Newsweek‘s latest cover is creating quite a stir. The magazine’s cover this month has a picture of President Obama, with the words, “Hit the Road, Barack,” underneath. The Newsweek cover story, written by Niall Ferguson, asks: Why does Paul Ryan scare the president so much? Because Obama has broken his promises, and it’s clear that the GOP ticket’s path to prosperity is our only hope.”
Watch Richard Pildes, professor of constitutional law at New York University Law School, on why we can’t wait for “some hero who is going to magically save us from this problem” of extreme polarization in American politics:
“It’s true that we’re living through the most polarized period in American politics since the end of the nineteenth century,” Pildes said. “The political parties are further apart than they’ve ever been, they’re no liberals in the Republican Party, there are no conservatives left really in the Democratic Party. And the most active people in the country – the ones who care about politics – are also more polarized than Americans have typically been.”
While there are some things we can do to strengthen the center of the extreme, and empower moderates, Pildes said, “Fundamentally, I think polarization is a reflection of very deep structural, historical forces over the last thirty to forty years.”
Related: Paul Ryan a ‘Man of the People?’
Newsweek‘s cover story, in which Ferguson makes his case as to why Obama should not be reelected, is causing controversy. Ferguson writes:
“Mitt Romney is not the best candidate for the presidency I can imagine. But he was clearly the best of the Republican contenders for the nomination. …And by picking Ryan as his running mate, Romney has given the first real sign that — unlike Obama — he is a courageous leader who will not duck the challenges America faces.”
“The voters now face a stark choice. 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. Or they can opt for real change: the kind of change that will end four years of economic underperformance, stop the terrifying accumulation of debt, and reestablish a secure fiscal foundation for American national security.”
Noble Prize-winning Princeton economist Paul Krugman goes so far to say Newsweek should issue a correction for Ferguson’s story, since he claims that Ferguson misrepresented the costs of health care reform, in particular.
Krugman concluded: “We’re not talking about ideology or even economic analysis here — just a plain misrepresentation of the facts, with an august publication letting itself be used to misinform readers. The Times would require an abject correction if something like that slipped through. Will Newsweek?”
genConnect was credentialed press at the 2012 Aspen Ideas Festival in Aspen, Colo., where we interviewed the premier speakers and attendees at the conference. For more of our video interviews and articles from the Ideas Festival, click here.
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