Newsweek magazine has made headlines many times in recent months, mostly for its controversial cover stories. This week, Newsweek has made controversy again – this time for publishing a strong piece by Niall Fergusson in which he details the many reasons why President Barack Obama has failed as the nation’s chief executive and why it is time for the nation to replace him in the White House.
Newsweek magazine is no stranger to controversy. Following President Obama expressing his support for gay marriage, Newsweek made headlines by publishing a piece by columnist Andrew Sullivan in which he called Obama our “first gay president.” That cover piece was accompanied by an image of Obama adorned with a rainbow-colored halo. Last month, Newsweek asked if Mitt Romney was a “wimp,” which elicited a response from Romney himself.
This week, in a political about face, Newsweek’s cover story asks if Obama is deserving of a second term. Fergusson determines that the President has failed and that Romney should be the next president.
Fergusson calls himself a “good loser” for accepting the conventional wisdom in 2008 that Obama would be a transformative president. He concedes that Obama has been transformative, but the transformation has not been for the best.
Fergusson details the promises made by Obama at the start of his term as to where the economic recovery would be at this stage – He says that Obama should be held responsible for those unmet promises. He goes on to note that the debt-to-GDP ratio that Obama has presided over has become an existential threat to the economic health of the nation.
He goes on to attack the President for his hands-off style of leadership and quotes a number of senior White House advisors who have privately lamented how little supervision there is in the Obama administration. Fergusson says the first two years of Obama’s presidency were “parliamentary” in style and resulted in a Democrat-dominated Congress authoring and passing most of the nation’s unpopular laws in 2009 – 2010; including the stimulus and the Affordable Care Act.
Fergusson says Obama has advanced the “imperial presidency” that George W. Bush pioneered. He says that Obama’s stewardship of the nation’s superpower status has been negligent. While the administration has prosecuted the war on terrorism ruthlessly, Fergusson says the public mistakes this counter-terrorism tactic for a coherent strategy. Meanwhile, his administration has ignored the rapid destabilization occurring in the Middle East since the dawn of the Arab Spring. Fergusson claims Obama and his advisors placed too much faith in the power of the President’s outreach to Muslim nations and peoples as a means of establishing peaceful relations.
Fergusson concludes by saying that Obama faces a real threat in the substantive and compelling Republican presidential ticket. He says that Paul Ryan’s addition to the ticket makes Romney a more formidable contender for the Presidency as he presents a competing vision for the future of the nation, whereas Obama has failed to make the case for a second term.
Ryan psychs Obama out. This has been apparent ever since the White House went on the offensive against Ryan in the spring of last year. And the reason he psychs him out is that, unlike Obama, Ryan has a plan—as opposed to a narrative—for this country.
“The voters now face a stark choice,” writes Fergusson. “They can let Barack Obama’s rambling, solipsistic narrative continue until they find themselves living in some American version of Europe, with low growth, high unemployment, even higher debt—and real geopolitical decline.”
He says that Romney/Ryan represents “real change” and he, like so many conservatives following Ryan’s selection to join the GOP ticket, wants “badly to win.”
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