Sheheen wins endorsement tally, 7-2

Back in 2008 when we endorsed John McCain, some of you pointed out how much of an outlier we were, since most papers across the country went with Obama. You were right to do so, because that was meaningful.

I realize that it’s axiomatic among the kinds of people who will turn out in enthusiastic droves tomorrow that newspapers, being “liberal,” always go with the Democrat. I know better. While newsrooms may be full of folks who usually vote Democratic, if they vote, editorial boards tend to be more centrist. And in South Carolina, they mostly lean right of center, to the extent that such a term in meaningful.

So it is that, even when I disagree with their conclusions, I give weight to the considered opinions of editorial boards, particularly when I see a consensus emerging.

We have such a consensus in South Carolina:

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – Voters will decide Tuesday on South Carolina’s next governor, but the editors of the state’s larger daily newspapers have cast their ballots in their opinion pages.

The editorial boards of seven newspapers chose Democratic state Sen. Vincent Sheheen and the boards of two Lowcountry newspapers chose Republican state Rep. Nikki Haley.

The Post and Courier of Charleston applauded Haley’s views on government streamlining and reduced government spending.

“South Carolina could benefit from a governor who is committed to being an ‘ambassador, for business growth,” the editorial writers said.

The Greenville News, located in the center of the state’s most Republican and conservative region, said Sheheen is the best candidate to reverse the loss of authority and respect the office has experienced under Gov. Mark Sanford.

“Sheheen seems to best understand how to use the limited power given to the governor in South Carolina to put together teams and work for the common good,” The News’ editorial said…

Haley’s campaign also was endorsed by the joint editorial board of The Island Packet of Hilton Head and The Beaufort Gazette.

Sheheen’s campaign also received endorsements from the Aiken Standard, The State of Columbia, The Morning News of Florence, The Sun News of Myrtle Beach, The Herald of Rock Hill and the Herald-Journal of Spartanburg.

Note that the only paper of any size — generally, although not always, an indicator of greater professionalism — going for Nikki Haley is the Charleston paper, which has been head-over-heels for Mark Sanford since Day One. They love the guy, and are bound to love his designated successor.

Meanwhile, newspapers that would usually go for the Republican are unequivocally for Sheheen.

That’s because if serious people who have to stand behind and justify their opinions take a close, thoughtful look at these two candidates, the inevitable conclusion is obvious. At least, that tends to be the case 7 out of 9 times.

24 thoughts on “Sheheen wins endorsement tally, 7-2

  1. Matt

    Yeah, and Sheheen winning seven editorial board endorsements doesn’t amount to a hill of beans to people out in the real world.

    Of course, you already know that!

  2. Brad

    You’re mistaken there, Matt. It’s the editorial boards that are operating in the real world. They are actually looking at the facts about the candidates. If the voters would examine the candidates as carefully as the editors have, they, too, would vote 7 to 2 for Sheheen.

  3. Doug T

    I read several of the endorsements.

    What caught my eye was those who endorsed Sheheen stated he was the “clear” choice. No buts or equivocation

    Haley’s endorsements were a little north of lukewarm.

  4. Matt

    Brad, that’s spoken like a true former newspaper editor. I wouldn’t expect anything different from you. But if you think newspaper editorials are simply derives from an examination of objective facts about a candidate, it does make me wonder what you were doing all those years at The State!

    You know as well as I do that regular folks out in the real world don’t look to newspaper editorial pages to make their decisions for them.

  5. Norval Davis

    You are so right Brad.I can appreciate the job done by the editorial boards even though I don’t always agree.It’s sad that most voters make their decisions based on TV ads rather than doing research on the candidates.

  6. Jim Duffy

    That Sheehan will be able to work more closely with the Legislature is simply because he is one of the “good ole boys” plugged into the system and an indictment of the Legislative power in SC that has effectively, through the Constitution of any real input by a governor other than what he can convince the Legislature to support. This is a clear signal that the final direction of the state is always in the hands of the Legislature. Give us term limits.

  7. David Chinnis

    The print media has becme irrelevant and their need to fire up and electorate by choosing the “other” candidate is more clear in this election than ever. Those that would change their votes based on a newspaper endorsement are, thankfully, few and far between. The people are just smarter than that today!

  8. Kathryn Braun Fenner (Mrs. Stephen A.)

    I have to wonder about whether there are sentient beings on the editorial boards that endorsed Haley! Two of them!

  9. miller

    It is beyond me why We The Enlightened have given those ignorant Haley hayseeds the right to vote. The South was so much better for everyone concerned when decisions were made by a few, well-chosen leaders, without interference from the ill-bred lower classes.

  10. Brad

    See, Miller gets it. Why don’t the rest of y’all get it? (Here I would insert a smiley face to indicate that I’m being facetious, but I’m too much of a snob to do so.)

    To be more serious: One of the most obnoxious aspects of our nation’s love affair with anti-intellectualism is that people who reject reason are so arrogant and proud of themselves for doing so.

    Can’t imagine what made me think of that… (imagine smiley face again).

