Tuesday, October 17, 2006

THE NON-ENDORSEMENT ENDORSEMENT

The News-Leader is endorsing candidates for the general election. Good. Local newspapers should use their editorial soapbox to pick the candidates the paper feels will best represent the public.

On Tuesday the News-Leader endorsed Rep. Roy Blunt for reelection -- no stunner, that, given the lack of a serious Democratic candidate for congressman of the 7th District.

But it's an editorial endorsement from last week that still has us nodding in admiration at the way Tony Messenger and Brian Lewis wield the knife.

The paper doubled-up on Friday, endorsing B.J. Marsh and Charlie Denison for reelection to the Missouri General Assembly in the 136th and 135th districts, respectively.

The paper gave a few kind words to Jim Owen, the Democratic challenger to Marsh:
Owen, in particular, is a breath of fresh air. He knows the issues backward and forward. He has a conservative approach on many issues that fits his district well. We have no doubt he'd work hard for his constituents if elected.
The editorial had no words, kind or unkind, for Denison's opponent, Nancy Hagan. Then again, the paper had no kind words for Denison, either:
[W]e believe that Marsh in particular, and Denison to a lesser extent, have earned the right to return to Jefferson City and represent their districts. In Marsh's case, it's his undying support of the Missouri State University name change and his ability to reach across party lines that earns him the nod. More than any other local elected official, Marsh deserves credit for pushing the name change even when it appeared to be a dead issue. He wasn't afraid to work with Democrats on the issue, and in today's Jefferson City climate, that's rare.
Charlie Denison will no doubt use the News-Leader endorsement in his direct mail pieces. But he won't have a quote to pull, and that's fitting.

35 comments:

MrsThurstonHowell said...

Denison vs Hagan

The News Leader must have spent a good five minutes on research and analysis and then flipped a coin to come up with that gem of an endorsenot. What an insult to the candidates and the readership.

Anonymous said...

Ron's got it right. They managed to endorse Dennison because his challenger isn't qualified, but they did it in such a way that he can't really quote them. Beautiful.

Anonymous said...

When there is an incumbent vs. a challenger the News Leader's default position seems to be to endorse the incumbent

Tony Messenger, editorial page editor said...

Endorsing the incumbent isn't a default position, but as we explained in an editorial before our endorsements began, we do take experience into account and that most definitely gives an advantage to incumbents. They're a known quantity and a challenger has a higher bar to reach to unseat them. Right or wrong, that's one of our standards of comparison.

Larry Litle said...

I discussed the non-endorsement with James Owen. He would have liked to be had been endorsed but it did not happen. He is happy with the glowing remarks about him anyway.

Anonymous said...

Tony, being a "known" f**k up is no reason to send someone back to Jeff City. If you want to critique the person you appear to be holding your nose to endorse, why not look at the record they have created during their time in the Capitol rather than bitching about them not taking a stand on issues they will not be casting votes on in the legislature. Your endorsements so far have been a waste of column space.

By endorsing Denison and Dixon, you are promoting people who voted to protect their own healthcare coverage while throwing 100,000 off medicaid, increased their daily allowances by 20% and made it easier to give themselves a raise in the future.

Is this what you really want in Jeff City? The devil you know is not always the best answer.

Anonymous said...

anon 12:58, why do you assume because of Ron's blog he thinks Denison's opponent isn't qualified? According to Article 3 of the Missouri Constitution 21.080, RSMO, to be a qualified candidate for State Representative you need to be 24 years of age, a qualified voter for 2 years before the election, and be a resident of your distict for 1 year before the election. Nancy Hagan is 61 years of age, has voted in this district since 1975, and has been a resident of her district for 31 years. To compare the job qualifications, Nancy Hagan more than fills the requirements. She has probably lived and voted in the district longer than Charlie Denison has. What you are basing your qualifications on is the fact that he is an incumbant who has done nothing but vote the straight party line and missed important votes. To be fair, what are your qualifications for the job besides what the Missouri Constitution requires?

John Stone said...

I was surprised at the paper's non-endorsement of Prop 2. I had a chance to talk with Tony about it last night.

Tony's position seems to be that such a thing doesn't belong in the constitution. I agree with that 100% -- it's a medical and scientific question and all lawmakers, of all stipes sould keep their noses out of it.

