Another canard bites the dust

The capacity of people to hang onto canards that favor their world view is really impressive. Take this one, which I encounter everywhere and which persists in spite of the published, confirmable, objective facts.

I’ll just let our own LexWolf, who most recently asserted it, put this popular bit of absurdity in his own words:

the State has a fairly dismal record with its preferred candidates
(that’s not necessarily the candidates they wind up endorsing in the
end but the ones they started out with in Spring).

Fortunately for us all, most voters make up their own minds instead
of voting according to what The State‘s editors and columnists think
they should want.

Yep, voters make up their own minds. And 75 percent of the time over the last 12 years, they have made the same decision we did.

In general elections, of course. You talk about primaries, and I would assume our preferred candidates’ record wouldn’t be as good. Of course, I’ve never gone back and done a 12-year count on primaries. That would be a lot more time-consuming. I only did the count on the general because I had to give a primer on endorsements to employees at The State, and I thought such a count might be useful (I had no idea what I’d find before I did it).

But since you raise the issue, I stopped just now and did a count on the primaries we just had in June — I was able to find a complete list of endorsements in a convenient place for that one.

You can count them yourself, but the record for our candidates was that 13 won, and 9 lost. That’s essentially a 60-40 split (59.09 to 40.9, to be more precise). That’s well into landslide territory.

Does that surprise you? It surprises me. Since primaries are dominated by partisans, and we are adamantly anti-partisan (I’m constantly railing at the quality of candidates that the parties force us to choose between in the fall), it seems like we would differ with the party-line voters more often. All I can say is that this year at least, there was a high correlation between the stronger candidate and the one that even partisans could see was stronger.

You can’t bet on that always happening. I sure wouldn’t. Of course, maybe the trend continues over time. Maybe sometime when I’m a lot less busy, I’ll do the sifting through moldy tearsheets necessary to finding out.

But here’s the bottom line: We don’t consider whether a candidate is going to win, in terms of whether we endorse that person or not. If we did, we would never have endorsed, say, Joe Lieberman in the 2004 Democratic primary. We go for the person who, among the choices offered, would in our considered opinion be the best person for the job.

It just so happens that our considered opinion matches that of South Carolinians quite a bit more often than it doesn’t. We don’t do that on purpose, but it happens.

45 thoughts on “Another canard bites the dust

  1. bill

    That’s because like most South Carolinians,the State’s editors are partisan Republicans.Quit pretending you’re not.THAT is the real canard du jour,and one that will not bite the dust.
    You endorsed Bush TWICE!To quote Dr Phil:”GET REAL!”
    You’re hanging onto that duck’s feet and can’t let go.

  2. EdGrebs

    When one looks at the issues of fiscal policy (ie taxes) and property rights, “TheState” may tend Republican, but they certainly are NOT conservatives. Any attempt to argue otherwise is the true advancement of a canard. Ed

  3. LexWolf

    Let’s stop padding your average here with county races and let’s look at the state-level races only – that’s all I was talking about anyway. That only leaves 15 races on your list and as far as I can tell, you were wrong on 8, for a losing 7-8 record.
    Maybe you should make some time and actually do some further research before beating your chest like a gorilla. If you leave out the county councils, school boards etc. it shouldn’t even take you very long. In fact, as much time as you claim to spend on endorsements, candidate interviews etc., one would think that you would have this information at your fingertips already. If I were you, I certainly would want to know if my endorsements are worth the paper they are printed on, or if they are just a bunch of drivel.

  4. Brad Warthen

    Ah, Big Canard Number Two!
    bill, thank you for setting up my follow-up point so nicely.
    Over that same decade I studied (I started it from when I joined the board in 1994; we’ve had 100 percent turnover since then), the percentage of Democrats we endorsed in general elections was 51.19, to 48.81 percent Republicans.
    For a completely unintentional trend over time — we don’t consider party; we just look at the candidate — that is stunningly close to an even 50-50 split.
    In particular election years, our candidates have been overwhelmingly Democratic, or overwhelmingly Republican. While that makes us uncomfortable at the time — we don’t like even the appearance of partisanship — we go with the better person in each individual race. Theoretically, that could end up being ALL one or the other in a given year, although that’s unlikely. That’s one reason why I have such contempt for party-line voters. I can’t that believe any thinking person would produce the same result with careful, race-by-race decisions. Pulling a party lever is therefore an unconscionable abdication of responsibility as a citizen.
    Anyway, them’s the facts. Sometime between now and the election, I’m going to post the simple spreadsheets I did on this subject. If I forget, remind me.

