“This is pathetic,” I said after reading the editorial twice. “What’s going on at the New York Times?”
Swamp Rabbit looked confused. “How would I know? I ain’t no Manhattan neolib. I live in a shack in Tinicum swamp, just like you.”
I was baffled. An endorsement, by definition, involves choosing one candidate over all the others. Why choose two, unless you’re trying to confuse your readers?
Swamp Rabbit took a minute to check the editorial then read aloud from it:
Both the radical and the realist models warrant serious consideration. If there were ever a time to be open to new ideas, it is now. If there were ever a time to seek stability, now is it. That’s why we’re endorsing the most effective advocates for each approach. They are Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar.
Warren is the radical, you see, and Klobuchar is realistic. I couldn’t help wondering how often The Times‘s editorial writers venture outside their glass-and-steel tower, and how they’re defining their terms.
Warren is actually a New Deal-style Democrat, with beliefs and policy ideas similar to those of Bernie Sanders, a candidate the Times calls divisive and despises. Klobuchar is middle-of-the-road, a lot like Joe Biden but blander and not as gaffe-prone. How her politics equates with realism is a mystery to me.
“They mean she’s a go-slow type,” Swamp Rabbit said. “They’re saying she can do what Warren wants to do, but without rocking the boat. Don’t make much sense when you think about it.”
I told him the Times editorial tells us more about the Times than it does about Warren or Klobuchar. The famed newspaper of record badly misjudged the mood of the country when it confidently endorsed Hillary Clinton in 2016. It still doesn’t understand Trump’s appeal. It’s hoping to get back some credibility by hedging its bets in 2020, by being all things to all people who aren’t Trump-loving troglodytes.
“Who cares about them editorial writers anyway?” the rabbit said. “They all work for corporations. I know bloggers who make more sense.”
I nodded. He said, “Don’t jump to no conclusions, I ain’t talking about you.”