Why not a Hat Trick?
Back in March 2004, The Economist did a cover feature in a knee jerk reaction to the election of Spanish Socialist José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero. The cover above suggests that the days of Bush, Blair and Howard were numbered reflective of their Iraq/Terrorism policies. Spain gave a last second surge of support to Zapatero following the Madrid Train Bombings.
Howard, of course, won re-election just last month. And, let us not forget that the Liberal Labor Party of Australia was unable to secure a majority. Conservatives, however, gained seats. Howard, as a result, gained support of his policies, and declared that Australia will remain in Iraq as long as necessary. The Labor Party had vowed to remove all 900 non-combat troops in Iraq by Christmas.
How did the media of Australia spin Howard's surprising victory? Well, they were quick to indicate that Iraq and terrorism played no role in the election. Instead, it was the Australian economy. US Media basically ignored the Howard win, unlike their virtual festival of stories noting Spain's Zapatero.
The reason for the US Media response was an overt campaign of negativity "against" Bush. Howard's election success didn't fit that mold. Had Howard lost the Australian election the idea would have been the toast of the town.
President Bush's election win shows that The Economist should not be placing odds or selling futures. Taking a closer look, it's interesting to see that the liberal media and politicians in the US are of the same ilk as those in Australia. It seems clear that terrorism, and national security are, indeed, the primary concerns of many Americans. Yet, the focus of the media and the spinning pundits is not that position. Instead, Australia's economy is the United States' morals. The implication that this election was won based on 11 states addressing "gay marriage" is ludicrous. More importantly, it is dismissive. Denial of the left will allow them to continue to bathe in their ignorance. We'll see in four years if they have learned anything.
Incidentally, the increase of Republican seats in the House and the Senate also mirror the results of the Australian election. Bush now has a tad bit more support in the Legislative Branch of government as does Howard.
Blair has already announced that he will be stepping down in five years. The Economist thinks it will happen sooner. However, their track record is not too stellar. Blair just happens to be quite the football player according to his friends. The Economist is now zero for two...
Why not go for the hat trick?
One down, three to go? Mar 18th 2004 From The Economist print edition