Saturday, October 11, 2008

Could it be? Not really

One of the most predictable moments of every presidential campaign occurs when the Chicago Tribune makes its endorsement for president. While there is some question as to the last time they didn't endorse the Republican, it's been at least 96 years (apparently they endorsed Teddy Roosevelt, a Republican in all but official name, in 1912). This has involved considerable contortions at times, most notably in 2004 when they endorsed George W. Bush for reelection.

Despite the occasional comment in the letters section about how the Trib is utterly devoted to Obama and critical of Bush, a close reading of editorials over the past four years demonstrates that the paper is still very much in slavish-Bush mode. What criticisms there have been have focused on "the Bush administration," but have shied away from any attacks at the man himself. For those of us appalled at what has happened over these two terms, this reluctance to assign any blame to the man itself has hurt the reputation of the editorial staff. (In fact, I have also seen the progressive dumbing-down of the editorials; the level at which they are written has dropped considerably.)

The only question every four years is not, "Who will they endorse?," but, "How will they justify their endorsement of whichever bozo the Republicans trot out?"

But there are signs that, just maybe, the Trib may be changing its stance this time. On Tuesday, continuing their new frenzy of Web 2.0, faux-interact-with-the-readers activities, they asked readers:
The choice. The editorial board is debating its endorsement for president of the United States. As we think about that choice, we want to hear from you. Do you support Barack Obama? Do you support John McCain? Do you support a third-party candidate? Give us your reasons. If you were writing an endorsement, what would you say?
If they're polling readers, they must be prepared to go either way, right? Michael Miner of the Chicago Reader goes through a fairly tortured exegesis of this here; his point seems to be that they may be willing to go for Obama because he's admirable, from Illinois, and more conservative in many ways than McCain. On the other hand, they would be more true to their tradition if they selected McCain, and that would be a good thing. On the third hand, given the current climate for journalism, if the choice of Obama would provide some advantage, they'll probably go that way. Or something like that.

I doubt that endorsements are as important as they may have been before, particularly in this election. But I have to say I kind of hope the Trib endorses McCain, if only to see how they justify the choice.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

See - afterall you are a white racist guy who put the independent sham up for the show. At the final moment, you are still endorsing or rooting for McCain who is even more reckless than George W.

If you look at the Governor record of George W, he is a likable guy with good intentions on many social reforms, like education (i.e. the top 10% of the students from each texas school district should be guaranteed a placement at UT, Austin or Texas A&M - the top two most competitive public universities, health care clinics for low income group, and sales tax exemption once a year to provide relief to low income families to prepare for back to school). He is misguided by the right wing or thieves of his own administration. Does he have a conviction or want to do good for the country? Indeed, I truly believe that he is a good natured and happy-go-lucky type of guy.

However, McCain has a long history of being a political hack that he will go against everyone even himself if an opportunity presents. Do you want a President who is so selfish that he would sink the boat and let everyone one die in order to survive?

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