Inside Politics Weekend: Day by day

Day by day

Some forces are still bigger than everybody.

Lofty observers are now applying the same historic standard to the two opposing circumstances of President Obama and former President George W. Bush:

“Only time will tell.”

Will Mr. Bush have a positive legacy? Will Mr. Obama succeed in his endeavors?

Only time will tell, the wise men sayeth.

“Time will tell if he lives up to the hype,” says historian and author Richard Brookhiser, of Mr. Obama.

“Hype, which trickles down from ideologues and publicists, is a less honest phenomenon, but it, too, has a long pedigree in this country. Journalists as a class crank it out whenever they see a politician who, they imagine, resembles themselves,” Mr. Brookhiser adds.

The time factor also ticks for Mr. Bush, but for a different reason.

“It will matter 40 years down the road when it’s clear whether the Middle East did stabilize. Then historians will be asking if President George W. Bush was the man who broke all those eggs to make that omelet,” said Bruce Buchanan, a presidential historian with the University of Texas at Austin.

Press on

Oh, joy. Someone has finally figured out what a “good reporter” is worth. Media analyst Mitch Ratcliffe reasons that a properly paid reporter could turn out to be a more ethical reporter, what with all the political bias out there these days.

Well, maybe.

“The fully loaded cost of a great reporter doing great work, then, falls somewhere in the $180,000 range,” Mr. Ratcliffe says.

His total includes $130,000 salary and benefits, $4,800 a year in subscriptions and other information sources, $2,500 a month in travel, $1,250 a month in legal and insurance coverage — which equals $179,800, and that’s before the cost of “IT, telecom and office space,” he notes.

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