Election 2012

Newsweek Cover Story is Hilariously Bad

The Newsweek cover story by former McCain adviser Niall Ferguson is hilariously bad. I mean Jonah Goldberg funny.

I won't review the whole thing, but here are some choice passages. He begins with this:

Yet the question confronting the country nearly four years later is not who was the better candidate four years ago. It is whether the winner has delivered on his promises.

Oh, I see. So Niall is a true believer. Does any president deliver on all of his promises? Rarely. That said, according to Politifact the president has kept 190 promises while only breaking 81. A .500 average in baseball is a guaranteed spot in the Hall of Fame. And considering a Republican Congress that filibusters and blocks everything to an unprecedented and historic degree, 190 is damn good.

And if the president kept 100% of his promises, would it really matter to a former McCain staffer? No way.

Then there's this:

In an unguarded moment earlier this year, the president commented that the private sector of the economy was “doing fine.” Certainly, the stock market is well up (by 74 percent) relative to the close on Inauguration Day 2009. But the total number of private-sector jobs is still 4.3 million below the January 2008 peak.

The economy lost 2.6 million jobs in 2008 alone with millions more before the president's stimulus and other policies could mitigate the losses. Even though we're still below the peak, Naill totally fails to mention the severity of the crash and the seriousness of the crisis in 2008-2009.

And this:

Welcome to Obama’s America: nearly half the population is not represented on a taxable return—almost exactly the same proportion that lives in a household where at least one member receives some type of government benefit. We are becoming the 50–50 nation—half of us paying the taxes, the other half receiving the benefits.

So Republicans are in favor of taxes suddenly? I wonder which half are the mega-corporations that pay zero taxes and yet receive huge government subsidies?

Oh and this one:

And all this despite a far bigger hike in the federal debt than we were promised. According to the 2010 budget, the debt in public hands was supposed to fall in relation to GDP from 67 percent in 2010 to less than 66 percent this year. If only. By the end of this year, according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), it will reach 70 percent of GDP. These figures significantly understate the debt problem, however.

As we all know, the drivers of the debt are all Bush policies that Niall's former boss supported and which his former boss would have continued -- as will Mitt Romney. If he's concerned about government spending, he could've been fair and noted that President Obama has presided over the slowest increase in the rate of government spending in decades. He also passed Paygo which forces Congress to pay for every program it comes up with. Meanwhile, Romney's economic plan adds trillions to the debt and balloons the deficit. None of that is mentioned by Niall and Newsweek.

I'm leaving out piles of other stuff, but you get the idea. It's confused and misleading piece intended to stir up a shitstorm.

UPDATE: Krugman wrote an excellent piece about this here.

  • D_C_Wilson

    I haven’t read Newsweek in years. Glad to see I haven’t missed anything.

  • mrbrink

    Good god, man. If they’re doing a cover story about why Obama doesn’t deserve reelection, are they going to do a collectible series with commemorative Burger King glasses explaining why Romney REALLY should not be elected? Anywhere? Ever?

  • muselet

    A decade or so ago, the LA Dog Trainer ran Niall Ferguson’s syndicated column. He was an old-fashioned imperialist (I don’t remember for certain, but I could swear he used, without irony, the expression “white man’s burden” at least once), a proudly ignorant cheerleader for war, and casually dismissive of the concerns of any nation but the UK (as envisoned by the Tories) and the US (as envisioned by the Rs). In short, he was a clownshoe.

    In a strange way, it’s comforting to know some things never change.


  • http://mdblanche.myopenid.com/ mdblanche

    Noah Smith said all that needs to be said to or about Niall Ferguson: “Niall, the British Empire is over. Accept it. ”


  • ArrogantDemon

    Newsweek better reorganize of just go down in flames as a rag not worth wrapping fish in

  • trgahan

    What is scary are the people who don’t really know who Ferguson is and will take this as an fair handed independent analysis.

    Scarier still a McCain presidency that achieving “100% of its campaign promises.” I’d be reading Ferguson’s demands for a second term in between patrols of occupied portions of Tehran.

  • Ned F

    Does Newsweek plan to run a fair and balanced dubunk cover story next week? Or are they afraid of being accused of being labeled liberal media.

    • JackDaniel07

      They already wrote a milquetoast story about Romney being kinda wimpy…this *was* the balance *sigh*

  • http://www.politicalruminations.com/ nicole

    Krugman on Ferguson piece

    Business Insider on FergusonAnyway, as you read Niall Ferguson, it’s worth noting that he has been wrong on economics ever since Obama took office.

  • gescove

    As if I needed any more reasons not to read Newsweek after they decided that Karl Rove would make a fine regular contributor. What a worthless rag.

  • Bob McIntosh

    I did a double-take when Perfesser Ferguson switched mid-sentence to include the jobs lost in 2008…and blamed Obama.

  • Nefercat

    “But the total number of private-sector jobs is still 4.3 million below the January 2008 peak.”

    I was under the impression that the private sector is indeed doing just fine in the sense that corporations are sitting on record profits, but they are not investing in expansion or hiring, which of course will not help the unemployment rate.

  • JackDaniel07

    I had a right wing friend throw this in my face with smug satisfaction. Then I linked him to Sullivan’s reasoned dissection (mostly by Krugman), to which he replied, “I don’t need the opinion of a reliable liberal from a liberal rag, especially not a British one.”

    But…but…you do realize that….oh nevermind…

    • ArrogantDemon

      So, once the gay conservative begins to support and defend Obama, he’s a liberal?

      Dont let the truth stand in the way of your own reality