The fact that world news from other countries tends to be better than what we get over here may sometimes lead one to expect that when a foreign publication comments on America, that they'd understand us better than we do them.
The Economist has seen fit to remind me that I ought to jettison that expectation just as soon as I can manage.
You can tell right away that the author(s)' concepts of political science are stuck in the UK. Despite clearly stating that the crisis is entirely a political one, they continue on to state that the House GOP was acting reasonably within its electoral mandate from 2010 in being the first American majority caucus in history to refuse to raise the debt ceiling.
What, pray tell, is this mandate? According to The Economist, it's "to hold the government of Barack Obama to account."
Yeah, we get it. They have Parliament where you live and you don't know how a proper democracy works. Here's a hint-- politicians are supposed to be elected to do the will of the People, not to play Thunderdome with other politicians. We don't have a paradigm where there's a coalition whose job is, officially, to oppose the majority. It has to do with the fact that our system of representative government was designed on purpose, not retro-fitted to a constitutional monarchy. And while we've made plenty of our own mistakes, a lot of what we got right are things that we recognized were horribly wrong with the British system, one of which being the fractious nature of the British Parliament.
Nowadays, the phrase "Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition" gets floated as a justification for the GOP's chauvinistic obstructionism by American pundits who are too piss-scared of being seen as a part of the Liberal Media to speak honestly about the Republican Party. It's bullshit. That's not how the system was built to work; there are far too many mechanisms built in that grind everything to a halt. Operating our government like it's a Parliamentary system has been nothing short of disastrous for the American People, and the Economist's failure to grasp that basic fact ought to disqualify any commentary it offers on American politics.
When we send politicians to Washington, it's to do the job that the prior incumbents aren't doing well enough. And in 2010, that was create jobs. Which the polls confirm. The electorate is concerned overwhelmingly with jobs and the economy.
You'll notice that "just fuck with Obama a lot" isn't on that list.
The Economist is claiming, essentially, that a populace whose top 6 priories were (in descending order) The Economy, Jobs, Terrorism, Social Security, Education, Medicare, issued a mandate to Republicans to betray five of them in the service of their sixth priority, deficit reduction, while leaving tax cuts--which only 42% rated as a top priority-- alone
It's pretty easy math, The Economist. Isn't math supposed to be a feature of your discipline?
The math gets easier when you consider that those medicare cuts were originally part of a budget plan that also slashed taxes, and only would have significantly reduced the deficit if you assume quite a lot of nonsense. The Ryan plan was quite clearly not about the budget. In order to support the thesis that government is bad, evidence to the contrary must disposed of. It's only natural to target the nation's most popular government program.
The thing is, all of this has been available to anyone with a cheapass computer and the ability to find a WiFi hotspot somewhere. Does part of getting an Economics degree necessitate having the part of your brain capable of parsing this shit get cut out? Did Paul Krugman just not show up that day?
Was it a burning need to break out the "pox on both your houses" that persuaded the Economist to chide Obama for not finding a way out of the deficit crisis in the same breath that it had proclaimed said crisis to be a politically manufactured one?
I didn't even have to get into the utter lack of precedent for the debt ceiling vote being tied to ten-year budget outlooks to demonstrate just how clueless these wankers are.
And yeah, plenty of American outlets have been this fucking idiotic or worse in their coverage of the debt ceiling talks too, and none of them have resulted in me taking to the blogs.. But if the Economist is going to look down over the rims of its glasses at America without actually understanding what's going on, they've opened themselves up to ridicule.