Dueling Pundits

It’s Mike Kinsley vs Charles Krauthammer in the new issue of Time. The topic is: Should we or should we not vote for George Bush?

First up, the only part of Kinsley’s piece where he scores anything more than ad hominem points:

Subtract the war on terror, including Iraq, and the Bush presidency looks small indeed. Buying short-term prosperity by goosing the economy with heavy borrowing is no trick at all, yet it’s not clear that Bush has pulled off even this (except the borrowing). His party has controlled Congress for most of his term. Aside from the traditional Republican wealth-friendly tax cut, can you name a single major successful legislative initiative? O.K., prescription drugs for seniors. Starting in 2006. If it works, which many experts doubt.

Ouch. Sadly, the rest of the piece doesn’t amount to much. On the other hand, if you enjoy Mike’s brand of sneering condescension (and oftentimes, I do), then it’s still worth reading.

Now let’s turn the floor over to Krauthammer:

John Kerry tells us we have to wage a more sensitive war where we acquiesce more to “allies.” O.K., let’s talk allies. Which is the single most crucial ally in the war on terrorism? France? Germany?

Russia? No. Pakistan. Pakistan made possible the destruction of the Taliban, and has been turning over to us the most important al-Qaeda figures ever captured. How did Bush turn the world’s foremost supporter of the Taliban into our most critical ally against them?

Sensitivity? Two days after 9/11, Bush had his Secretary of State deliver an ultimatum to the Pakistanis: Join us or else. They joined.

That is leadership.

And that’s why, come November 2, I’ll hold my nose, vote for Bush — and pray seniors get so angry they demand the stupid and expensive Medicare expansion gets repealed; that no one retires from the Supreme Court; and that Congress finally quits spending my yet-to-be-conceived kid’s paychecks.

Fat chance, I know.