  5. Brad Warthen

    LexWolf, we don’t endorse in school board elections. And why on earth would we leave county councils out of the calculation? I suppose we could get a different record if we culled out the left-handed people, too.
    And what do you mean by “you were wrong on 8?” Wrong? How? Surely you’re not bringing up Big Canard Number Three, which is that if our preferred candidate didn’t WIN, we are “wrong”? Come on; you’re smarter than that.
    Were we wrong when we endorsed Bush I over Clinton, or Dole over Clinton? Were we wrong to favor Beasley over Hodges?
    Oh, and I can do the same to Democrats: Were we wrong to endorse Inez Tenenbaum over Jim DeMint?
    Actually, on that subject, I think we WERE wrong to endorse Alex Sanders over Lindsey Graham. Nothing against Alex; we just failed to see what a superlative senator Lindsey would be.
    We’re far from infallible. But the measure of our fallibility has little or nothing to do with whether they win.

  6. Annee

    “Pulling a party lever is therefore an unconscionable abdication of responsibility as a citizen.”
    I agree and appreciate your point though I have been guilty of that very “abdication of responsibility” in a past election. I find that it was mainly because of lack of time – ok, laziness – not taking the time to find out about each individual candidate. As a good citizen it is our responsibility to find out what we can about each candidate up for election. Rather than voting party-line – this year I shall vote for the person – and if I am not well informed of the choices, then I shall choose none…I think!

  7. Lee

    Election reform requires
    * Getting rid of straight party voting.
    * Removing the party labels from the candidates, so the voters have to know who they are.
    * Barring anyone from voting who does not pay income and property taxes, until we abolish both those taxes.
    * Barring anyone from voting who has received any form of welfare or public assistance in the previous 12 months.

  8. Ed

    It should include them…I understand that on our present track it’s only a short matter of time before we have more people IN the cart riding than we actually have pulling the cart…meaning we have more people receiving government dole than we do people paying taxes. Scary thought. I don’t know exactly what happens when we cross that threshold, but it can’t be good can it? Now, regarding all this hyperventilating about whether ‘The State’ has endorsed more Democrats than Republicans, or vice versa…my question is who cares? The party affiliation of people ‘The State’ endorses, and whether or not that makes ‘The State’ itself more Republican or Democrat, matters not NEARLY as much as the positions ‘The State’ itself actually takes on important issues. “Republican” and “Democrat” are terms which don’t mean much practically. The MUCH more important question is the ideology that this newspaper espouses. To me the real question is whether ‘The State’ is liberal or conservative when it comes to issues like fiscal responsibilty in government, limited government, property rights, education reform, and so on. Sadly, ‘The State’ seems to me to be WAY more liberal than the majority of people that it purports to serve.

  9. Randy Ewart

    The State and its editors have been dismissed as favoring Republicans and taking a liberal slant in the same post. Congrats Brad, piss off both sides (pissing off Mary doesn’t count because she/he hates everyone) and you’re doing your job as an unbiased editor.
    I’ll give Lex this much, he latches on to his ideology like a bulldog. The critical thought is about the same as well.

