Ohio2006 Blog

News, analysis, and comments on Ohio elections.

Thursday, April 20

US Senate: Vindicator Endorses Brown (D) for Sparring Partner

The Youngstown Vindicator has issued an endorsement of Rep. Sherrod Brown (D-Avon Lake) in the Democratic primary to determine an opponent for incumbent Sen. Mike DeWine (R-Cedarville), but "endorsement for what?" is the question. In one of the strangest such pieces I've ever read, the editors never say that Brown would make a good senator if elected. Instead, they carefully limit their wording to endorse him only for -- literally -- purposes of argument.

The piece is entitled "With Brown, Dems have a contender for U.S. Senate." Oka-a-ay, we knew that. The editors praise Brown for issuing public warnings about health care, trade, Social Security, and Medicare as a Congressman. Then they say:
We endorse Brown for Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate because we believe his presence on the general election ballot will ensure intelligent discussion on the issues with the Republican nominee.
(Emphasis mine.) Huh? Sort of like a debate coach? Then they proceed to discuss how Brown "intends to make Republican domination of the federal and state governments the issue in the fall campaign," focused on the powerful question "Whose side are you on?," and praise him for setting as a goal the convening of a meeting of CEOs of major American corporations to "figure out what we do about the delivery of health care in this country," which the editors agree would be "timely and necessary." All of this leads them to say:
A general election campaign for U.S. Senate featuring Sherrod Brown as the Democratic nominee will ensure a lively debate on the issues that relate to the lives of Ohioans. We thus endorse his candidacy.
(Emphasis mine again.) I guess that eliminates any doubt. The editors want Brown in the general election to be a lively debate partner for DeWine, but they don't want to even contemplate that he might actually win.

Well, I have news for the editorial board. If you peel away their weak rhetoric, the substantive points in the endorsement make a strong case for Brown not merely as a debater but as a winner. The points, arguments, and plans that Brown advanced in the endorsement interview are exactly what Ohio has been missing under the non-leadership of DeWine. This is going to be a real contest, not a mere campaign roadshow.


At 3:34 PM, Anonymous Chris said...

I think, in the case of what is effectively uncontested primaries on both sides, the most a paper should do right now is endorse someone as the Democratic or Republican nominee. This primary isn't about who is best for the job; it's to decide who should be debating the issues in the fall.

Under this theory of endorsements, the fact that the Vindy gave space to promoting Sherrod at all is a very good sign.

At 5:29 PM, Blogger Blogesque said...

It still appears to fall into the "damning him with faint praise" category.

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