That being said, it is on the ballot in this format because the lege was passing laws to restrict stem cell research and therapy in Missouri. I know of one world-known researcher to refused to come to Missouri because of the political situation. In additon, the political influence at the national level is corroding science in the US. The cell biology journals are filled with want ads for researchers - in Europe, Japan and even China. There are practically none for the US because of the severe and senseless restrictions.

I don't think anyone opposes regulation of the research and development, such as we now do with human subects in research. But the goal of the opponents is to totally eliminate the research and development. And what is worse about this campain that they are waging is they are using some downright lies to win. To be associated with that side of the issue, based on Tony's reasoning, is thin gruel indeed for the present and future patients in Missouri.

Not that the newspapers non-endorsement will matter. Last I heard it was passing by 68%.

The Libertarian Guy said...

Politicians should not be getting paid health care; NOBODY should be on the taxpayer-funded healtcare train, because any government big enough to "give" you healthcare is big enough to tell you HOW you must live.

"Hillarycare" was a bad idea when Mrs. Bill Clinton tried to fob it off on us, and it's still a bad idea.

Anonymous said...

You wonks are so predictable.

If the libertarians want to be taken seriously then put up a real candidate and don't just blame the system or the media for not giving you a fair shake. After all you libertarians, #$%& the system.

Same goes for HArpool. Why are you not running like you want to win?
I have seen tons of ads for Aunty dear, and only one with Harpool and his family eating pizza or something? My impression as a Harpool voter is that someone talked him into running and his heart is not in it.

Anonymous said...

Who really cares?

When all is said (and written) and done, editorial endorsements by newspapers do little more than offer pundits and bloggers something to yammer about, and candidates something to brag or moan about. They have little to no effect at the ballot box, where things are supposed to count.

Anonymous said...

anon 2:58:

On what do you base these claims? I'm not picking a fight, nor am I saying I disagree. I'm honestly curious to know why you think editorial endorsements have no effect on voters.

busplunge said...

anon 2:58

probably because most people have already made up their minds for whom they will vote
(awkward sentence structure I know, but I didn't want to say most people have made up their minds who they will vote for)

I know who I am going to vote for, and my son-in-law will probably cancel out my votes....hey he treats my daughter nice even if he has crazy politics.

What I am not too sure about are the ballot issues. Stem cell, I know where I stand, minimum wage I know where I stand, tobacco tax... I smoke and if it passes will probably quit. But I think it is a tax that affects lower income more and thus is regressive.

I learned about the cable tv issue in Springfield from the paper. Pay tv...who's going to come to my house to empty the change box. (when I was a kid and talking about pay tv I framed the reference to the pay tv seats in the train and bus station).

Red light cameras: ditto for the paper. $4,000 plus a month per intersection? and the camera company gets a cut of the fines?

Jeez I gotta get a blog.
Bus Plunge

Anonymous said...

ANON 12:46 Harpool is out talking to groups, knocking on doors and handing out literature. He wouldn't be doing that if he wasn't serious. I bet he has 1,000 signs up. TV cost big bucks (around $50,000 a week). The only reason Norma is up is she does whatever the lobbyists tell her to do so they give her lots of money for her campaign becasue they know she won't ever cross them. The other Repubican Senators also have given her a lot of money because she loyaly follows the party line..

The Libertarian Guy said...

Well, someone has a distaste for those of us who refuse to play in the RepubliCrat sandbox...

What, exactly, is a "real" candidate? Is it someone who takes PAC money? Someone who will bend over forwards for special-interest groups and lobbyists? Someone who begs people to contribute to their campaign?

I'll remain a wonk, and damned proud of it. I'll not sell my soul just to call myself a "real candidate". I'd rather not BE in office, if it means I have to sell out in order to get there.

Anonymous said...

2:58 here.

Newspaper editorial endorsements have become irrelevant for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is that today's newspaper readers are much less likely to be herded like sheep, as they were in the days of Joseph Pulitzer, et al.

By and large, people have become much more independent in their thinking, less susceptible to the attempts of editorial page writers
to persuade their thinking, and far more distrustful of media in general.

Ask yourself: Do YOU take the editorials in the News-Leader seriously? Do they shape YOUR opinion? Have they ever led you to vote for or against a particular candidate?

If you answer yes, my sense is that you are in a distinct minority.

Desdinova the Eternal Light said...

Let's play a game. Let's all try to guess how long it will be until the News Leader runs either a Letter to the Editor by or interview with someone who feels Halloween is the work of the devil. It seems every year they have at least one. One year they had a full page article interview a whole group of these idiots.

