Let a Hundred Flowers Bloom, But...

On Niall Ferguson

Did Niall Ferguson support John McCain in 2008?

Andrew does a fine job of taking on some Niall Ferguson's factual errors in his big cover piece. For the record, having written a pretty aggressive anti-Romney cover story myself, I think Newsweek should publish anti-Obama cover stories, too. We're not The Nation or The American Prospect.

We should cultivate, and cater to, Republican readers as well as Democratic ones. Besides which there's something fun and vibrant about a publication wherein the principal voices have at one another. It's like The Village Voice in the grand old days, when that paper was truly great. But the attacks ought to be factual.

Funnily, No More Mister Nice Blog argues, seemingly persuasively, that Ferguson was wrong in the piece about himself. In the cover story, Ferguson says he was a McCain backer who decided to be a "good loser." But in a piece he wrote in the Daily Mail the day after the 2008 election, Ferguson sure seemed to be saying that late in the game, he decided to be for Obama:

If national security had remained the dominant issue in this election year, I might have stayed on board.

But when the facts change, you have to be ready to change your mind; and the facts changed dramatically when the financial crisis that originated last year in the sub-prime mortgage market blew up into a full-scale panic this September and October...

...In a crisis like this, we need three things from a new president. We need an inaugural address as inspiring as Franklin Roosevelt's in 1933. We need a temperament that doesn't overheat under pressure. And we need disciplined, focused organisation, to ensure that the new administration does not bungle its first 100 days the way Bill Clinton bungled his in 1993.In this campaign, which has combined soaring oratory with superhuman sang-froid and faultless management, Obama has shown he has all three qualities. McCain's went missing in action....

I dunno, but if I were writing that, I think I'd have been for the superhuman sang-froid guy, not the missing in action one.