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  • Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal

    Sunday, October 17, 2004

    Endorsements in all shapes and sizes 

    Ohioblog cannot believe the riches that today brings. For Ohioans and others who like to examine and compare the reasoning behind newspaper endorsement of presidential candidates, today is better than Christmas. I have a load of links to editorials from Ohio newspapers and beyond. (Don't want to isolate ourselves here in the swing state of swing states.) Before we get to them, however, let me refer you to the column of Mike Needs, public editor of the Akron Beacon Journal. Needs discusses with readers' takes on newspaper endorsements, and brings into the conversation Michael Douglas, associate editor of the Beacon Journal and the person in day-to-day command of the newspaper's editorial page, with ultimate authority resting with Publisher Jim Crutchfield.

    Before turning into Ohioblog, I served as chief editorial writer for the Beacon Journal. So it should come as no surprise that I share Douglas's reasoning for endorsements, like other editorials, as a piece of our ongoing community discussion. ``We hope to be part of the larger effort,'' Douglas told Needs, ``everyone examing the race, looking to
    make their own decision. The endorsement says: Here is how we've framed our choice. How about you?''

    The Beacon Journal (and I'm sure other newspapers) require that those who make use of their editorials reprint them in their entirety. Ohioblog is going to take a few liberties and offer key segments from three editorial endorsements in Ohio – Akron, Dayton and Canton – and from elsewhere as well. Hey, this is the Internet. A link is provided to be used by those who enjoy reading these as much as Ohioblog. You're encouraged to use them. One other thing: this is a comprehensive but incomplete. It doesn't portend to be every endorsement out there. Editor&Publisher's exclusive daily endorsement tally gave Kerry a 15-13 edge in a story published yesterday. E&P, Ohioblog and others will add to their counts in the days to come. For now, enjoy what's here:

    Ohio's large dailies chose Kerry 2-to-1 (so far)

    Akron Beacon Journal - Kerry.

    ``A president should aim to leave the country better prepared for the challenges ahead. Ronald Reagan did so through his handling of the Soviet Union and his alerting Americans to think more clearly about the role of government. Bill Clinton embraced the test of globalization and rid the country of chronic budget deficits (with the help Congress and George Bush the elder). Bush the younger has presided over the squandering of the budget surplus. He has so poorly managed the war against terrorism that the unity of that ghastly day has virtually evaporated, the country neglecting alliances nurtured over generations, largely going alone in a fight that requires a corresponding network of countries to subdue a far-flung organization of killers.

    ``John Kerry has shown a capacity to grow as a candidate and as a leader the past year (suggesting the value of a prolonged presidential race). That growth was particularly evident during the recent debates. He became more confident and comfortable. He began to define clearly critical differences with the president, and of all the distinctions drawn, the most telling involve those issues on which the president has failed profoundly, the fiscal health of the country and the conduct of the country abroad.''

    (And another segment...)

    ``The centerpiece of the Bush term has been the war in Iraq, and in this instance, too, the president has grievously erred, casting aside the advice of generals (not to mention prescient experts in the State Department), hyping incomplete intelligence, planning miserably for the postwar occupation and the rebuilding of the country. The White House could hardly have been more out of touch, believing that a coterie of Iraqi exiles would be cheered as leaders of a fractured land. The troubles point to a pattern of disdain for the value of information, scientific or otherwise, whether the subject is global warming or the global war against terrorism.

    ``The president talks about ``hard work.'' He has made the task immensely more difficult (in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere) with his long string of blunders. If George W. Bush has been resolute, that alone isn't the test for assessing his re-election. He must be held accountable for the consequences of his decisions. By that measure, he lacks a record worthy of a second term.''

    The Repository (Canton) - Bush.

