Why No One Cares About Newspaper Endorsements

Newspaper endorsements from the major dailies in Texas once had an impact on elections. Of course, that’s no longer the case and this endorsement of Mitt Romney by the DMN is a clear example of why. When it comes to absurd dishonesty and moral compromise, you can’t get much better than this:

On the central issue that will define his presidency — a stalled U.S. economy weighed down by crushing annual deficits and accumulated debt — Obama showed himself to be less leader than follower. While he expended his political capital on new government programs, unemployment stayed at debilitating heights.

OK, there’s no reputable economist who actually thinks at this point that the economy is being ‘weighed down by crushing annual deficits and accumulated debt’. There are a number of disreputable economists who think so, but they were the same morons who said (in order):

1) There is no crisis in the credit markets
2) There is a problem with subprime, but it’s contained
3) We’re not in recession
4) OK, we’re in a recession but it will be mild
5) We’ll have a quick recovery
6) The stimulus will cause unemployment to increase
7) Inflation will go through the roof because of the stimulus
8) We have to cut deficits and spending, then the economy will recover (this one is my fave… because of the Europeans, we already knew it wasn’t true)

Now, if the ed board at the DMN wishes to listen to fools like that those that said all or some of those things over the last 5 years, then they’re free to do so. But don’t expect any of us to take you seriously. Even John Taylor and Glenn Hubbard, two of the architects of the disastrous economic policies of George W. Bush now advising Romney, wouldn’t be stupid enough to say that the only thing holding back the economy is Federal deficits and debt. I mean, come on, we’re borrowing money for FREE and paying less than we owe when you factor in inflation. There is no pressure on the credit markets caused by Federal borrowing, in terms of crowding or higher interest rates. Even if you’re brain damaged, it’s glaringly obvious there is a bigger problem.

The reality is we lack demand. Period. We’ve narrowly averted deflation and that avoidance is allowing our over indebted private sector to deleverage slowly. However, we’re not growing at anywhere near a reasonable rate given the low interest rates and loose monetary policy. Now, we can either let the process drag out through 2016 or we could stimulate demand and accelerate deleveraging through more federal spending on things we need like roads, airports and schools. This would also end our deficits a lot faster, but that point often gets left out because in the short term is would raise them, substantially. As the initial stimulus showed, it’s not something to worry about.

We see evidence of Obama’s shortcomings in his re-election campaign, a relentlessly negative push to disqualify his opponent instead of standing on his accomplishments. His campaign has worn voters’ patience thin by constantly blaming predecessor George W. Bush for “the mess he left behind.” Cleaning up that mess, however large, was what Americans trusted to Obama.

Only a fool would have expected everything to be done in four years even if the President hadn’t been forced to deal with Republicans who absolutely REFUSED over and over again to put the country first. Those of us with even a modicum of intelligence can see we’ve made a great deal of progress since the terrifying fall and winter of 2008-2009.

Importantly, Romney speaks the language of industry. His tenure leading Bain Capital, for instance, has come under sharp criticism for years, but it also reveals a man who understands capital formation and how that, extrapolated through an economy, can lift the U.S. from its stalled state. Even some of Obama’s Democratic allies — notably rising star Cory Booker, former adviser Steven Rattner and former Rep. Harold Ford — were quick to criticize the campaign’s Bain-centric attacks on profit.

Romney and Bain should have been prosecuted under RICO for some of their schemes. They’re no better than the investment scammers who bought properties on the cheap, made minor repairs, then borrowed FAR more money that the property was worth and walked away from the mortgage leaving the bank and taxpayers holding the bag. THAT is capital formation, Mitt Romney style. We did a piece on this years ago… the comparison with the Mob is still valid. Bloomberg did a nice piece as well about Bain and Romney privatizing profits and socializing losses.

Finally, Steve Ratner is lucky not to be in jail for just some of his actions and Harold Ford, Jr. is about as bright and promising a leader as Erskine Bowles. Cory Booker is a leader who is having to beg for investments into his crumbling shithole of a city, Newark, from private equity. All these people are, in one way or another, wired into the private equity world and none are credible parties to criticize the President.

Of most concern, Obama was not unaware of the fiscal problem. He put together a bipartisan panel to help forge a solution but then abandoned it. Left to languish, the Simpson-Bowles group could not achieve the votes to force congressional action. The proposal, which included a roughly 3-to-1 package of spending cuts to revenue increases, was the kind of compromise candidate Obama had advocated. As president, he chose not to act.

Bowles Simpson wasn’t ignored or abandoned by the President, that was the Republicans who abandoned the effort without even trying to compromise. However, even that nagging little detail pales in comparison to the fact that the proposal was, well, bad. It was conceived by two men who frankly had absolutely no business doing anything. Alan Simpson can’t get over the absolute size of the debt, completely forgetting the size of the economy. He’s the political equivalent of your cranky Grandfather, bitching about paying $30k for a car, even when you make more than $150k. Erskine Bowles is the intellectual equivalent of drapery. He’s window dressing for public companies that need someone dumb but well known on their boards. That the President continues to pay any attention to these two morons is stunning. The fact is that the long term path being unsustainable is absolutely irrelevant to the current debate. If we do not get the economy moving fast NOW, whatever steps we take to cut spending will never be enough to get us back on firm ground. Sorry, this is a problem we have to grow out of. That’s something else we saw in real life courtesy of our friends on the other side of the Atlantic.

Romney has shown an ability to lead, from turning around the deficit-ridden 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics to his term as Massachusetts governor.

No, not really. Romney was able to turn around the SLC Games only with the help of massive FEDERAL spending. As for his time in MA, as Governor Patrick of that great state has stated many times, he neither led nor fixed much of anything (that was the Democratic Legislature, kind of like what happened here in Texas when George W. Bush was Governor).

This poorly written endorsement is not only intellectually lazy, it’s completely cavalier with regard to the reality of the nations situation in September, 2012. It’s a disservice to the hundreds of people who do excellent work at the Morning News and the tens of thousands who read it every day. If I were a Belo shareholder, I’d be demanding the resignation of anyone who had anything to do with this dreck for one simple reason… they’re damaging the brand and long term viability of the Dallas Morning News.

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