Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal
Sunday, October 24, 2004
There's trouble in Comeback City - or is it the Capital of Poverty? Whatever it is, Cleveland woke up this morning to no presidential endorsement from The Plain Dealer, Ohio's largest newspaper. Ohioblog and others sent up early warnings of the conflict occuring between the newspaper's editorial board and its publisher, Alex Machaskee.
The Plain Dealer did not promise it would publish an endorsement today, but this was the day for it. Waiting until next Sunday doesn't allow sufficient time for community reaction (maybe that's desirable in this case) or conversation. And newspapers don't like to place their most important endorsements in weekday editions because the circulation is smaller than on Sunday. So, what happened?
Editor&Publisher, a monthly magazine covering the newspaper industry, suggests on its Web site that ``consternation in some quarters at The Plain Dealer'' caused the editorial to be put off. When the publisher wants to endorse President Bush and the majority of his editorial board favors the change that might be brought by Sen. John Kerry to the city with the highest poverty rate in the country, it will prompt consternation. Pick Bush and The Plain Dealer is as much as telling those who live in the city proper that it doesn't give a damn, that it is going to do what is best for those in the suburbs. The Plain Dealer has been preaching the regional approach. In this instance, it doesn't work. It's either Cleveland's newspaper or it is not.
Elsewhere, editorial boards and publishers were able to wend their ways along what Columbia Journalism Review calls ``The Circuitous Road to and Endorsement.'' and John Kerry came up the big winner according to Editor&Publisher's exclusive count. Kerry leads Bush in daily newspaper endorsements 113-71 (14.4 million to 8.6 million in circulation) and has gotten 17 new and a total of 28 newspapers to change their endorsements from 2000. Only two papers that supported Vice President Al Gore have moved to the president, but one was The Columbus Dispatch (Ohioblog offers an excerpt of the editorial - and others - below).
Here is E&P's flip-flop breakdown and papers for Bush:
KERRY SWITCHES: Besides those already mentioned (the Detroit News, the New Orleans Times Picayune, the Harrisburg Patriot-News, the Washington Post, the Orlando Sentinel, the Chicago Sun-Times, the Los Angeles Daily News, the Memphis Commercial Appeal), Kerry grabbed 13 other papers from the Bush 2000 column, with the endorsement of the Allentown (Pa.) Morning Call; the Stamford (Ct.) Advocate; the Journal News (White Plains, N.Y.); the Quad City Times in Davenport, Iowa; The Rockford (Ill.) Register-Star, the Contra Costa (Ca.) Times; Iowa City Press-Citizen; Worcester (Ma.) Telegram & Gazette; the Ventura County (Ca.) Star; the Wausau (Wi.) Daily Herald; the Billings (Mt.) Gazette; Walla Walla (Wa.) Union-Bulletin; and the Bangor (Maine) Daily News.
OTHER KERRY PICKUPS: Kerry also gained the backing of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Centre Daily Times in hotly-contested Pennsylvania; the Bergen Record, Newark Star-Ledger, The Times of Trenton and Gloucester County Times in surprisingly close New Jersey; the Toledo Blade in Ohio; the Raleigh News & Observer and Asheville Citizen Times in North Carolina; Newsday, the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, the Buffalo News and Glens Falls Post-Star in New York; the Des Moines (Iowa) Register; Louisville (Ky.) Courier-Journal; Las Vegas Sun and the Reno Gazette-Journal in Nevada; the Daily Southtown in Illinois; Hampton Roads (Va.)Daily Press; the Nashville Tennesean; Santa Fe New Mexican; The Journal Times in Racine, Wisconsin; the Bismarck (N.D.) Tribune, The Journal Gazette in Fort Wayne, Indiana; the Macon (Ga.) Telegraph; the Waco Tribune-Herald and Lufkin Daily News in Texas; The Coloradan in Ft. Collins; the Decatur (Ala.), Daily; Kennebec (Me.) Journal; The Republican in Mass.; Durango (Colo.) Herald; Lansing State Journal in Michigan; the Portsmouth Herald and Nashua Telegraph in New Hampshire; the Hutchinson News (Kansas.
