And They Care Who The Newspaper Endorses Because ... ?
I admit that there are some things about political campaigns that I just don't understand.
For example, why do people steal yard signs? It doesn't change anybody's mind and, if anything, makes the victims of the thefts more committed to their candidate. Moreover, does anybody really base their vote on how many yard signs they see in an area?
In fairness, I do have a guy in my neighborhood who I consider to be a contra-indicator. By that I mean, if there's an obscure local race that I have no position on, I see who this neighbor is supporting and vote the other way. That's another story however ... .
In general, I consider newspaper editorial board endorsements to be even more useless than yard signs. Seriously, who really votes based on what a couple of anonymous editorial writers think? At least you have a chance of knowing whether or not your neighbor with the yard sign is a cluck!
All of which makes the flap over the Journal Sentinel's endorsement of Democratic State Representative Tony Staskunas of West Allis (pictured above) even more bizarre!
Late last month, The Journal Sentinel Editorial Board endorsed Staskunas over his Republican challenger David Nickel. No surprise there. Last weekend though, the Nickel campaign apparently sent out a mailer implying that the newspaper had endorsed Nickel. This has the newspaper, appropriately, upset that it's endorsement is being mischaracterized.
My big question is: what could Nickel have been thinking? I mean, if you're going to go to the trouble to misrepresent something - why not pick something that can help you?
Frankly, I believe that in many races, the endorsement of the Journal Sentinel can actually cost a candidate up to 5% of the vote. That's why I'm wondering whether their selection of Republican State Senator Alberta Darling over her challenger Sheldon Wasserman was really the ultimate dirty trick?
Regardless, it's absolutely mind boggling to me that anyone would try to claim the support of the newspaper 's editorial writers when they didn't have to.
In this race, Nickel would have been much better off touting the newspaper's support of Staskunas - and then pointing out a lot of the other candidates or referendums that the newspaper has endorsed over the last few years. Trying to claim their support when it wasn't offered though is like making lemons out of lemonade!
UPDATE: Since I posted this entry last evening, I've received an email from David Nickel. Mr. Nickel disputes the notion that his mailing implies an endorsement from the Journal Sentinel Editorial Board. Here's what Mr. Nickel had to say:
In the mailer, there is no mention of an endorsement. The word is not used anywhere, nor is the word editors, etc.
The mailer simply refers to an earlier article that Mark Johnson wrote that voter has a choice - the candidate that is focused on jobs and taxes, which the choice is David Nickel.
It does not imply an endorsement.
There are several issues with the articles that the Journal wrote, too, which I can provide if interested.
Here's a link what the newspaper had to say about this this morning.
Again, my larger point is: why should anyone care about a newspaper endorsement - period? It therefore follows that, from the perspective of a candidate like Mr. Nickel, right or wrong why even bother getting into a spat over something like this?