    And Matt — no one on a newspaper editorial board expects readers to let them “make their decisions for them.” Most editors would be appalled at the notion. The point is to set out arguments that cause readers to make better-informed, better-thought-out decisions, wherever they end up. And anyone who rejects a consensus of newspaper endorsements out of hand is a fool. You might disagree, but if you do you should think twice about it. No smiley face.

  11. Mark Stewart

    The thing that makes us human is our brain.

    It’s sad to see in some it put up wet to rot.

    Regardless of whether I agree with anyone’s opinion or not; I am always appreciative of the insight that they have to add to the dialogue. But when people just want to be dense, it’s a real downer.

  12. Cynthia Gilliam

    The newspaper is not dead yet, at least according to the Pew Research Center’s recent survey.

  13. Norm Ivey

    Didn’t H.L. Mencken make the argument that the great catastrophe of the Civil War was the loss of the southern aristocracy?

  14. Barry

    @ Matt

    ” regular folks out in the real world don’t look to newspaper editorial pages to make their decisions for them.”

    That doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.

    Hopefully no one that votes looks to an editorial page for that purpose. That’s not what they are intended to do.

    I read the editorials to learn about the specific reasons an editorial board may support a candidate over another candidate.

    I use that information in my decision making process. I am as “regular folk” as you can get.

  15. Barry

    @ Jim

    “That Sheehan will be able to work more closely with the Legislature is simply because he is one of the “good ole boys” plugged into the system”

    The REAL reason Sheheen will be able to work closer with the Legislature is because he respects that process as being the way you get things done.

  16. Tom Fillinger

    Sweet relief. In the morning all this huffing & puffing will be put to rest, at least as to the outcomes. I have never and taught our chidlren, (two Attorneys and a Medical Doctor) to NEVER simply ‘trust’ the Editors of the newspapers, but rather to actually think. Thus, they were and are quite able to see the correlation – – newspapers are suckin wind and it is not merely because of the advance of the internet. Those Editors are, like the current administration, COMPLETELY out of touch with the populace of this GLORIOUS representative government in the republic.

    It would be so refreshing to engage a real rational, civil and substantive evaluation of the issues that requires the participants to answer the ‘why’ question. That question is one of worldview. Pragmatism was popularized by William James. It was bankrupt then as it is now. The most crucial issue is not one of mere utility. THANKS for the place to engage Brad.

  17. Brad

    Now, Tom, you’re a thoughtful guy, so I’d like you to think for a moment and parse that statement you just made: that current editors are “COMPLETELY out of touch with the populace of this GLORIOUS representative government in the republic.”

    What do you base that on? I mean, there are a lot of ways I suppose you could mean that, but in terms of the simplest way to verify, why don’t you take a look at the endorsement recap in The State today, and then look at the election results tomorrow? You will find that, once again, more than half of the people endorsed by The State will have won their races. In fact, the number will probably be closer to the usual 75 percent than to 50 percent.

    Just do that little exercise, and get back to me tomorrow…

    For my part, I voted a “ticket” that was 75 percent in agreement with The State. And on a couple of them, I allowed myself to be talked into in by The State’s arguments.

    You know why? Because since I did not go through the usual process of interviewing all these people and having to study them well enough to come up with a thoughtful position of my own for publication (because I was no longer being paid to, and because I really, truly, only cared much about the governor’s race), I honestly had no better arguments at hand than the ones that my former colleagues offered. And I like a logical argument.

    Basically, I voted for three of the four candidates The State endorsed, and agreed with them on three of the four constitutional amendments.

    If I had voted in Richland County, of course, I would have agreed with them on the sales tax referendum. I had sort ofexpected them to disagree with me on that, but got a pleasant surprise

  18. Doug Ross

    Andrew Sullivan has a link to a commenter on the Prop 19 (marijuana legalization) vote in California that is very perceptive:

    “Indeed, the Prop. 19 split illustrates how conservative critics of the mainstream media have it all wrong. The media—or at least the editorial boards at the country’s major newspapers—don’t suffer from liberal bias; they suffer from statism. While conservatives emphasize order and property, liberals emphasize equality, and libertarians emphasize individual rights, newspaper editorial boards are biased toward power and authority, automatically turning to politicians for solutions to every perceived problem.”

    Having read The State for nearly 20 years, I would say that comment is dead on.

  19. bud

    Doug, you are absolutely correct about The State newspaper. It is simply amazing how frequently they come down on the pro-tax (Richland County bus tax), pro-regulation (public smoking ban), pro-intervention (invasion of Iraq) side of practically every argument.

  20. bud

    The bus tax referendum failed, but just barely. I think most folks in Richland County would have favored the referendum if taxes were just not so high already. 10% for prepared meals would have been just staggering given that in the 60s it was only 3%. And we had buses that ran reasonably well back then. Go figure.

  21. Mark Stewart


    Buses paid for via taxes on utilites – all across the state – and operated by a semi-private company!

    That’s an interesting way to sub out goverment – let the regulated monopolies do it instead! Not even private enterprise – or “our faith-based partners” – just the controlled monopolies.

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