    ``If war is one of two major issues in the presidential campaign, the economy is the other. After a decade of incredible business success, the economy slipped into recession two months into Bush’s first year. Then came the terrorist attacks of September 2001, which caused massive business disruption. One estimate, from a Bush strategist, puts the U.S. job loss at 1 million jobs in the first 90 days after 9/11. That the U.S. economy has rebounded as well as it has is a tribute to U.S. business and U.S. workers. But Bush has helped.

    ``For Stark County, he went to bat for steelmakers like his predecessor, President Clinton, never did. Temporary tariffs on foreign steel dumping gave the domestic steel industry a chance to sort itself out and become stronger. Locally, Timken can’t make enough steel to meet demand. Republic Engineered Products had to postpone routine summer maintenance to near the end of the year so it could keep making steel.''

    Dayton Daily News - Kerry.

    ``The nation confronts a failed presidency. George W. Bush has done series harm with his most important foreign and domestic thrusts, and he has managed this democracy all wrong....John Kerry is a credible, prepared, likely choice for a nation that should expect more sophistication, more skill, less failure and more focus on the problems of the American mainstream than George W. Bush has offered.''

    Non-Ohio endorsements for President Bush

    Chicago Tribune

    ``Bush's sense of a president's duty to defend America is wider in scope than Kerry's, more ambitious in its tactics, more prone, frankly, to yield both casualties and lasting results. This is the stark difference on which American voters should choose a president.''

    Dallas Morning News

    ``This newspaper has seen the Texas Republican in action since his first days on the gubernatorial trail. Though he has stumbled and fallen at times, Mr. Bush has always risen to fight the next round. It's called conviction. It's called sticking. It's called guts. The challenges of these dramatic days demand an American president with guts. As Mr. Bush
    told his convention, `You know where I stand.' We do, and we wish we knew where John Kerry stood. To be honest, we wish John Kerry knew where John Kerry stood. The senator has been more clear about his positions lately, particularly on Iraq. But his record of vacillation cannot be overcome in a single campaign. What's more, aside from indulging in the fantasy that he can persuade the Europeans to contribute to the Iraq effort, Mr. Kerry's Iraq policy is not substantively different from Mr. Bush's. The national security stakes are far too high to risk a return to the indecision of the Carter years.''

    Manchester (N.H.) Union Leader

    President George W. Bush deserves re-election on Nov. 2 for many reasons, the most important being the need for his continued leadership in the global fight against Islamist terrorism.''

    Rocky Mountain News (Denver)

    ``Throughout his career, Kerry has rarely displayed sustained interest in promoting dynamic growth of the sort that is the main hope for those at the bottom of the economic ladder. And while Kerry scored a soundbite when he quipped in the third debate that `being lectured by the president on fiscal responsibility is a little bit like Tony Soprano talking to me about law and order,' the fact is the senator openly advocates outspending Bush in a host of areas, from health care and education to even the military. America is a huge, energetic, resourceful nation whose fate does not hinge on the policies of one man. The question is which candidate's vision is more likely to make us safer, freer and more prosperous than his rival's. For us, the answer is George W. Bush.''

    San Antonio Express-News

    ``The Bush administration is more likely to remain resolute on the war in Iraq than would an administration headed by his opponent, Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts. The vision of a free democratic Iraq to counter Islamic extremism and dictatorships is worth that resolve. A second Bush administration would be more aggressive in seeking to engage terrorists abroad as a strategy to protect this nation. While the doctrine of pre-emption warrants further debate, Kerry has not demonstrated a clear or different vision.''

    San Diego Union-Tribune

    ``John Kerry's record of waffling on issues large and small does not instill confidence that he would provide the steady leadership that these uncertain times demand. With George Bush, however, there never is any doubt about where he stands. That is why he merits another four years in the White House.''

    Non-Ohio endorsements for Sen. John Kerry

    Boston Globe

    ``Arthur Schlesinger Jr., the presidential historian, was asked by Globe editors recently whether he saw any comparisons between Kerry and John F. Kennedy, in whose administration Schlesinger served. Although he knew Kennedy better, he said he found the two men `similar in that they prove politicians can be intellectuals.' Despite the general debasement of American politics, this is still a desirable trait in a president.''

