Just when you thought it was safe to ignore paper endorsements, the San Francisco Chronicle comes up with a surprise non-endorsement for U.S. Senate.
Bay Area readers are stunned at the Chron's refusal to endorse Republican Carly Fiorina in this year's race. Kidding!
But the Comical also refuses to back Democratic incumbent Sen. Barbara Boxer:
It is extremely rare that this editorial page would offer no recommendation on any race, particularly one of this importance. This is one necessary exception.
Boxer, first elected in 1992, would not rate on anyone's list of most influential senators. Her most famous moments on Capitol Hill have not been ones of legislative accomplishment, but of delivering partisan shots. Although she is chair of the Environment and Public Works Committee, it is telling that leadership on the most pressing issue before it—climate change—was shifted to Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., because the bill had become so polarized under her wing.
For some Californians, Boxer's reliably liberal voting record may be reason enough to give her another six years in office. But we believe Californians deserve more than a usually correct vote on issues they care about. They deserve a senator who is accessible, effective and willing and able to reach across party lines to achieve progress on the great issues of our times. Boxer falls short on those counts.
Boxer's campaign, playing to resentment over Fiorina's wealth, is not only an example of the personalized pettiness that has infected too much of modern politics, it is also a clear sign of desperation.
There is a degree of narcissism involved when an ed board writes one of these why-we're-not-endorsing editorials. If you can't get behind either Republocrat you should just run a box saying "NO ENDORSEMENT," or—dare we say it?—endorse a third party candidate. To the degree endorsements provide any service to the reader, the service is advice about the options in an election. A non-endorsement endorsement is like a tour book that tells you there's nothing to do where you're going. (They may be right, but they're still not giving you your money's worth.)