Amazing insights from The Economist

October 21, 2006

Thanks to Atrios and the alert uniformed attendants at Crooked Timber, I see The Economist has taken most of its content out from behind the firewall.

There was a time when I read The Economist regularly, and even paid the premium for a subscription. Then I began to realize that aside from the heftier supply of international news and the absence of the really excruciating fluff pieces Time and Newsweek like to churn out, the Economist differed from its competitors mainly in the fact that it added a letter “u” to certain words. There was also the creeping sense that spores from Fox News had drifted into the Economist’s office ventilation system, leading to elevated methane levels and lowered intellectual content in the magazine’s reportage on American politics. The attraction of The Economist used to be the sense that it was giving you a view of America from the far side of the ocean. Nowadays, it gives you the sense of having been written from somewhere beneath the ocean, maybe in a suburb of Atlantis.

For example, check out this piece on the dashed presidential aspirations of two sons of Old Virginny: Mark Warner on the Democratic side and George Allen on the GOP side.

Allen, we are told, may have been “afflicted by the curse of early popularity.” Well, yeah, maybe. On the other hand, he may have been afflicted by his own actions, which as soon as the spotlight hit him showed the world that George Allen is an ignorant buffoon, a neo-Confederate creep and a howling racist who compares dark-skinned people to monkeys and then tells easily exposed lies to smooth things over.

The magazine’s lame rundown on Allen can be written off as simple laziness; the summation on Warner, on the other hand, raises deeper questions about where they get their information:

Mr Warner, who served as an extremely popular and successful governor of Virginia until January, insisted there was nothing scandalous involved. Still, his announcement aroused suspicion. Some suggested the salacious. Others wondered if the decision had to do with his vast business interests. But whatever the reason, his retreat has created a vacuum. He had positioned himself as the centrist alternative to Hillary Clinton, the early front-runner for the Democratic nomination and the darling of the party’s liberal activists. Southerners, Westerners and moderates are now shopping for a new candidate, perhaps Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico or Governor Tom Vilsack of Iowa, Senator Evan Bayh of Indiana or former Senator John Edwards of North Carolina, the vice-presidential nominee in 2004.

It will certainly come as news to Daily Kos and other centers of liberal activism that Hillary Clinton is their darling. Most of the lefties I know are exasperated and angered by her suport for the Iraq invasion and her ceaseless tacking toward the dead middle; she is a far-left candidate only in the alternate universe that is home to WingNutDaily and the grifters at NewsMax, where Hillary is second only to Ted Kennedy in the winger demonology. And as attractive as John Edwards is as a presidential candidate, he is also running on the kind of unabashed economic populism that will have The Economist and mainstream pundits tut-tutting about “class warfare,” should he win the presidential nomination.

Oh well . . . thanks for the memories, Economist. I knew there was a reason I wouldn’t touch you with a leper’s claw, and now I remember it.

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2 Responses to “Amazing insights from The Economist”

  1. Rix Says:

    I think certain possible candidates, like Warner, make their trips to Iowa & New Hampshire, look at their numbers – $$ & name recognition, & conclude they have neither the will nor the stomach to do what they must do next year, which includes subjecting their personal lives to close scrutiny. Warner’s initial competition was Edwards – the upbeat Southern moderate, not Hillary, the New Yawk Clinton. As for George Allen, all of his weaknesses were finally exposed, he’s just a cracker. The Repugs already got plenty of them.

  2. Ron Fischer Says:

    The Economist surely represents a conservative viewpoint. Outside of politics, in the realm of oh for example maybe Economics, it still contains insights worth reading.


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