Anonymous said...

Welcome to reality, Libertarian Guy.

Whether we like it or not, money drives our political campaign system. Without the ugly machinery of D/R politics to raise that money, an independent or third-party candidate must have serious money and/or celebrity of his or her own (see: Perot) to get the level of public recognition it takes to even have a chance to seriously compete. That's becoming more and more the case, even at the local level.

There are plenty of good, honest, caring, trustworthy individuals who feel as you do about the political process, and some of them even take the leap into running for office as independent or third-party candidates, ultimately making their naievite all too apparent.

It's sad to witness anyone's epiphany that, hey, turns out this campaign thing is little more than a beauty contest.

Welcome to reality, Don Quixote.

Anonymous said...

I'm full aware of the reality. I'm just asking for a space at the table, come debate time.

Locally, our candidates do pretty well, considering the desire of those in power to STAY in power. We get invited to candidate forums. We get some press coverage. But OUR candidate - and even the "Progressive" Party - should have been up on that stage at KY3 this week. Period. And if Tim Russert were a fair-minded individual, he would've had McTalent's challengers on his show as well.

BTW, I'll proudly wear that Quixote tag.

Keith L. Rodgers
voterodgers134th.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

It is interesting that the LibertarianGuy calls himself a "wonk." The dictionary gives two definitions:

1. a stupid, boring, or unattractive person.
2. a person who studies a subject or issue in an excessively assiduous and thorough manner: a policy wonk.

To me, the Libertarians have some interesting ideas but locally they come across as a group of very angry and argumentative people who do the name-calling as frequently as anyone in the other two parties. Perhaps their message isn't getting across because those of us who would like to listen can't get past their anger.

Marissa Whitley said...

This has nothing to do with your blog but I would love to connect with you Mr. Davis. This is Marissa "Art of the Impossible" Whitley, from Glendale HS that you interviewed for 417 magazine quiet some time ago. I hope you are well and find this comment! I will be in town next weekend to emcee the Miss Missouri Pageant at Juanita K. Hammons (Oct 28 and 29).
Hope to see you!

Anonymous said...

ooh la la

RepublicFamily said...

Editorial endorsements have little or no impact. Just some basic research and reading will find that position supported by research. Continual news reporting can have an impact but newspaper endorsements seem to have little long-term impact (apologies to Tony Messenger, who, I think, is doing a great job). Some articles opposing endorsements say there is a huge, unfair impact but all of the research seems to prove otherwise.

For example, read these scholarly articles on the topic:
American Journalism Review: http://www.ajr.org/Article.asp?id=3750

What is the point?
Research on the electoral influence of newspaper endorsements is scarcer than a liberal at a Wall Street Journal editorial board meeting. Most of the data was compiled before the burgeoning Internet and the cacophony of cable TV further dulled whatever edge a newspaper endorsement gave one candidate over another.
Kathleen Hall Jamieson, director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania, wrote about newspaper endorsements in her 2000 book, "Everything You Think You Know About Politics and Why You're Wrong."
"The direct effect of editorials does not appear to be significant enough to find," Jamieson said in an interview. "The effect of newspaper endorsements is largely created through advertising about them that is sponsored by the candidate."
Even then, Jamieson and others interviewed for this article agree, the impact of endorsements on national or even regional elections – contests in which candidates are well-known among voters – is negligible.
"Many Americans in 1996 had no idea which presidential candidate their newspaper supported; many more had the wrong idea," Jamieson writes of an Annenberg study of that year's election. "To judge from the responses, many people were guessing." The findings included:
• Of those who knew their newspaper's endorsement, 1 percent said it played a "great deal" and 10 percent said it played "somewhat" of a role in their voting decision. "Of that 11 percent, about a quarter had the endorsement wrong."
More recently, a Pew Center for the People & the Press study released in January, which measured media influences on voters during the 2004 presidential campaign, concluded that "newspaper endorsements are also less influential than four years ago, and dissuade as many Americans as they persuade."
This drip, drip, drip of voter disinterest in the counsel of our nation's newspapers might cause editorial writers discomfort were it not for the near-universal belief among them that presidential endorsements are, for all practical purposes, meaningless.
"I don't think anybody who has a job like mine," says Gail Collins, editorial page editor of the New York Times, "is deluded that many people change their opinion about who they're going to vote for for president when they see the Times editorial."
Richard Doak, editorial page editor of the Des Moines Register and author of the celebrated Edwards endorsement, doubts "we influenced many decisions" with the newspaper's presidential endorsements. But, he adds, persuasion is not the objective.