  10. Ed

    I can’t speak for Lex. Shucks, I’m not even sure what all he said. I thought I was a windbag until I tried to read some of his things. In any case I thought my logic and applications of critical thinking were cogent, erudite and quite piercing. Alas…I’ve cast my pearls before swine I suppose. Ed

  11. Emile DeFelice

    I grew canard for awhile a few years ago, and my customers can tell you that fresh local canard is much better than frozen foreign canard.
    Better yet, when I visited with Ducks Unlimited recently, their members were impressed with someone whose vision for farms included better habitat for canard, and whose environmental record is so strong that the Conservation Voters of South Carolina proved they, too, make bi-partisan endorsements of the right candidates, regardless of the odds.
    When CVSC endorsed me alongside Governor Sanford, over Sanford’s own appointed Commissioner of Agriculture, it sent a message that there are at least some things in politics that go far beyond party lines–like eating, drinking, and breathing.
    Lastly, Brad, thank you for the best non-endorsement I could have hoped for in yesterday’s paper. I’m going to look at getting a bicycle-built-for-two for Mr. Weathers and me. I’ll be the one in front, with the flag.
    Far more important than whether you endorsed me is that you endorsed the ideas that I bring to the table, critical issues that lie close to my heart, and our stomachs.
    Thanks for the discussion on one of my favorites meats, everyone–bon apetit!
    Put Your State On Your Plate,
    Emile DeFelice
    Candidate for Commissioner of Agriculture

  12. Mary Rosh

    Again, Randy, EVERY position can be placed in between two other positions. EVERY position will receive criticism from two different sides. To take my previous example, the KKK believes that black people who try to vote should be murdered, people in my state believe that black people have the same right to vote as everyone else, and Warthen takes a “middle” position – that black people shouldn’t be murdered for trying to vote, but that every possible obstacle should be placed in the way of their voting. Warthen’s position is not a “moderate” position, even though it would receive criticism from two opposing camps.
    Ed claims that the State’s positions are liberal because they conflict with some crazy set of “conservative” ideals that he has. To conservatives like Lee and Ed, no real world, achievable implementation of conservatism has ever been attempted. Their conservatism is a hothouse flower that cannot tolerate any deviation from the most rigid orthodoxy. So to them, the numerous and manifest failures of conservative policies don’t arise from any deficiencies in conservatism; they arise because conservatism has never been successfully tried.
    But what difference does it really make? Who cares if conservatism is a pernicious doctrine, or a beneficial doctrine that is impossible to implement? The effect is the same – poverty, squalor, ignorance, and misery, of the sort you see in South Carolina and other conservative states.
    And I don’t hate everyone. What I hate are cowards and freeloaders who try to shield their position from criticism rather than arguing for it forthrightly, and who pretend that their willingness to sit on their sofa with firmness and resolution constitutes personal courage.

  13. Mary Rosh

    “It should include them…I understand that on our present track it’s only a short matter of time before we have more people IN the cart riding than we actually have pulling the cart…meaning we have more people receiving government dole than we do people paying taxes. Scary thought. I don’t know exactly what happens when we cross that threshold, but it can’t be good can it?”
    Yo, Ed, South Carolina is so far past that threshold that it looks like a dot to you, if you can see it at all. South Carolina basically has one function – to serve as a repository and consumer of federal taxes collected from citizens of liberal states. South Carolinians receive $1.38 in federal handouts for every $1.00 they pay in federal taxes. You can talk and talk and talk as much as you want about how you are standing up for “robust self-reliance”, but the sad fact is that the economic choices that South Carolina made a long time ago – to “compete” in the world market by providing a poorly educated, unproductive, but compliant and cheap, work force, has resulted in an economy that would collapse if the stream of federal handouts were interrupted for as much as a day.

  14. Gary

    I think the Canards will beat the Mets tonight.
    On a serious note, Brad, isn’t the real question about editorials not whether you endorse winners or losers, but whether they actually influence people?
    Generally it seems to me that they have little potential to influence in big races (presidential, senatorial, gubernatorial) and more in the down-the-ballot who-the-heck-are-these-people races. And even then, if a voter believes the newspaper tilts one way or another, that will be somewhat of the guideline and not the actual editorial itself. Thoughts?

  15. Lee

    Social Security and Medicare are both welfare programs. If you have no other income, or own no property, you have no interest in tax fairness, and should not be allowed to vote to tax those who do earn a living and own property.
    The long-term solution is to abolish income taxes and property taxes, and replace Social Security Welfare with private savings accounts, which would provide $500,000 in retirement for even laborers.