BUSH BACKING: Bush, however, (got the Denver Post to switch to his side and) retained the Austin American-Statesman and Houston Chronicle in his home Texas; the Cincinnati Enquirer and Cincinnati Post; the Hartford (Ct.) Courant; Long Beach (Ca.) Press-Telegram; Arkansas Democrat-Gazette; the Chronicle of Centralia, Wash.; the Express-Times of Easton, Pa.; Bowling Green (Oh.) Daily News; The Ledger of Lakeland, Fla.; the Enterprise-Record of Mocksville, N.C.; the Daily News-Record in Harrisonburg, Va., the Fargo (ND) Forum.
Ohio's largest dailies (Overall total: 4 for Bush; 3 for Kerry)
The Enquirer (Cincinnati) - Bush.
The terrorist attack that killed more than 3,000 Americans changed our outlook, changed our sense of security and it most certainly changed our president. The next four years will require a president who has the fortitude not to waver in the face of terror. George W. Bush and John Kerry are both strong and patriotic men, but we believe the times call for America to be consistent. For that reason we support Bush....This election may be as close as the last. That means there will be a sharp and painful division in this country. To achieve our goals of security at home and stability abroad, our president must couple the constancy of his first term with the compassion that he has long professed. To be effective, that compassion must be used to encourage compromise. We believe George W. Bush has the strength to meet this challenge and the others that will confront America in the next four years.
Cincinnati Post - Bush.
Our endorsement is not without reservation. We worry that Bush, who promised to be ``a uniter not a divider,'' while rightfully pre-occupied with the war on terror, has nonetheless permitted the extremists in his party to exploit social issues for partisan purposes. We worry that he has allowed those extremists to demonize all government instead of encouraging good and robust government. In his 1999 campaign Bush argued his party "too often confused the need for limited government with a disdain for government itself." We hope he can return the GOP to its roots in the party of Alexander Hamilton, of Henry Clay and Daniel Webster, of Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt, to government which is limited but energetic, supportive but not intrusive, and which cultivates the entrepreneurial spirit which has served our nation for nearly 230 years. Those are values we cherish and we believe they are the values of George Bush. With George W. Bush we choose stability, continuity and decisive leadership.
Columbus Dispatch - Bush.
Like millions of American voters, The Dispatch is less than enthused about the choices in next week's presidential election. Neither President Bush nor Sen. John Kerry has built a record that leads to a clear-cut decision. Since President Bush took office, this newspaper repeatedly has criticized his administration's borrow-and-spend fiscal policies, which have resulted in massive deficits that weaken America. The Dispatch also strongly opposed the invasion of Iraq, contending the case had not been made that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction or posed an imminent threat to this nation. On the other hand, neither Kerry's 20-year Senate record nor his shifting positions during the presidential campaign inspire confidence that he would provide the strong, resolute leadership America desperately needs. Confronted with these disappointments and this choice, The Dispatch believes a second-term George W. Bush would stand a better chance of leading the nation up the difficult road that lies ahead.
Toledo Blade - Kerry.
It was Ronald Reagan, on the eve of his election against Jimmy Carter in 1980, who asked if the American people were better off than they had been four years earlier. It was a powerful question, and on Election Day the nation delivered an emphatic answer: no. Today, 24 years later, faced with the same query, Americans must consider that, by almost any measurement, the answer is the same. They must also understand that this country's best chance to embrace better times is with the election of John Kerry as the 44th President of the United States. This is not an election about John Kerry's service in Vietnam. It is not about George W. Bush's record with the Air National Guard. It is not about who did what in the service of his country more than a generation ago. At its core this election is about unhappy times in America. Our country is a sadder place than it was on Inauguration Day, 2001, and we attribute it directly to the incompetence of the President.
