Thursday, October 28, 2004

Oh to be a fly on the wall when the Post-Dispatch editorial board decides whom to endorse. The skinny we got when they passed over Jeff Smith in favor of Mark Smith--they pretended it was Jeff's lack of experience, but Mark had none either--was that they resented the letter writing campaign to them that Jeff's people instigated, felt it was manipulative. This is a reason to pass over an excellent candidate?
This week, they've endorsed Republicans Kit Bond, Todd Akin, Jo Ann Emerson, and Kenny Hulshof. Now I know that they know these recommendations are hogwash. The way I know is that they went to such pains to point out what was wrong with each one.
They cited Bond's "execrable record on the environment" and said he "even suggests that the daily casualty count in Baghdad isn't much worse than in Washington, D.C." Republicans fumed over the endorsement. "I don't believe there was one truly positive thing about him or his record in the entire editorial," wrote one reader.
They endorsed(?) Akin this way:
Mr. Akin is the most difficult of the incumbents to endorse enthusiastically. His support of bills to ban the federal courts from ruling on issues involving gay marriage and the Pledge of Allegiance is a crude way to impose ultra-conservative views on the Constitution and American society. And we would want this man in office ... why?
Moving along to Hulshof they allow that Linda Jacobsen "says correctly that Mr. Hulshof 'is just blindly following the president in Iraq.'" His only good point seems to be that he isn't completely under the thumb of Tom DeLay. Their endorsement is more negative than most backhanded compliments. So why not just choose Linda Jacobsen, who is a really fine, progressive contender.
The Post actually seems to like Jo Ann Emerson ("It is possible to be enthusiastic about Ms. Emerson ...."), so I'll grant them one endorsement out of four that they MEANT. Why the others, though?
Here are two theories:
This week, the editorial board of the Cleveland Plain Dealer voted seven to two in favor of endorsing Kerry, until the owner explained to them that they were going to endorse Bush. Could that be happening here? It seems unlikely, since the Post went for Kerry at the top of the ticket.
The other theory is that, for circulation reasons, they have to throw a few sops to the Republicans. They choose to do that in races where their endorsement will make no difference anyway: they figure Bond, Akin, Emerson, and Hulshof are shoo ins.
The fly on the wall might have heard:
"Okay, we're going to have to hold our noses and endorse some of these Republicans. Kevin, you and Anne put together, say, eight or nine hundred words in favor of Bond."
"Bond? Why me? I can't write praise of that corrupt old ..."
"Just give him credit for all the pork he brings home. And quit looking like someone just passed gas."
"Okay, okay, I'll do it, but let me include at least three paragraphs of the truth."
"You get to tell some of the truth. That's understood, but you will have to hold it to three."

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