    Daytona Beach (Fla.) News-Journal

    ``America's prosperity doesn't entirely depend on a great president. America's future does. John Kerry's distinguished service has prepared him to be the leader this country needs. The world, as much as America, would benefit by his intelligence, integrity, courage and compassion in the Oval Office. It especially needs his perceptive restraint.''

    Lexington (Ky.) Herald-Leader

    ``It's understandable that people would hesitate to dump a leader in the middle of a tough fight. But staying the wrong course isn't noble, smart or safe.''

    Miami Herald

    ``Forced to confront a surprise attack on the homeland three years ago, President Bush rose to the challenge. He deserves credit for holding the nation together in a moment of great peril. But the president who came to office as a `compassionate conservative' has often displayed a narrow partisanship. A bold doctrine of preemption replaced the promise of `a more humble foreign policy.' A stubborn refusal to accept uncomfortable facts and a simplistic approach to complicated issues raise questions of basic governance skills. These grave concerns override mere differences on issues with his challenger, Sen. John Kerry.''

    The New York Times

    ``We have been impressed with Mr. Kerry's wide knowledge and clear thinking - something that became more apparent once he was reined in by that two-minute debate light. He is blessedly willing to re-evaluate decisions when conditions change. And while Mr. Kerry's service in Vietnam was first over-promoted and then over-pilloried, his entire life has been devoted to public service, from the war to a series of elected offices. He strikes us, above all, as a man with a strong moral core.''

    St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times

    ``At home, the president's economic policies have intentionally widened the gulf between rich and poor Americans. Regressive tax cuts have produced a series of windfalls for corporations and the very wealthiest individuals. But largely as a result of those cuts and other irresponsible fiscal policies, this administration has frittered away the record surpluses it inherited, leaving the country saddled with structural deficits that, if not corrected, will place an unsustainable burden on future generations. Meanwhile, the population of middle-class workers is squeezed and shrinking. George W. Bush is the first president since Herbert Hoover to preside over an economy that produced a net loss of jobs. Bush also has broken his 2000 promise to make health care more accessible and affordable. Five-million more Americans are uninsured now than when Bush took office, and this White House has blocked common-sense proposals, such as the importation of prescription drugs from Canada, that could help to bring health care costs under control.''

    Still more non-Ohio endorsements for Kerry

    This list comes from sixmoreweeks via Daily

    Kansas City Star

    Roanoke Times

    Daily Camera (Boulder, Colo.)

    Grand Forks (N.D.) Herald

    York (Pa.) Daily Observer

    Charlotte Observer

    Brandenton (Fla.) Herald

    San Francisco Chronicle

    Minneapolis Star Tribune

    Palm Beach Post

    San Jose Mercury News

    Sacramento Bee

    Daily Herald

    Modesto Bee

    A non-Ohio endorsement for none of the above

    Winston-Salem (N.C.) Journal

    ``This year, the Journal offers no endorsement in the presidential election. In political endorsements, this newspaper recommends the candidate who we firmly believe is the better choice for an office. On rare occasions, even though the members of the editorial board make individual decisions as to whom to vote for, there are too many doubts and questions for the newspaper to offer an unequivocal institutional endorsement. In this year of deep divisions and much ambiguity, that is the case with more races than usual....This is a presidency in deep trouble, made worse by the refusal to acknowledge the trouble....Unfortunately, Sen. John Kerry has not convinced us that he will be able to steer the nation out of the mess in Iraq and move forward appropriately in the war on terrorism. His stance on many issues such as the environment and a woman's right to choose abortion are more in line with the Journal's, but he also has a record of some statements and votes on a variety of issues that are not consistent with our basic beliefs and philosophy of the proper role of the federal government. His record on Vietnam, however, does not trouble us: Both his going to war and his speaking out against it later were acts of courage and conviction.''

    - Steve Love

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 1:01 PM

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