  16. Ed

    Gee Mary, you really DO seem angry. I am indeed a proud conservative, but it isn’t what you said…as near as I can tell. You seemed to have one or two points but they got lost in six surrounding paragraphs of…well…whatever that was. Ed

  17. bill

    This is SC.Every candidate wants to appeal to the conservatives.There’s very little difference between the two parties.
    Endorse Bush once,you might not be a partisan Rebublican.Endorse the crook twice,you’re a blind partisan Rebublican.

  18. bud

    Let’s see, in the last four presidential elections the state endorsed Bush Sr., Dole, Bush Jr. and Bush Jr. Sounds pretty partisan to me. And to say that Lyndsay Graham is better that Alex Sanders is a farce. Graham eventually voted in favor of torture. Bill’s right, in the state races both sides are demonstrably conservative.

  19. Wally

    I sho will be glad when dis election thing is over and I can go back to eatin grits without chocking. Hand me another piece of fat back Louise.

  20. Mary Rosh

    Ed, I’ll try to put it more simply:
    1. The more conservative a state is, the worse off its people are.
    2. Conservatives never blame conservatism for the failure of a state to produce an educated, productive, healthy, and moral population (like you find in liberal states). The problem is never that conservatism doesn’t work, it’s always that the policies pursued by the state aren’t conservative enough.
    3. But really, what does it matter? If conservative policies don’t produce results equal to those produced by liberal policies, who cares what the reason is? It doesn’t matter if some idealized version of conservatism would produce a Shangri La, if nobody can seem to put together a sufficiently conservative set of policies. Better to adopt liberal policies which, while they may not be perfect, seem to produce populations and conditions superior in every respect to those produced by conservative polices.
    South Carolina is a conservative state. It also has high rates of poverty, illiteracy, obesity, divorce, out of wedlock births, teen pregnancy, alcoholism, smoking, teen pregnancy, and spouse abuse. You can sit all you want talking about how South Carolina doesn’t exercise sufficiently pure conservatism in the areas of “limited government,” “fiscal restraint,” “property rights,” “education reform,” and the like, but aren’t you just making excuses? The fact is that South Carolina’s conservative policies haven’t produced a productive and moral population.
    4. It’s true that many people do get a lot more in federal aid than they pay in federal taxes, but these are people who live in conservative states. So rather than complaining about liberal policies putting people on the dole, shouldn’t you be grateful for the liberal policies that enable citizens of liberal states to be sufficiently productive that they can pay the federal taxes necessary to prop up the economies of conservative states? Rather than complaining about the dole, shouldn’t you be happy that it’s there for you and your fellow conservatives to draw from?

  21. bud

    Mary, let’s not forget high numbers of traffic deaths, murders and suicides. Combined, these various shortcomings contribute to a very short life expectancy. It’s high time people recognize the failures of the conservative government here in South Carolina and make changes.
    Sadly, the U.S. as a whole has gone down this failed conservative path over the past 6 years. It has only led to a colossal disaster overseas, stagnant wages, higher poverty rates and a poorly insured population. It would appear that conservatives hate America. For they have allowed this calamity to befall this great nation. Mostly for selfish personal greed. But maybe on election day a bit of common sense will prevail.

  22. Ed

    Mary, you’re sick with it. Only liberal states produce an educated, productive, healthy and moral population? Liberal policies produce populations and conditions superior in every respect to those produced by conservative policies? South Carolinas’ poverty, illiteracy, obesity, divorce, illegitimacy, etc etc are all results of the states’ conservative leaning? What is UP with you? I could argue that NONE of this is true, but it seems rather hopeless seeing as you’ve so completely convinced yourself that conservatism is the root cause of every evil. You know, as much as I dislike liberal thinking, I’ve NEVER let myself get so angry and jaundiced about things that I can’t at least see some good in liberal people. You sound sort of hopeless to me. Tell you what…have a great life Mary. I won’t be trying to read any more of your screeds or attempting to have any temperate discussions with you, but I wish you well. When I see over-the-top hatred and hyperbole like yours, it does me good to know that conservatives hold a growing majority in this country. Ed

  23. Dave

    Bud, the conservative trending began with the Reagan election in 1980. The good thing is it continues and you see the results. Greatest nation on earth. Strongest, wealthiest, freedoms, opportunities, Christian centered, and one nation under GOD. What more could anyone want?

