For sharpening the debate until the choices bled, for reframing reality to match his design, for gambling his fortunes—and ours—on his faith in the power of leadership, George W. Bush is TIME's 2004 Person of the Year.
In the past, Time Magazine has made a point of defending their editorial choice for "Person of the Year" thusly: it's not the goodness of the person selected, it's their overall impact on the news and the world around us. All right, I'm OK with that line of reasoning. But if Time's historic defense of its selection were really true, this would be the story lede:
For sharpening bin Laden's argument with his outstretched arms, for being the person who defined George Bush's alternate reality to the world, for showing the world what 51% of Americans approve of, Sparky the Electrode Man is ASZ's 2004 Person of the Year.
Time's choice is not totally unexpected - but I'm cancelling my subscription today. I'll stick with Newsweek. It's the least I can do.