Monday, October 11, 2004

There’s a Difference

A few weeks ago, President Bush’s home town paper, The Lone Star Iconoclast, endorsed Senator Kerry for President. Although they had endorsed then Governor Bush for President in 2000, they changed their mind this time – rather forcefully:
We should expect that a sitting President would vacation less, if at all, and instead tend to the business of running the country, especially if he is, as he likes to boast, a “wartime president.” America is in service 365 days a year. We don’t need a part-time President who does not show up for duty as Commander-In-Chief until he is forced to, and who is in a constant state of blameless denial when things don’t get done.

What has evolved from the virtual go-it-alone conquest of Iraq is more gruesome than a stain on a White House intern’s dress. America’s reputation and influence in the world has diminished, leaving us with brute force as our most persuasive voice.
A newspaper writes and editorial and endorses a candidate. No big deal, right? Well not in the eyes of Bush supporters. In the eyes of Bush’s base, this is tantamount to treason - a crime right-wing talking heads like Ann Coulter would have “liberals” all taken out and publicly hanged for. This was not too far from the reaction the Iconcolast received:
We expected that perhaps a few readers might cancel subscriptions, and maybe even ads, but have been amazed at a few of the more intense communications, some of which bordered on outright personal attacks and uncalled-for harassment.

We have been told by several avid Bush supporters that the days when newspapers publish editorials without personal repercussions are over. As publishers, we have printed editorials for decades, and have endorsed candidates, both Republican and Democrat.

When Bush was endorsed four years ago, the Gore supporters did not respond with threats, nor did Democrats when we endorsed Reagan twice. Republicans did not threaten us personally or our business when we endorsed Carter and Clinton for their first terms. In the past, when individuals disagreed with an editorial, they would write a letter to the editor politely expressing a different point of view in contrast to the views of the publishers, which we have usually published. Occasionally someone would cancel a subscription or an ad, but this was rare.

The new mode of operation, I am told, is that when a newspaper prints an editorial of which some sectors might disagree, the focus is now upon how to run the newspaper out of business. Out the window are the contributions the newspaper has made to the community in the past and the newspaper’s extensive investment in the community.
Publicly endorse the wrong candidate and be threatened with violence, and have your business destroyed. Personal repercussions. Threats. This is just another example of the difference in the way Bush’s supporters view the world vs. the way Kerry’s supporters do. It’s a difference I don’t like and another reason to work overtime for a Kerry presidency.