I find endorsement season deeply frustrating, as the old media bends over backwards to split their ticket in sacrifice to the altar of their false god of objectivity.
Today the Press-Citizen starts with endorsements and feels the need to devote a great deal of their editorial endorsing the two Democrats - Larry Meyers and Sally Stutsman - to a weak case for making the office non-partisan.
Partisanship is under-rated and unjustly maligned. The parties are more than labels these days and in choosing to affiliate with one and run with one, candidates make a powerful statement about their overall philosophy of government. From the courthouse to the US House, we're choosing between folks who associate themselves with the rich get richer philosophy of Reagan and the Bushes, or Democrats who believe in fairness for the less powerful.
Jim Leach wants to live in the old world and pretend partisanship doesn't matter, as he addresses Kirkwood students:
'I will present myself as a candidate who will build up the center and serve as a bridge between the parties,' Leach, R-Iowa, said. 'What we need in this Congress are people who are more in the center, and they can be Democrats or Republicans.'
That bridge, like Don Young's bridge to an unpopulated island in Alaska, goes nowhere in 2006. Except perhaps to a newspaper endorsement, or a wasted vote by a misguided progressive who is taught by editorial boards that straight tickets are bad manners.
Dave Loebsack is more realistic:
Loebsack said "millions of Americans and thousands of Iowans" have been harmed by policies set forth by the Bush Administration and the GOP-controlled Congress. Loebsack also refuted previous claims that he and his opponent share similar views.
"We are different folks," he said. "I would never claim that my opponent is Jim Nussle or Tom DeLay or Steve King, but he is the only Republican running in this race, and I'm the only Democrat. That's a big difference to me."
Loebsack said he would vote for a minimum-wage increase of at least $2.10 an hour, repeal tax cuts for the wealthy, call for immediate troop withdrawal from Iraq and redirect funds to help support other programs such as Pell Grants.
"It matters which party is in power and right now, the Republican-controlled Congress has no interest in calling George Bush on the carpet," Loebsack said. "There's been no oversight in this Congress."
This is the year to save some ballot marking time and make a statement, which is why I made my own endorsement a couple weeks back: straight ticket Dem.
The BBC checks in with former Clash drummer Terry Chimes (billed as "Tory Crimes" on the first album, hee hee hee) who is now of all things a chiropractor.