The latest Dionne Award—presented at the whim of this blog to a “habitually even-tempered and fair-minded commentator for excellence in expressing moral outrage”—goes to the nameless editors of The Economist for their searing evisceration of Mitt Romney in the Aug. 25 edition of the magazine.  Some representative excerpts:

All politicians flip-flop from time to time; but Mr Romney could win an Olympic medal in it.

…competence is worthless without direction and, frankly, character.

….he has appeared as a fawning PR man, apparently willing to do or say just about anything to get elected.

…he is now committed to needlessly extreme or dangerous courses that he may not actually believe in but will find hard to drop.

…some attractive-sounding headline policies prove meaningless (and possibly dangerous) on closer inspection.

…the worrying idea of a man who does not really know his own mind.

The damage done to a Romney presidency by his courting of the isolationist right in the primaries could prove more substantial.

…risking a trade war with one of America’s largest trading partners when the recovery is so sickly seems especially mindless.

…his attempts to lure American Jews with near-racist talk about Arabs and belligerence against Iran could ill serve the interests of his country (and, for that matter, Israel’s).

…he has yet to convince: sometimes, again, being needlessly extremist, more often evasive and vague.

It is a little odd that the number two (Paul Ryan) has a plan and his boss doesn’t.

This is from The Economist, since 1843 one of the leading journalistic organs committed to free trade and globalization, and to an intelligent, well-reasoned, and relatively dispassionate reporting of and analysis about world affairs.

And it’s not that The Economist dislikes Mitt Romney.  Quite the contrary.  The editors are at some pains to note that “…this newspaper finds much to like in the history of this uncharismatic but dogged man, from his obvious business acumen to the way he worked across the political aisle as governor to get health reform passed and the state budget deficit down. We share many of his views about the excessive growth of regulation and of the state in general in America, and the effect that this has on investment, productivity and growth.”

It is a mark of how extreme today’s Republican Party has become (and, to their credit, how committed the editors of The Economist remain to their journal’s founding principles) that these are the words with which The Economist greets Mitt Romney as he prepares to accept his party’s nomination.

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