…….

RON DAVIS said...

Marissa!

E-mail me, please: rondavis@mac.com

I'd love to see you, so long as you don't call me Mr. Davis.

The Libertarian Guy said...

No, someone called ME a wonk.

And if we're angry, it's because the two major parties aren't doing what they are supposed to do. Period. Otherwise, there wouldn't be more than two political parties.

Besides, I don't think Libertarians have a lock on anger... listen to Michael Savage or Barbra Streisand, you'll see plenty of venom and hatred for their opposition. God, I love it. Keep flingin' the poo at each other. Bread'n'circuses, baby.

The Libertarian Guy said...

Come to think of it, I am a wonk... a Constitutionally-limited government wonk.

I'll wear that tag proudly.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Libertarian Guy, for your responses. They're perfect examples of what I'm talking about. I rest my case.

And, please remember. Michael Savage or Barbra Streisand ARE NOT LOOKING FOR MY VOTE!

The Libertarian Guy said...

You expect us to be sweet and deferential? Why should we?

No, Savage and Babs aren't looking for your vote, but they endorse the two extremist wings of the monopoly party. And they're both hateful. Much more than I can ever be.

You'd be angry, too, if Ted Kennedy AND Rick Santorum wanted to tell you how to live your life. I don't want either of those freaks making decisions FOR me. If that's harsh, it has to be.

The Libertarian Guy said...

One afterthought, so I don't have to retype:

We Libertarians are not cut-and-polished, professionally-coached people who know how to say juuuust the right thing, and smile at juuuust the right moment. That's what politicians and used car salesman do when they sell you a pile of crap.

Most of us are either self-employed or work for small companies. We can't quit our jobs to run campaigns; incumbents get paid by US to run for office. How fair is that?

Honestly, anon, I don't understand what you want. Do you want us to hire PR people we can't afford? Water down our message? Sound politically-correct and non-confrontational?

Then ask ALL Repubs/Dems to be as civil as you demand of us. Yes, we can be angry, but we have damned good reasons. The two major parties are running our country into the ground. Neither of them, with few exceptions, care about the future of America, or its continued soverignty. Perpetual Congressman and Senators only care about gaining and retaining power.

I refuse to weenie-fy myself just to sound "acceptable". I pride myself in stirring the gravy... someone has to get the lumps out. Doesn't mean I kick puppies or take candy from children.

John Stone said...

Do you think for one second that I believe you *DON'T* kick puppies or steal halloween candy?

Let's face it Lib-guy, Repugs and demodawgs are just the brothers that mom liked better anyway!

The Libertarian Guy said...

Well, apparently, I'm not refined or genteel enough to represent, so I guess maybe I should just hide and keep quiet. ;)

Anonymous said...

Would you? Oh, please say YES!

The Libertarian Guy said...

You'd like that, wouldn't you? Sorry, though... I take my First Amendment pretty seriously.

Again, though, if you're so offended about "very angry and argumentative people who do the name-calling", you should visit DemocraticUnderground and Free Republic. You'll read stuff that makes what *I* say sound as gentle as a baby passing gas.

However, you're forgetting something in this process: You do not have a right to not be offended. And so far, even though I have no idea who you are, I can't see how I could've possibly offended your tender sensibilities.

Unless you have a picture of me kicking a puppy while stealing candy from kids, that is. *heh*

Anonymous said...

Just listen to yourself. And you wonder why people don't hear the Libertarian message. The message shouldn't be about YOU!

Anonymous said...

THIS isn't a message, anon... when I'm on here, it's on a blog comment section. As a real, live human being, and not as a candidate, which is another animal entirely.

THIS is the message:

Maximum personal and economic liberty; taking personal responsibility for negative actions; and a minimalist, unobtrusive government.

Sorry if I'm not a focus-grouped, cut-and-polished, professionally-coached, slicked-down huckster who can say just the right, soothing words in any situation. Nor would I want to be, as I'd have to sell out my principles in the process.

Here, I can be myself - a frustrated, cynical fighter of the ever-expanding goverment-as-caretaker mentality. Believe me, in front of a crowd I'm nothing like this; it scares the crap out of me.