Non-Ohio endorsements for President Bush (not all inclusive)
Austin American Statesman
President Bush got some things wrong, but there is much he got right. We are faced with an unrelenting foe who strikes from the shadows and won't be deterred by diplomacy or international resolutions. Bush's resolve and commitment to stay the course are clear. As Winston Churchill once said, ``When you're going through hell, keep going.'' Though Kerry is an honorable man who knows firsthand the horrors of war, he is deluding himself if he thinks a different administration will change the outlook of a foe that doesn't make war on an individual administration, but on the West in general and the United States in particular....This president is not a conservative in either foreign or fiscal policy. In some ways, he is radically changing the course of government - and that might be just what we need to face foreign threats and a rapidly changing global economy. We certainly hope so. We do not make this endorsement lightly or without reservation, and we ask that the president return our faith by acknowledging his failures and acting to correct them.
The Denver Post
Typically, in the case of an incumbent, our endorsement calculation would begin this way: Are we, as Coloradans, better off today than we were four years ago? In a word, no. Since 2001, Colorado has lost more jobs than we've gained, and the ones we've gained pay less than the ones we've lost. We pay less in taxes, but our household and medical expenses have skyrocketed. Ninety thousand of us have lost our health coverage. Washington is ringing up record deficits and sticking the next generation with the bill. In Iraq, Colorado-based military units and reserves are deployed in a hostile environment for questionable purpose and uncertain result. Yet, in the context of Nov. 2, it isn't sensible to assess the state of our union in easily definable ways. Ours is an era in which security matters most, and national security is the preeminent duty of the next president. On Sept. 11, 2001, this country accepted a great challenge - to inflict justice on terrorists who would attack us and to take every reasonable step to protect our homeland. The task has been pursued with dogged resolution, and we think President Bush is best suited to continue the fight.
As in many past elections, Americans are closely divided over who should be the next president. It's not a clear-cut case of one candidate being far superior to the other. Yet history is not made by those who stand on the sidelines and wring their hands. The people must choose on Nov. 2, and The Courant recommends George W. Bush over John F. Kerry. A cataclysmic event occurred nine months into Mr. Bush's presidency - the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 - that changed America and reordered the criteria for judging who should be president. In this age of global terrorism, Americans must have a resolute leader. President Bush is better prepared than his challenger to manage the security needs of the nation. His promise to prevent attacks on the United States by taking the fight to the enemy abroad is one of the main reasons we recommend Mr. Bush for a second term....We are rarely blessed with perfect choices on who should lead the nation. On balance, President Bush has compiled a record good enough to merit a second term. He has been an agent of change and a strong leader in a dangerous time.
The Houston Chronicle
Four years ago the Houston Chronicle was pleased to endorse Texas Gov. George W. Bush for the presidency of the United States. That endorsement drew upon Bush's successful governorship that sought and found pragmatic, bipartisan solutions to pressing problems. Since then, the most devastating terrorist attack on the United States, eclipsing even Pearl Harbor, has placed new imperatives on the voters' choice of the nation's chief executive. Despite the Chronicle editorial board's disagreements with some of the president's policies, both foreign and domestic, the Chronicle believes today's criteria, combined with Bush's long record as chief executive of Texas and the United States, again recommend President Bush to lead the nation. The Chronicle endorses his candidacy for re-election to a second term.
Argus Leader (Sioux Falls, S.D.)
We have a clear choice for president. We can choose a man who can make decisions and has the courage of his convictions. Or we can chose a man who can't and doesn't. We must choose President George Bush - a far from perfect president but the better of the two. Four years ago, the Argus Leader endorsed Al Gore over President Bush. We're facing a different world situation now, with different needs. In 2004, given the choices, George Bush is the right person to lead our nation.
