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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The American Conservative non-endorsement endorsements: "grim prospects for conservatives"

Thanks for those Slate endorsements Peter. I've been a regular reader of Slate forever and the weekly Slate Political Gabfest podcast is one of my weekend fixtures for below-the-fold US news and cocktail chatter (though I counterbalance it with AFF's Inside Washington Weekly for a libertarian-conservative take). I've grown to love the regular personalities on both.

Slate was a real innovator in online journalism (read this revealing 2004 profile in Seattle Weekly) and one of the first successes in a difficult business sector. Slate provides a lot of smart commentary, but they've always presented themselves as an opinionated magazine, not an objective newspaper. Sure, their perspectives are probably shared by many of their readers, but it certainly helps them gain reader trust and reach a wider audience when they don't hide their biases and even occasionally engage in these acts of full-disclosure. I wasn't surprised at all by the Obamalanche nor by Jack Shafer's vote for Barr–and I certainly wasn't bothered by it. What worries me is all the newsrooms where the results would be much the same, but all the same present themselves as an objective unbiased news source for their audience.

On a somewhat similar note, in the election edition of The American Conservative magazine, as in 2004, they have not endorsed any one candidate. Instead, the editors asked 18 "conservatives, libertarians, and independent thinkers," including many TAC staff and contributors, how they plan to vote for president. The diversity among this group is a stark contrast to the near-unanimity at Slate. Some of the individuals surveyed include Peter Brimelow of VDARE.com, Reid Buckley the son and family historian of William F. Buckley, Crunchy Con Rod Dreher, estranged neoconservative Francis Fukuyama, Joe Sobran, and Lew Rockwell. Here's the tally:

Barack Obama (Democratic): 5
John McCain (Republican): 3
Bob Barr (Libertarian): 2
Chuck Baldwin (Constitution): 2
Ron Paul (write-in): 1
Ward Connerly (write-in): 1
Non-voter: 4

While there's no clear favourite, Barack Obama comes out on top, followed close on the heels by non-voters and John McCain. While there were a couple of enthusiastic Obama supporters, all the McCain voters noted their reluctance and reservations.

When there's this much disagreement (and so much support for an evident socialist) among such a group who hold fairly similar principles and concerns and when even the conservative McCain voters will be holding their noses in the voting booth, if the GOP find themselves on the outs of the Presidency and both houses of Congress, as seems the likely result,  the party would be well advised to do some good hard thinking about what it is exactly they stand for anymore.

Posted by Kalim Kassam on October 29, 2008 in Media, U.S. politics | Permalink


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