The first of the national conventions is still a week away and the candidates have yet to be formally chosen — or anointed, since that more accurately describes the duty of party conventions these days. The formal campaign "kickoffs" lie ahead, followed by speeches, debates, and millions of dollars worth of advertising to be endured by the American public before the polls open on November 6. But Newsweek magazine is wasting no time in making a choice, which is essentially a repudiation of the Obama administration. "Hit the Road, Barack" is the headline on the cover of the latest issue, with the verdict superimposed over the image of a half-smiling Obama, his jacket draped casually over his shoulder, walking away from ... a second term, the cover seems to be suggesting.
The 3,280-word brief against the Obama administration ("Obama's Gotta Go") was written by a British historian, no less, who teaches at Harvard. Niall Ferguson admits early on in the article — "full disclosure," he calls it — that he was an advisor to Senator John McCain when McCain ran against Obama four years ago. Yet he confesses to having admired Obama's "soaring oratory, his cool, hard-to-ruffle temperament and his near faultless campaign organization."
But not his record as president four years later. Ferguson judges the Obama performance against that "soaring oratory" he admired four years ago. In his Inaugural Address, the new President repeated his promise to be a transformational president, under whose leadership we would "wield technology's wonders to raise health care's quality and lower its cost," while we "transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age." Ferguson's critique is in part a Republican boilerplate recitation of the woeful state of the economy under Obama's stewardship and in part a string of hosannas to Paul Ryan, "one of only a handful of politicians in Washington is truly sincere about addressing this country's fiscal crisis." Mitt Romney is hardly mentioned.
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Photo: Newsweek Cover