Non-Ohio endorsements for Sen. John Kerry (not all inclusive)
Bangor (Maine) Daily News
We endorsed George W. Bush in 2000 based on his humility, optimism, a professed compassionate brand of Republicanism and, after the divisive years between the White House and Congress in the 1990s, his pledge to be a uniter, not a divider. Those traits have arisen occasionally in the last four years, but not often....Sen. Kerry would return the White House to a mainstream, outward-looking style of governance, more inclusive by necessity and inclination, more willing to confront the complex and changing conditions in the world and more willing to address domestic issues in an enlightened way. He will face perilous times abroad and at home, but by many measures he seems the more capable of meeting them successfully.
Billings (Mont.) Gazette
President Bush had the whole world on his side after 9/11. He squandered that goodwill and undermined U.S. credibility with his Iraq policy. After his initial strong response in Afghanistan, he turned his focus to Iraq. Osama bin Laden remains at large. The president failed to adequately plan a U.S. exit from Iraq as demonstrated by the ongoing deadly insurgency. One of the most troubling aspects of Bush's leadership style is his view that ``if you're not with us, you're against us.'' The right to dissent is a basic guarantee of our democracy. Americans should exercise their right to criticize the government and work for positive change.
The Chicago Sun-Times endorses Sen. John Kerry for president. This represents a change in outlook for us. Four years ago, this newspaper endorsed George W. Bush. We thought his administration would be about trimming big government and spending a surplus projected at $4.5 trillion. We liked Bush's vision for cutting taxes. And, most of all, we saw Bush as a leader who could unite the nation. ``Bush reaches out...'' we wrote in 2000. ``Throughout the campaign, Bush has sounded a conciliatory tone, avoiding the ugly culture wars of recent years and promising to work across party lines for unity.'' Culture wars were eclipsed by real war on Sept. 11, 2001, and suddenly our visions of ever-expanding American prosperity and influence were exposed as pretty illusions. We found ourselves plunged into an unfamiliar and very dangerous new world....The question that Americans need to ask themselves, going into the voting booth a week from Tuesday, is this: Do you like the direction our nation is heading? If the answer is no, then your vote should be for Sen. John Kerry.
Des Moines Register
About half of Americans have lost confidence in President Bush, yet many hang back from embracing the alternative. That's unfortunate, because Senator John F. Kerry is a wise and decent man who has the makings of a fine president. Still, there's little wonder that voters have doubts. Most of what they think they know about the senator comes from a masterful job of``defining the opposition'' carried out by the Bush campaign and its surrogates before most people got a chance to know the real Kerry. So Americans were introduced to Kerry the flip-flopper. Kerry the softie on defense. Kerry the wild-eyed liberal. Kerry the appeaser who will let terrorists attack America. It's sad that an incumbent president chose to employ so much of his vast campaign resources to tear down his challenger, and not to cite his own accomplishments or to move the nation ahead. But perhaps that's precisely the difficulty the president faces. His presidency has been one of bold leadership undermined by a failure to achieve meaningful results.
Fort Wayne (Ind.) Journal Gazette
Kerry, while lacking the eloquence and focus of a perfect candidate, is the superior alternative. Kerry would move to protect Social Security while Bush would most likely undermine it with individual savings accounts that would partially privatize it. Kerry would seek a fairer tax system, while Bush seems poised to seek a regressive tax restructuring that would continue to favor the rich. Kerry would seek to increase health insurance availability and lower prescription drug costs while Bush would continue to protect the drug industry’s profits. Kerry would act to enlarge and improve a middle class that the Bush administration ignores. President Kerry would work to restore U.S. global credibility and to resolve the Iraq quagmire by involving the United Nations and U.S. allies in stabilizing the war-torn nation. Bush, by contrast, would continue to pursue the failed go-it-alone strategy. Kerry would meld intelligence, prevention and diplomacy to prevent terrorism, while Bush prefers to rely on force. Too many Democrats have adopted an ``anybody but Bush'' mantra that demeans John Kerry, who in fact has a strong grasp of the issues and a better understanding of what must be done to make the nation safer and improve the quality of life at home.
