I heard this today at our canvass headquarters but I couldn’t believe it until I actually read it. But yes, it’s true:
FOR PRESIDENT: FLAWED CANDIDATES, NO ENDORSEMENT
by the Ann Arbor News.
That’s right. The Ann Arbor News.
For the past week the News has been endorsing Democrats of all kinds. Carl Levin for U.S. Senate. Mark Schauer for the MI-07 Congressional District. Pam Byrnes for State House. Alma Wheeler Smith for State House. Rebekah Warren for State House. The list goes on and on.
But they couldn’t bring themselves to endorse Senator Barack Obama.
It’s hard to know which of the amazingly poor editorial commentary to quote but I’ll start with their intro:
When this newspaper decides not to endorse a candidate in an election, it’s usually because we believe neither is qualified for the office.
In this year’s presidential race, that’s not the case. Both Barack Obama, a Democrat, and John McCain, a Republican, are qualified to be president.
Yet when we look at this pair, we see two seriously flawed candidates who have run very disappointing campaigns. And although it’s possible that either man will turn out to make an excellent president, we find ourselves unable to work up sufficient enthusiasm to endorse either one.
We understand Obama’s appeal. He’s very intelligent, he has the ability to inspire, and he offers a sense of steadiness in turbulent times.
However, several aspects of his candidacy remain troubling. His tax policies – especially with a friendly Congress and possibly even a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate – are worrisome. He clearly sees taxation as a way to redistribute wealth, and this goes deeper than one offhand remark to “Joe the Plumber.”
Noticeably lacking over the past eight years is the News’ outrage over the redistribution of wealth perpetrated over the past eight years by the administration of George W. Bush. Enormous amounts of money given to these super-wealth elites, paid for with the tax dollars of the middle class. But no outcry from the News about that bit of wealth redistribution…
In addition, we feel some concern about some of Obama’s associations. No, we don’t believe he secretly shares the more extreme views espoused by his ex-pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, or former Weathermen member Bill Ayers. Yet we wish, once these associations started to become campaign issues, that he had been more forthcoming about the relationships and more forcefully renounced those views. And both situations strike us as an example of expediency by a young up-and-coming politician, who needed help and support breaking into Chicago’s political world.
Let me rephrase that in English for everyone:
We don’t want to bring up the absurd smears about Senator Obama’s tenuous connections to people we don’t like but we’re going to anyway and we’re going to use them as a reason to not endorse him because he chose not to dignify the utter ridiculous nature of these smears.
These are both good men at heart. Both, we are sure, are well intentioned.
Yet both have indulged in campaigning that is beneath them. Each has distorted the record and the positions of the other. This campaign – which held the promise of, for once, possibly remaining civil and grounded in issues – has sunk into the mud like the rest of them. All four candidates on the major-party tickets have participated in that, to varying degrees. And all four should be embarrassed.
I love the way they equate the over-the-top smears and negativism that pervaded the McCain campaign for the past three months to the far fewer and far less nasty negative ads run by Senator Obama’s campaign. They seem to acknowledge that there has been a difference in the level but that appears to matter not at all.
I am not entirely sure how Ann Arbor is perceived around the country but I can say with certainty that, in Michigan at least, it is considered a bastion of liberalism and progressive politics. With this (lack of) endorsement, the Ann Arbor News has betrayed that very important aspect of our community and have made themselves look entirely foolish.
For Christ’s sake, even the Fort Worth Star-Telegram has found the good Senator to be worthy of an endorsement. But not the newspaper of the most progressive city in the entire state of Michigan.
I’m just sayin’…