The Campaign Spot

When Newspapers Find They Must Endorse Lousy Democrats

In today’s Jolt, I tweaked the editors of the Washington Post for their phoned-in endorsement of Rep. Jim Moran, Democrat of northern Virginia:

By the way, here’s the entirety of the Washington Post editorial board’s endorsement of Moran this year:

Mr. Moran, a Democrat who has long represented the heavily Democratic 8th District, has embarrassed himself, and his constituents, with ill-considered comments in the past. But he is conscientious and constituent-oriented, and his opposition in this election, as in past contests, is weak.

“He’s the embarrassment to northern Virginia who has earned our trust!”

Come on, Post editors. Moran’s Republican opponent is Patrick Murray. Give him a shot. Worst case scenario, he doesn’t work out, we can vote him out in 2014. You’ve already conceded that the guy who’s in there is an embarrassment to himself and his constituents.

If you continue to endorse him, and refuse to even mention the name of the major alternative . . . well, then you’re just embarrassing yourselves.

Michael Graham wrote in to offer another example of the “major newspaper endorses the indefensible” genre, from the Boston Globe’s endorsement of Joseph Kennedy III in a Massachusetts House race:

While Joseph Kennedy III carries the most formidable surname in Massachusetts Democratic politics, it’s hard to imagine any other 32-year-old Middlesex County assistant district attorney being treated as a prohibitive favorite for the seat being vacated by liberal icon Barney Frank. Moreover, Kennedy has a strong Republican opponent in 37-year-old Sean Bielat, a Marine reservist and former tech executive who made an energetic showing two years ago against Frank — and whose experience, education, and enthusiasm for public service are in some ways similar to Kennedy’s.

But voters who believe that Frank’s values, issue positions, and tireless advocacy served his district and the country well should take a chance on Kennedy. He has natural political gifts that make up for his inexperience, and voters can feel confident he will grow into an effective advocate for the district.

He’ll “grow into” the role of congressman, like one of his dad’s suits.


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