Idaho Statesman (Boise)
Today we endorse John Kerry for president. We do so with reluctance and regret. Reluctance because Kerry's promises are vague, his 20-year Senate record slim. Regret because we expected more from President Bush, whom we endorsed four years ago. Kerry promises to bring a more thoughtful approach to difficult problems. He will need a strong team surrounding him. He will need to do something Bush abandoned: make a concerted and continued effort to build coalitions. He will need to grow into the toughest job in the world. Kerry has not won our confidence. But Bush has lost it. Bush has made snap decisions. His shoot-from-the-hip style has polarized the nation. He has bulldozed environmental protections and piled up frightening budget deficits. Most critically, he rushed this nation into war in Iraq, costing more than 1,100 U.S. lives and damaging America's image abroad.
Iowa City (Iowa) Press Citizen
If a CEO took his company from record revenues to record debts, then bogged down his employees in a messy, costly project with no easy way out, shareholders would have no choice but to fire him. Given that, America’s sharenolders - its voters - need to hire a new CEO on Nov. 2. President George W. Bush has failed America.
Louisville (Ky.) Courier Journal
President Bush stands for re-election next week as one of the most divisive chief executives in the country's history. It did not have to be that way. After the bitterly contested race in 2000, the President had an opportunity to recognize that his mandate was limited and to make good on his campaign promise to be a ``uniter, not a divider.'' Then came the horrors of Sept. 11, 2001. Putting aside their differences, Americans stood shoulder to shoulder behind the President in their determination to defend the nation, defeat the criminals who had perpetrated mass murder, and combat global terrorism. What the President delivere, however, was a dismal mixture of radicalism, recklessness and incompetence. Fortunately, Americans have an appealing alternative. Sen. John Kerry, the Democratic nominee, has demonstrated, particularly during the televised debates, breadth of knowledge, ability to understand complex issues, and sound judgment - qualities that have been missing from Mr. Bush's stewardship.
Los Angeles Daily News
With the presidential election just nine days away and polls showing a dead heat, the country appears as divided as it was four years ago, when George W. Bush eked out a victory over then-Vice President Al Gore. And that's no place to be. With the nation at war against terrorist radicals, there has never been a greater need for unity. We found that unity after the terrible 9-11 attacks, but under President Bush's leadership we have become dangerously polarized. To wage an effective war on terrorism, we must restore national unity and repair our damaged international alliances. And the candidate best able to do that is Sen. John Kerry. In fairness, there is much to admire about Bush's four years in office. In the aftermath of 9-11, he applied a steadying hand that helped unite the nation and focus Americans on the enormity of the task we faced. He crafted a sound vision for what it will take to wage the war, and he has shown the resolve necessary to win it. But for all the leadership Bush showed in those first days, the record has been far more troubling ever since.
Newsday (Mellville, N.Y.)
The case against re-electing George W. Bush is very strong. But the case for electing Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts is not as clear-cut as we ould have liked. That leaves voters with a tough choice this year....Bush's presidency has been too radical and too often wrong. Kerry will have a fresh chance to bring the country together, to help heal the wounds of the past 12 years when partisan bickering has reached historic highs. Kerry will face the same tough choices that Bush will in trying to stabilize Iraq. Indeed, for all their arguments over what went wrong in Iraq, both Bush and Kerry have fairly similar prescriptions for what has to be done now to shore up the interim government and gain control of the security situation. Kerry says he can do a better job of bringing the allies back to the table and into Iraq. Maybe. It certainly is worth a try. He will have more goodwill from the allies than Bush. Kerry will also bring to government a group of advisers much more committed to nation building than the Bush administration has been. After all the blunders of the Bush administration, a fresh start, with a different team, is worth a try there. Kerry is not an ideologue, and his desire for success makes him more likely to compromise and find common ground with his opposition. He is the one candidate who can begin to heal the deeply bitter divisions in the nation. Bush cannot and will not do that. By his own words, he is what he is. Newsday endorses John F. Kerry for president of the United States.
Virginian-Pilot (Norfolk. Va.)
