The Corner

A Nod to Heather Wilson

Sometimes when one writes a column and fiddles with drafts and combines or rearranges several sentences, the writer leaves in place adjectives that describe a group in general without being entirely accurate for each individual in the group. I regret that I did so in my piece today, with regard to former U.S. congresswoman and U.S. senatorial candidate Heather Wilson of New Mexico. In making the important and indisputable point that moderates/establishment types lost as many potentially winnable Senate races as did those who are often described as right-wingers (and therefore that it is unfair to blame the lack of a GOP Senate majority on conservatives alone), I included Representative Wilson among four examples of said moderates. The problem was that, in rewriting that paragraph at one point, I allowed the word “aimless,” which reasonably describes a lot of “moderate” candidates, to remain in place as if it described all and each of the four examples listed. For the record, while Ms. Wilson is not as conservative as I am, I actually admired her House career and thought she was a good choice for that race in New Mexico — and, from a distance at least, she seemed to run a decent campaign that was always (unlike some of the others lost by establishment Republicans) a slightly uphill battle. While it was reasonable to include her among moderates who lost, it was probably not fair to allow her spirited campaign to be described as “aimless.” Fair-minded journalists should not leave such misimpressions; I will be more careful next time.