Tortured logic

I love the Economist for its distinctive combination of excellent reporting and crazed editorial logic. Here’s an example from the latest issue. First the email ‘teaser’ from the Editor:

Imagine a democracy where politicians representing only a tenth of the population can frustrate the will of the majority, where the legislature is divided up into absurdly gerrymandered seats, where money politics is rife, where bipartisanship has disappeared—and where nothing ever gets done. With Congress failing to do anything about health care, climate change or the deficit, that is how an increasing number of Americans see Washington. Meanwhile businesspeople and politicians in the emerging world contrast this paralysis with China’s autocratic efficiency. In our cover leader we look at the idea that Washington is broken.

So far, so good. But then:

We argue that it is wrong to blame the system, not least because it lets Barack Obama off the hook. The main reason why his laws are not passing is because they are unpopular. He has done too little to win over independents and Republicans.

Eh? These are the same republicans who are determined to vote down anything and everything proposed by the Obama administration.

This is par for the course with the magazine. Its intellectual contortions over the banking catastrophe were comical beyond belief. On the one hand it could not do otherwise but report the stupidity, venality and systemic madness of the system. On the other hand, it couldn’t bring itself to admit that really radical changes in our regulatory arrangements might be necessary.