Saturday, December 02, 2006


With a little fairy dust and some psychokinetic skills, I could kick John Micklethwait in the nuts over the Internet

Connoisseurs of inane and unsupportable contrarianism must read this John Micklethwait offering on the Bush presidency in 2007.

First off, if you want to engage in "maybe the president will do something postive someday" contrarianism, you must mention immigration reform. It's the only area in which President Bush might be considered to have consistent principles over his career in public service (with the possible exception of decreasing government revenue regardless of context or expenditures). And those principles on immigration-- more realist than punitive-- are closer to those of most Democrats than Republicans.

Unwilling to attempt to square the facts of the previous six years with his unwarranted notion that Republicans favor what used to be called "fiscal conservatism," Micklethwait writes that Bush can now courageously stand up to overspending now that "the Democrats [are] likely to lavish ever more on boondoggles." This assertion, of course, has zero to do with anything that Bush has ever done. The Republican Congress had zero restraint, to be sure, but the biggest budget busters have been Bush initiatives, like the precription drug benefit and that inconclusive experience in Iraq.

The end of the article is jaw-droppingly non-reality-based. Micklethwait lists a bunch of seemingly intractible problems that Bush has shown little or no inclination to address in any meaningful fashion (the Doha trade round, the Israeli-Palestinian dispute, the environment), asserting that he could preserve a legacy by solving them. "With panache and a little cunning," Micklethwait writes, "Mr Bush could start to fashion a replacement for Kyoto." Technically a true statement, like the title of this post. But does anyone think that's a likely event?

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