Ed Driscoll

Newsweek Pretty Much Just Phoning It In Now

Back in June, Kyle Smith of the New York Post caught Newsweek — we assume inadvertently — stealing a meme from a 1979-edition of rival Time magazine:

This week, the otherwise Obama-friendly Buzzfeed catches the magazine stealing from themselves:

In 1987, we were asked by Newsweek to believe that a World War II Navy fighter pilot and former CIA head was too much of a “wimp” to be president. Today, the W-word seems very much at odds with the image that Obama had been attempting to paint of Romney as a Gordon Gekko-esque corporate raider. Additionally, the subtext of the article asks, “Is he just too insecure to be president?”

Funny, that wasn’t a question that Newsweek asked itself in 2008 of the man who was omnipresent on their covers, when its then-editors weren’t comparing Obama with Lincolnand ultimately God — with all-too-“unexpectedly” disastrous results, as Edward Klein wrote in The Amateur. (I’m doing some recycling of my own; these excerpts originally appeared here back in June):

Shortly after Obama entered the White House, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner warned him, “Your legacy is going to be preventing the second Great Depression.” To which Obama boasted, “That’s not enough for me.”

* * * * * * * *

On the evening of Tuesday, June 30, 2009, Barack Obama invited nine like-minded liberal historians to have dinner with him in the Family Quarters of the White House. His chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, personally delivered the invitations to each historian with a word of caution: the dinner was to remain private and off the record….At the time of this dinner, Barack Obama was still enjoying a honeymoon period with the American people. According to the most recent Gallup Poll, 63 percent of Americans approved of the job he was doing. Not surprisingly, he was in an expansive mood as he tucked into his lamb chops and went around the table questioning each historian by name—Doris Kearns Goodwin, Michael Beschloss, Robert Caro, Robert Dallek, David [sic–Ed] Brinkley, H. W. Brands, David Kennedy, Kenneth Mack, and Gary Wills.

* * * * * * * *

Tonight, in front of nine prominent American historians, Obama wasn’t shy about flaunting his famous self-confidence. He intended to bring the Israelis and Palestinians to the negotiating table and create a permanent peace in the Middle East. He would open a constructive dialogue with America’s enemies in Iran and North Korea and, through his powers of persuasion, help them see the error of their ways. He’d pass legislation in Washington to revolutionize the country’s healthcare system and energy policy. And he’d inject the regulatory hand of the federal government into the American economy in an effort to create “a more just and equitable society.” When several of the historians brought up the difficulties that Lyndon Johnson had faced trying to wage a foreign war while implementing an ambitious domestic agenda, Obama grew testy. He knew better. He could prevail by the force of his personality. He could solve the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, put millions of people back to work, redistribute wealth, withdraw from Iraq, and reconcile the United States to a less dominant role in the world.

It was, by any measure, a breathtaking display of narcissistic grandiosity from a man whose entire political curriculum vitae consisted of seven undistinguished years in the Illinois Senate, two mostly absent years in the United States Senate, and five months and ten days in the White House. Unintentionally, Obama revealed the characteristics that made him totally unsuited for the presidency and that would doom him to failure: his extreme haughtiness and excessive pride; his ideological bent as a far-left corporatist; and his astounding amateurism.

That’s some Hindenburg-sized ego on display. But hey, it’s working. Just ask the man himself:


At the Tatler, Rick Moran has his own thoughts on Newsweek’s hit piece and writes, “I thought these desperation tactics would have waited until later in the campaign.” But at this rate, the print edition of Newsweek might not be around that long.

Update: Welcome Instapundit, Tatler and Facebook readers. And Mickey Kaus tweets:

As Tony Roberts replied to Woody Allen in Stardust Memories (the film that cost Woody his audience shortly after the 1979 Time cover appeared), “A homage? Not exactly; we just stole the idea outright.”

More: Related thoughts on Newsweek’s inglorious final days as a print publication from Donald Douglas.