Plain Dealer Endorses Obama; Columbus Dispatch, True to Form, Smooches Romney
A lot of people have been predicting since the Cleveland Plain Dealer's endorsement of Sherrod Brown came out a few weeks ago, that they would attempt to balance the scales by endorsing Mitt Romney. I didn't think so. The case is too weak — the Salt Lake City Tribute just endorsed Obama — and the paper's position in very Democratic northeast Ohio is precarious. They didn't need to alienate any more subscribers by pretending that Romney was a good choice.
Today the Plain Dealer proved me right by endorsing Obama.
My only surprise was some of the enthusiastic things it had to say about Obama.
Today, we recommend President Obama's re-election. He has led the nation back from the brink of depression. Ohio in particular has benefited from his bold decision to revive the domestic auto industry. Because of his determination to fulfill a decades-old dream of Democrats, 30 million more Americans will soon have health insurance. His Race to the Top initiative seeded many of the education reforms embodied in Cleveland's Transformation Plan. He ended the war in Iraq and refocused the battle to disrupt al-Qaida and its terrorist allies. He ordered the risky attack inside Pakistan that killed Osama bin Laden.
After a few caveats it goes on,
Obama's leadership has made a difference when it mattered most. His stimulus package helped avert an even worse economic collapse and initiated investments in education, manufacturing and green energy that should yet pay dividends. His commitment to a balanced path toward deficit reduction won't please the most zealous members of either party, but it makes sense for the nation.
It does go off the rails at one point saying,
On stimulus and health care, in particular, he ceded too much freedom to doctrinaire Democrats on Capitol Hill and failed to engage the American people.
While the latter may be true, anyone who followed those debates saw that he ceded too much to Republicans determined to sabotage him, not to "doctrinaire" Democrats, whoever that may be.
And in calling Romney someone who "gets things done" and saying they were "sorely tempted to endorse him," it sounds like they're just trying to stave off the howls from the cleveland.com jackals.
But then it asks "But which Romney would they elect?," calling him out for shapeshifting depending on what audience he's addressing. This was the same reservation expressed by the Salt Lake City Tribune. It seems to be Romney's equivalent of John McCain's Sarah Palin, the reservation that made him unendorsable to so many newspapers.
This didn't bother the right-wing Dispatch.
In an editorial rife with one howler after another, it paints President Obama as a far left-wing zealot responsible for "the worst economic recovery since the Great Depression" (ignoring the determined blockade of Republicans in Congress to do anything about this) and wagging its finger and saying essentially, we warned you how terrible he would be!
It reveals its slavish right-wng ideology when it smugly asserts,
The Dispatch accurately predicted what would happen if Obama were elected president while Democrats held a majority in the U.S. House and Senate: “A return to majority status is likely to unleash pent-up demand to enact a Democratic wish list of new and expensive social programs when the nation can't afford the ones it has.”
It provides an exaggerated laundry list of horrors, while failing to note that George Bush was responsible for almost all of them – and that things are finally getting better. Maybe they should talk to their idol John Kasich who loves to talk about the booming recovery here in Ohio (and take credit for it).
It then spins Romney's record of predatory business practices as something that would be just peachy for the country.
As a career businessman and former governor, Romney brings a wealth of executive experience in the private sector and the public sector that dwarfs that of Obama. From working both sides of the government/private-sector equation, he understands how that relationship can aid or impede prosperity. His election would be an immediate signal to the private sector that someone who knows what he is doing is managing the nation’s economic policy. The effect on business confidence would be dramatic and immediate, and business confidence is the vital ingredient needed to spur investment and hiring, the two things that the United States so desperately needs.
What a series of laughable assertions! One term as governor "dwarfs" Obama's four years in the U.S. Senate and four years as President? And let's get over the idea that private business experience has ANY relevance to running government. In fact, their goals are virtual opposites. Romney's election would be a signal to big business that our government is available to be strip-mined for private profit. And the idea that "business confidence" would lead to a boom in jobs is pure fantasy. It's clear Romney's policies — designed to help only his wealthiest cronies — would send jobs flooding overseas and collapse wages, leading to increased poverty.
Let's hope we don't have the opportunity to see the Dispatch humiliated when it's grandiose predictions for Romney are proved to be hollow. The Dispatch embarrassed itself enough with this delusional but entirely predictable endorsement.