Justin du Coeur (jducoeur) wrote,
Justin du Coeur
jducoeur

A couple of Newsweek pointers

For a long time, I was pretty skeptical of Newsweek -- the occasional forays into long Christian specials mostly aren't my speed, and the articles look pretty shallow when set next to the Economist. But we have a household subscription, and I've gradually come to appreciate it, not so much for the articles as for the columnists. In particular, there are two good examples in this past week's issue, both well worth reading, both in the form of "what I'd like to see from Obama".

First up is Fareed Zakaria. While I don't by any means always agree with him, I've warmed to him as one of the more sensibly middle-ground political analysts in the mainstream media. His latest is a fine example: What Obama Should Say on Iraq. It's essentially the speech he wants to hear, and I must admit, I'd love to hear it too. It suggests some compromise between the dogmas of the left and right, recognizing that progress *is* being made, but that that doesn't make open-ended commitments appropriate. Obama has continued to largely duck the matter, focusing his attentions elsewhere, and that shows a certain political shrewdness -- he makes better impact on domestic issues. But Zakaria outlines the kind of policy I'd like to see: moderate, sensible, aimed at moving things along without being dumb.

The other is George Will. Yes, he's a conservative, but by and large he's the kind of conservative I don't mind -- thoughtful, more interested in ideas than party line, dedicated to the principles without (mostly) buying into the fascism. During Bush's heyday he fell into being a bit of an administration apologist and annoyed the hell out of me for about four years, but now he's mostly back to being his usual contrarian self. His column in the same issue, "Nudge Against the Fudge", is a good example, talking about (and lightly advocating) the notion of "libertarian paternalism", the idea that gentle encouragement is often more sensible than mandates. I commend reading the column, which steers between the "that which is good for you should be required" left and the "how dare the government make suggestions to me?" right. Ignoring the gratuitous liberal-baiting at the end of the article, it's the right point at the right time, a welcome advocacy of a middle ground that had, for a time, seemed forgotten...
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