Dealing with the financial crisis over the past several weeks, the unsigned editorials in the Wall Street Journal have proven superb—deeply-informed, tightly-argued, and, day after day after day, indispensable. If there were any justice in American journalism—which there isn’t, very obviously, but if there were—the Journal’s Pulitzer would already be engraved and sitting on a shelf, just waiting to be awarded.
Now, turning to the election, the Journal has just this morning (here in California, it’s still the coffee-and-newspaper hour) produced an editorial that may be simply the most important piece of writing on the contest that has yet appeared. “If the current polls hold,” the editorial argues,
Barack Obama will win the White House on November 4 and Democrats will consolidate their Congressional majorities, probably with a filibuster-proof Senate or very close to it…. Though we doubt most Americans realize it, this would be one of the most profound political and ideological shifts in U.S. history.
Marshalling fact after fact, reasoning tightly, and deploying beautiful, lean, unfussy prose, the editorial then goes on for some 1,200 words, demonstrating why such a sweeping Democratic victory would do grave and lasting damage to the Republic.
When Joe Rago, a member of the Journal’s editorial staff, attacked the blogosphere a couple of years ago, I tangled with him. But on one point, young Joe was right: There are still some very important tasks that are best performed by great big newspapers. Thundering is one.