George W. Bush oiled the troubled waters of his 2000 election by promising to govern as a unifier and a compassionate conservative. Four years later, the nation is more bitterly split than ever. That is because the president abandoned the middle ground of the Republican Party in favor of its ideological edge. He discourages internal dissent, equates disagreement with disloyalty and presents the terrorist attacks of 9/11 as an unassailable justification for whatever course the administration takes....In poll after poll, Americans say that the nation is on the wrong track. They are right. It is time for fresh leadership at the Pentagon, time for a president who will hold subordinates accountable, time for a chief executive with the wisdom to recognize fatal miscalculations. If you want the same results, you keep doing the same thing. We do not doubt George Bush’s good intentions. We doubt his judgment. The results speak for themselves. John Kerry has demonstrated the personal courage and intellectual stamina to put the nation on a sounder course.
Orlando Sentinel (Kerry has swept the large Florday dailies)
Four years ago, the Orlando Sentinel endorsed Republican George W. Bush for president based on our trust in him to unite America. We expected him to forge bipartisan solutions to problems while keeping this nation secure and fiscally sound. This president has utterly failed to fulfill our expectations. We turn now to his Democratic challenger, Sen. John Kerry, with the belief that he is more likely to meet the hopes we once held for Mr. Bush. Our choice was not dictated by partisanship. Already this election season, the Sentinel has endorsed Republican Mel Martinez for the U.S. Senate and four U.S. House Republicans. In 2002, we backed Republican Gov. Jeb Bush for re-election, repeating our endorsement of four years earlier. Indeed, it has been 40 years since the Sentinel endorsed a Democrat - Lyndon Johnson - for president. But we cannot forget what we wrote in endorsing Mr. Bush in 2000: ``The nation needs a leader who can bring people together, who can stand firm on principle but knows the art of compromise.'' Four years later, Mr. Bush presides over a bitterly divided Congress and nation. The unity following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks - the president's finest hour - is a memory now. Mr. Bush's inflexibility has deepened the divide.
Four years ago Al Gore won the popular vote and George Bush, after a Supreme Court decision, became president. The new chief executive promised to be a uniter, not divider. So much for that pledge. It gets worse. Since 2001, the incumbent has been lacking on foreign policy, national security, the economy, safeguarding constitutional rights and maintaining credibility at home and abroad. In all of these categories, the Post-Gazette believes the United States needs a fresh start and that John Kerry can provide such leadership. A President Kerry will make the country safer because he will not take his eye off Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida. A President Kerry will look after the workers of America because he is concerned about both the haves and the have-nots....There is no doubt that Americans have gone from a generally happy time in the 1990s to four years of deficit, discord and disappointment. We would pose the same question that President Reagan asked famously in the heat of his own campaign: Are you better off now than you were four years ago? Relatively few, we think, would answer that with ``yes.'' If your answer is ``no'' or ``not sure,'' then we have a president for you. The Post-Gazette enthusiastically endorses John Kerry. It's definitely time for a fresh start.
Racine (Wis.) Journal Times
President Bush favors the line, ``It's a tough job.'' That could apply as well to the presidency - and Bush has occupied the Oval Office in trying times - but it is clear that he is not up to the challenge. His legacy in four years in office is one of massive national debt, tattered foreign relations, environmental degradation, job losses, skyrocketing health care costs and an economically pinched middle class. We cannot recommend his re-election. In all honesty, we were not overly impressed initially with Democratic candidate, Sen. John Kerry, when he was on the campaign trail. But after watching his steady performance in the trio of debates and listening to his pledges to rein in the national debt, work to rebuild international alliances, roll back some of the recent tax cuts and work toward healthcare reform, we believe he will be able to make some headway in getting those jobs done. The most impressive qualities that Kerry would bring to the job are his studied thoughtfulness and pragmatism. His history in Congress has shown an ability to compromise on issues and to consider other points of view. That has been sorely lacking in the Bush administration and is the root cause of some of its biggest failings. The Journal Times recommends John Kerry for president of the United States.
posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 1:45 PM
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