesting observations, however. To me, it is amazing that the Economist, a magazine so dedicated to free markets, capitalism, and libertarian ideals, after having endorsed George W. Bush (whose record included six unimpressive years in Austin, a stint as manager of a baseball team, and several failed oil companies) over a sitting Vice President with a record of economic growth but a woody personality, after rallying behind Bush in Iraq, after moaning about the wretched “indecisiveness” of Kerry, has still chosen to change horses mid-stream.
It is also amazing that throughout the Economist’s justification for its decision, it mentions not once the fiscal policies of this administration. After demand stimulus tax cuts to the wrong segment of society; a record of pork, log-rolling, and horse-trading that even embarrasses the Heritage Foundation; an incoherent trade policy that vacillates between protectionism and liberalism; and three years of “disappointing” job/growth numbers, you think that the Economist would live up to its name as “The Economist” and actually talk about economics.
How many months of worse-than-expected economic statistics do you want before you say, dammit George, please revise your expectations down and tell the truth? Just shows you, fool me once, um, …