A number of local bloggers will be posting the above link in the near future endorsing a candidate in the state supreme court race. I toyed with the idea, but decided against it. I haven’t endorsed a candidate since Chris Lufter ran against Bill Kramer in the 97th assembly primary last year, and that endorsement was because I was personally involved.*
Not formally endorsing candidates has left me free to criticize candidates and campaigns without people questioning my motives (although in the case of JB Van Hollen the party faithful have anyway). Besides, I’m uncomfortable with endorsing a candidate I may end up writing about in my newspaper column, especially in a newspaper that has a policy against making editorial endorsements even if there are really no restrictions placed on me. (I have no role with the Waukesha Freeman. I’m a freelance writer and they’re free to reject my stuff at any time.)
Finally, as we saw in the last state supreme court race, we can never know everything about a candidate. I’d have looked awfully silly with a “blogs for Ziegler” button even as I was agreeing with some of her critics that there was some real problems with her candidacy.
A counter-argument can be made that my views towards particular candidates are often easily discernable. I concede the point. But by not formally endorsing a candidate I at least avoid being institutionally committed to the candidate.
Besides, I forget who pointed it out locally during the last election cycle, but there really is something silly about a blog endorsing a candidate.
Nick Schweitzer recently claimed that someone really can’t be a Conservative without being a Republican. Yes, they can, if they have a different role other than as an activist. They can be a critic.
*(As good as Bill has been, and he has been, just think what Chris would’ve been like. Maybe Bill can move to a different district, but then I gotta talk Chris into running again, and I don’t think she’s forgiven me yet for the last time…)