Thursday, October 28, 2004

A Sobering Recommendation

The Economist has made its recommendation, and it recommends Alka-Seltzer.

That's a joke, but not much of one. I enjoy The Economist because its conservative viewpoint is measured and considered, as opposed to the cultural upheaval and jingoism in America. That is to say, its very existence is a stinging rebuke to Fox News. I may not always agree with The Economist's conclusions, but I always respect its reporting.

That balance can be seen in their recommendation for President. Seldom have two candidates' flaws been more coldly dissected -- it's a calm but brutal balance that almost seems sacrilegious in the America I live in. And they conclude that of the two deeply flawed men running for the presidency, Americans should choose Kerry:

Many readers, feeling that Mr Bush has the right vision in foreign policy even if he has made many mistakes, will conclude that the safest option is to leave him in office to finish the job he has started. If Mr Bush is re-elected, and uses a new team and a new approach to achieve that goal, and shakes off his fealty to an extreme minority, the religious right, then The Economist will wish him well. But our confidence in him has been shattered. We agree that his broad vision is the right one but we doubt whether Mr Bush is able to change or has sufficient credibility to succeed, especially in the Islamic world. Iraq's fledgling democracy, if it gets the chance to be born at all, will need support from its neighbours—or at least non-interference—if it is to survive. So will other efforts in the Middle East, particularly concerning Israel and Iran.

John Kerry says the war was a mistake, which is unfortunate if he is to be commander-in-chief of the soldiers charged with fighting it. But his plan for the next phase in Iraq is identical to Mr Bush's, which speaks well of his judgment. He has been forthright about the need to win in Iraq, rather than simply to get out, and will stand a chance of making a fresh start in the Israel-Palestine conflict and (though with even greater difficulty) with Iran. After three necessarily tumultuous and transformative years, this is a time for consolidation, for discipline and for repairing America's moral and practical authority. Furthermore, as Mr Bush has often said, there is a need in life for accountability. He has refused to impose it himself, and so voters should, in our view, impose it on him, given a viable alternative. John Kerry, for all the doubts about him, would be in a better position to carry on with America's great tasks.

Damn straight.

 2:34 PM

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