Tuesday, September 14, 2010

MPW’s Endorsements

It’s time to make an announcement that’s long overdue: MPW’s endorsements. By the power vested in us by the Internet and Blogger.com, we urge our readers to support these candidates:

Anybody you want.

It has become quite the fad for bloggers to make endorsements. The very concept is ridiculous. Advocacy groups should make endorsements because they have members and policy agendas and many people in the community care what they think. Politicians can make endorsements if they believe that such expenditures of political capital will benefit themselves or their allies. And neighbors and friends should discuss politics. But bloggers are just as unqualified to make endorsements as are newspaper editorial writers. Such exercises amount to little more than delusional narcissism. Just listen to this Washington Post editorialist brag about his supposed power to steer elections. This kind of self-indulgent ranting is an insult to Post readers.

If you’ve been reading this blog for more than a few weeks, you know me pretty well by now. You know who I like and who I don’t. You know I once worked for a labor union. You know to whom I have contributed money. You know I’m the Treasurer of the District 18 Democratic Team. I support Senator Rich Madaleno and Delegates Ana Sol Gutierrez, Jeff Waldstreicher and Al Carr because I think they’re doing a good job, and will do a better job than the challengers. But that’s only my opinion, and I respect your right to disagree.

There are only two things that really matter on election day: the facts and your opinion. That’s it. You don’t come to this blog to be told how to vote. You come for information you can’t find anywhere else. In order to get it, you may have to endure my opinions from time to time, but I know you’re fully capable of digesting or discarding them as you see fit. Unlike these other bloggers, some of whom don’t even live in Maryland and others who do not have any detectable audience whatsoever, I will not insult you by telling you how to vote. That’s your choice, not mine.

My personal voting decision is driven by three factors. First, I want a candidate with whom I agree most of the time. It’s fruitless and unfair to insist on 100% agreement, but he or she needs to be with me on a couple of real big issues. Second, I want a candidate who will be competent in making progress on the things I care about. That’s hard to evaluate, but if a candidate acts strangely or offensively during the course of a campaign, chances are that person will not get the respect of his or her colleagues and will be ineffective. And third, I want a candidate with good character. That’s the most important quality of the three, and it’s also the hardest to determine. Looking at conduct while running for and holding office may be the best way to get insights into character. Candidates who lie, mislead, become hysterical, wallow in hypocrisy, have dubious financial practices, break the law or act like they’re hiding something are probably not fit to hold office. Negative campaigning is fine so long as the candidate’s information is accurate, relevant and fairly presented.

That’s all I’ve got. No endorsements. It’s all on you. Now go vote.