Tuesday, April 06, 2010

The questionable value of a Blade endorsement

Like many conservatives in the area, I distrust the editorial endorsements of The Blade - especially when made for partisan primary elections.

Yes, I've been the recipient of general election endorsements, but I always considered them a double-edged sword.

It used to be said that a Blade endorsement was worth about 20,000 votes - but the joke was that you never knew if those votes were for you or against you.

Last year, they did not endorse for the primary or even the general election for Toledo mayor. And they don't always endorse for partisan primaries, though they have decided to do so for this year's Lucas County Commissioner race.

Their support of Ben Krompak for the Democrat ballot certainly comes as no surprise. He is very similar in philosophy and perspective to previous Blade favorites, Toledo Councilman Joe McNamara and current Commissioner Ben Konop. In fact, about the only difference between Krompak and Konop (even their initials are the same - LOL) that I've seen in Krompak's press releases and public statements is the level of maturity he exhibits.

But from a philosophical standpoint, Krompak's positions are so similar to what we've had for a series of elections that I expect no improvement in the region should he be elected. Oh, certainly, there will be new programs and ideas, but so far they've all revolved around government doing more - not less. And we need less government - and less costly government - always, but especially in these economic times.

When it comes to the Republican endorsements, I'm also not surprised at their support of Dan Steingraber.

Please don't misunderstand my statements which follow. I believe Steingraber is a solid fiscal conservative, a good businessman and I'm glad to have him as a choice on my own Republican ballot. He's certainly not disappointed me like fellow candidate Toledo Councilman George Sarantou has when it comes to votes on increasing government and raising taxes.

But as a Republican who will be casting a vote for one of the three candidates (the third being Springfield Township Trustee Andy Glenn) for this position on May 4th, the Blade's endorsement is not reassuring. In fact, several calls to WSPD this morning reflected a similar sentiment, though Steingraber did call in to say he was rather surprised by the editorial.

My experience in this area has led me to the conclusion that The Blade does not have the best interests of the Lucas County Republican Party - and Republicans in general - at heart. Their continuing support of Jon Stainbrook as chairman is all the proof one needs, considering that Stainbrook spends more time suing and attacking Republicans than he does the negative liberal policies of the majority Democrats in office - or even Democrats in general.

So why would the editorial board take a position on this race?

Some might speculate that they hope these two candidates will produce enough differences in positions to help the sales of the paper over the coverage of the race. That may be partly true, but declining revenue and subscriptions will never be overcome by coverage of a particular race for a single office.

Believing that the paper does not have our best interests in mind, I believe they picked the individual who has the least chance of beating Krompak, their 'chosen' candidate. I believe they want Krompak to win, so they're supporting the individual who provides the least challenge in that regard.

This is not to denigrate Steingraber or his abilities. This is just a practical look at what it takes to wage and win a race for Commissioner. Having done just that, I know first-hand the amount of money that will need to be raised, the contacts one needs to have and the organization that is necessary to be successful - not to mention the additional challenge of overcoming his opponents name recognition among Republicans.

While I don't dismiss the fact that Steingraber may be able to develop those aspects for his campaign, the other two candidates have them already, which puts them ahead in the 'ability to win' column. And I do not expect the local Republican Party to be a factor in providing such support and infrastructure.

Given equal values and positions (which is not the case for this race), the ability to win often becomes the deciding factor when voting in a primary. So I have to ask myself: if Steingraber were to win the nomination, would he be able to beat Krompak, especially in light of the fact that Steinngraber's support from The Blade will certainly evaporate as they promote their chosen one?

Sadly for Dan, I believe the answer is no - but not for lack of effort on his part. Krompak will have The Blade, unions, and the infrastructure of the Democratic Party. The Republican candidate will have ... well, whatever they, themselves, bring to the table personally.

There may be a way for Steingraber to turn the Blade endorsement into a positive. This morning on the radio he expressed hope that it might help his name recognition. That could be the case, but as in the joke above, there's no way to know if it does so in a positive or negative way.

*** Please also read the clarification I wrote on this article following a conversation with Dan Steingraber. ***

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