  24. Steve Gordy

    Dave, all the benefits you attribute to His Holiness St. Ronald were demonstrably part of being an American well before 1980 (even in the Johnson and Nixon years). Claiming these as Republican or conservative benefits is a bit like a rooster crowing on a dunghill who thinks his crowing makes the sun rise.

  25. Lee

    Oh, really?
    Reagan cut taxes from 80% to 28% and restored prosperity.
    The prosperity increased government revenues enough to balance the budget and pay down the national debt. Too bad the Democrats wouldn’t allow that.
    Reagan cut inflation from 21% to 2%.
    Reagan brought down the Soviet empire and freed 1 billion people from communism, and cut off USSR support for hundreds of tinhorn dictators and terrorists in Latin America and Africa.

  26. Mary Rosh

    Ed, Ed, you wrong me. I’m not claiming that conservatism is the source of all evils. I’m not even claiming that I know for certain that liberalism is better than conservatism. And I certainly do not claim that South Carolina’s conservative policies are the sole cause of the numerous problems and defects plaguing South Carolina, such as high rates of infant mortality, poverty, illiteracy, spouse abuse, alcoholism, smoking, obesity, divorce, teen pregnancy, out of wedlock births, and child abuse.
    ALL I am doing is pointing out that conservative states, such as South Carolina, suffer from these problems at much greater rates than do liberal states, and asking what the reason might be.
    I am just raising the possibility that perhaps conservative policies might have something to do with the failure to address or solve these problems, and suggesting that the explanation MIGHT NOT be the failure to practice an insufficiently pure strain of conservatism.
    The explanation I hear over and over and over is that conservative policies never fail, that any failure (for example, South Carolina’s failure to produce an educated, productive, healthy population able to support itself without handouts from the federal government) results from an insufficiently strong adherence to conservative principles.
    Even if that’s true, what it suggests to me is that conservatism cannot be practiced in such a way as to produce favorable results. Liberal policies, on the other hand, do seem to be practicing better results than conservative policies, so I simply raise the question, might it not be better to simply practice liberal policies, which at least do not seem to be so brittle that they cannot be made to work.
    For example, you talk about “education reform” which I guess is conservativespeak for diverting resources from public education to some sort of school voucher program to be used for private schools. I can just tell you that in my state, we don’t worry about that sort of thing; we just give sufficient resources to public schools, with the result that our population is a lot better educated than the population of South Carolina.

  27. Lee

    Maybe your state is just under control of the deadbeats.
    How about we send up our future dropouts to your state so you can show us how to educate them?

  28. Dave

    Mary is so proud of her state that he/she/it wont identify it. But in any case, there is an obsession with S.Carolina.

  29. Randy Ewart

    Maybe she takes offense to unsubstantiated demogoguery from ideologues who confuse unsupported opinion with facts.

  30. Mary Rosh

    Dave, my state is one of the states that posts statistics superior to those of South Carolina in nearly every category related to human happiness, welfare, and productivity, such as higher literacy, lower infant mortality, more stable marriages, more responsible parenting, less addiction to drugs, alcohol, and tobacco, higher wages, and a better educated and more productive workforce.
    I know that doesn’t narrow the range of possibilities very much. . .

  31. Randy Ewart

    He’s a real nowhere man
    Sitting in his nowhere land
    Making all his nowhere plans for nobody
    He’s as blind as he can be
    Just sees what he wants to see
    Nowhere man, can you see me at all

  32. Dave

    Mary, what a crock. Your fictional home state exists only in your mind. All the positives and no negatives. Go back to Joisey and drink the water.


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