Ouch! 2008 as 1972

Among all the other things they’ve lost, at least The Economist hasn’t lost their edge. In review of Rick Perlstein’s new book, Nixonland, they have the following to say about the present election season (“The Fuel of Power,” vol. 387, no. 8579, 10 May 2008, pp. 93-94):

It is hard, in the current political season, to read this book without hearing the sound of history rhyming, to paraphrase Mark Twain. George McGovern’s promise of “post-partisanship” galvanised America’s youth. He trumpeted his opposition to the Vietnam war under the slogan of “right from the start”. He went on to suffer one of the biggest defeats in the general election in American history. “Dirty politics confused him,” Hunter S. Thompson sighed. Nixon chose “experience counts” as his campaign slogan in 1960 and boasted that he had spent “a lifetime getting ready”. He made up for his lack of personal charm by an almost deranged relentlessness. But this week’s result suggests that these are only half-rhymes at best: Barack Obama has already met his Richard Nixon and slain her.

The entire media establishment this week is touting the demise of the Clinton campaign, and the whole thing has been rather unseemly for Senator Clinton, but no one says it in quite such a wince-inducing fashion as The Economist.