October 27, 2002
A Times Editorial Gets Me Off The Fence

Sasha "la Blogatrice" reports that the New York Times has endorsed a Republican in the upcoming election: George Pataki for governor. (I can't check for myself because the Times rejected my last attempt to register. I object to answering impertinent questions, so I tried lying to them, but they didn't believe me when I told them I was an under-18 college dropout making a six-figure income and living in area code 90210. I suppose I should have tried something more plausible. I wonder what kind of algorithm they use to screen such answers.)

Anyway, the Times endorsement settles the issue for me: I'm voting for Golisano for governor. That's not entirely a joke: I am actually leaning towards Golisano, and not only in hopes of shoving the Democrats down to the third ballot slot in the next election.

I also wonder what the Times endorsement will do to black turnout in New York. Though I was never tempted to vote for him, I had thought that Carl McCall was a pretty decent guy, at least by the standards of professional politicians, and solidly Democratic in a non-extreme way. He's certainly paid his dues. What does he have to do to get any respect from the Democratic party and the New York Times?

Posted by Dr. Weevil at October 27, 2002 06:25 AM

Golisano? Come on Doc, this is the guy who "proposes" to use lottery revenue to give kids with a B average a free college education.

Frankly, I may not even vote for the Govenorship race. I'm just voting for the local stuff.

Posted by: Nick M. on October 27, 2002 10:41 AM

Objections to McCall, by the Times:

"Carl McCall, the state comptroller and Democratic nominee, has run a worse than lackluster campaign. His agenda for change, in far too many cases, has involved vague promises to bring people together to find answers. His knowledge of some important issues, particularly rebuilding Lower Manhattan, is disturbingly skimpy. While Mr. McCall has been a good comptroller, his campaign has offered some troubling insight into his ability to act decisively. When his enemies leaked letters he had written seeking jobs for relatives from companies in which the state owned stock, Mr. McCall did not deal with the matter swiftly acknowledging a wrong, taking his knocks and then moving forward. Even now, he seems to have trouble acknowledging that there was any problem other than getting caught."

So why Pataki?

"[O]ver the past eight years, the governor has scored accomplishments that have convinced us that in this field he is the man most likely to steer a sensible course through the troubled times ahead. He is best known for his achievements on the environment, but he has also done a good job of easing the burdens on the elderly and on the state's small businesses. We appreciate his generally progressive stance on social issues. In a state represented in the Senate by two very high-profile Democrats, it is undeniably helpful to have a governor who belongs to the same party as the man in the White House. And while we have argued with some of Mr. Pataki's fiscal policies in the past, overall he has been a generally sensible steward of the public's money."

This probably translates as "We are trying to look a bit less like the Official House Organ of the American Left, and endorsing an occasional Republican will help."

Posted by: CGHill on October 27, 2002 10:44 AM

What does he have to do? Not threaten Hilary Clinton's campaign for President.

Clinton and Schumer don't want another powerful New York Democrat sucking the oxygen from their lanterns. New York is a big media market; the governorship is a potential platform for national office, or at least, national attention. It's the equivalent of rulers who kill all possible rivals.

In 2006, the senate race will be run again. The New York Democrats, and thus, the New York Times, do not want another powerful Dem, who is not aligned with the Clinton axis, stealing Hilary's thunder.

Posted by: Jane Galt on October 27, 2002 02:24 PM

Try a 3 digit are code.

Posted by: loopy on October 27, 2002 11:26 PM

My good fellow, the next time a newspaper rudely demands that you login, try feeding it the username and password `cpunks' or `cpunks2'.

Signed, a visitor from the sinister, shadowy cabal concerned with matters cryptographic. And cheesy poofs.

Posted by: a random passerby on October 28, 2002 12:59 PM

The 'cpunks2' user name and password does work Doc.

Posted by: Jay Caruso on October 28, 2002 01:08 PM

You can also use, via Luciane.com, Username billclinton, password isaliar.

I think that is really hilarious.

Imperial Falconer

Posted by: MonkeyPants on October 28, 2002 08:15 PM

This is simply a "freebie" endosement by the Times of Pataki, the same way the paper endorsed Rudy Giuliani for re-election over Ruth Messinger in 1997. In both cases, the Democratic candidate didn't have a snowball's chance in hell of winning the general election, so it was safe for the Times to endorse the Republican, which in their minds allows them to tell their critics "If we're a mouthpiece for the Democratic Party, why did we endorse him?"

Messinger was perfectly in tune with the type of Upper West Side liberalism that typifies the Times editorial page, but elsewhere in the city where people actually live in the real world, Ruth's vision had no chance of getting the majority of votes after the success of Giuliani's first term, so an endorsment from the Times would have done nothing tp save her campaign. The same thing is true of McCall's current campaign -- the Times knows he's a gonner no matter what their editorial or op-ed (or Page 1) writers say, so why not go with Pataki and boost our claim to be a "free thinking" paper.

Pataki has drifted to the left to ensure his re-election and pretty much killed his chances of ever being on a national GOP ticket, if that's his future goal. But even with what he's done, if Pataki's lead over McCall was only three or four points, instead of the 15 or so points it is right now, the Times would have endorsed Carl in a heartbeat.

Posted by: John on October 28, 2002 11:58 PM

What hurt McCall were several things.
The Cuomo candidacy divided the party and the division did not heal.
The Clintons keep dipping their toes into state politics but never taking the plunge. The resulting ripples affect the water quality.
And, last but not least... McCall got caught writing 50 or so letters asking for favours while reminding the askees that he was the Comptroller of NYS.
Golisano's proposal restores the lottery to its original intent. It's supposed to be for education. Instead it goes into the General Fund, and as long as spending on education isn't less than the lottery revenues, voila! The way it was originally sold to the public was that lottery revenues would go to education ON TOP OF state spending, a huge difference.

Posted by: Chuck on October 29, 2002 10:02 AM