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October 20, 2008

From Kerry to McCain

2008 may be a Democratic year, but don't tell that to the editors of the Hampton Roads Daily Press. The southeastern Virginia daily is one of only two newspapers so far to have endorsed Kerry in 2004 and McCain this year (Gannett's Jackson Sun is the other one). In contrast, more than a dozen newspapers, including several major ones—the New York Daily News, the Houston Chronicle, and, in an historic first, the Chicago Tribune—made the move from Bush to Obama (the Daily Press, it's worth noting, is owned by the Tribune Company).

So why is the Daily Press, which has a circulation of about 83,000, bucking the trend? Are its editors contrarians? No, rather, it seems they are simply right-leaning.

Daily Press
Former Bush press secretary, and Fox News personality, Tony Snow ran the paper's editorial board for a time during the '80s. The Daily Press's 2004 endorsement of Kerry (which is no longer online) is less-than-enthusiastic, noting that "nothing about John Kerry evokes warm and fuzzy feelings," and praising the "ideological balance" that a Democratic President would bring to a Republican Congress. It is really less an endorsement of Kerry than a repudiation of Bush, at times—the paper makes much of the administration's reckless spending habits—from the right.

So it should come as no surprise that the Daily Press labeled a section on Obama "Thin record, big government." Though the paper is not particularly enamored of Sarah Palin (who is?), it hails McCain's "experience" and repeats the conservative canard that low tax rates increase government revenue. Nevertheless, we expect that the Daily Press's thoughts on Obama will hold about as much sway with Virginia voters (even in the real Virginia) as Christopher Buckley's opinion does with the National Review editorial board.

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