For the last few years the message we’d heard from our relatively liberal media is about how powerful is the U.S. president and how important are leader motives in determining policy outcomes. Specifically, we’ve heard that U.S. outcomes are bad because of Bush’s despicable motives [added: and incompetence] — Bush has personally destroyed Iraq, New Orleans, the global environment, the deficit, oil and food prices, drug prices, the housing market, the mortgage industry, civil rights, and so on.
Odds are we will soon have a president Obama, and with him the outcomes won’t be much different – U.S. presidents don’t control that much after all. So we will soon hear the media talking a lot more about how limited is presidential power and how important is other context in determining outcomes — Obama tried but was thwarted by congress, foreigners, interest groups, the weather, complexity, and so on. Just wait for it.
Added 5Jun: We expect media to prefer a Democrat over a Republican president if we think they are more Democratic than Republican, in current political terms. We need make not reference to US or world public opinion. In general an ambiguous supporting argument should be read as making the weakest claim necessary to give the desired support – no further disclaimers should be needed.
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