Another election cycle is coming to a close. And with that close, we always open up the Orlando Sentinel to see who they endorse this time around. And, like usual, they aren’t making any shocking changes.
In recent years, the Orlando Sentinel has made some changes. They have gone from being, well, an actual newspaper with actual articles, to being some awful looking paper (I don’t dare add the word news), with very bright colors and very bold print. In addition, their Sunday Opinion Section went from being a good, substantial read to being something that rivals the size of a postage stamp.
Yet, even with these changes, the Sentinel’s endorsement habits remain the same. What “habits” you might ask?
Instead of the Sentinel picking who they feel is the best person, I feel that most of the time (especially in larger races) the Sentinel picks who they think is going to win, at least in Central Florida. With the exception of some State House races, where the Sentinel likes to take some whacks at the GOP, there are very few surprises when it comes to their endorsements.
So, lets look at some recent endorsements of the Sentinel. In 1992, the country was in horrible shape. We were in a bad recession and President George Bush was totally out of touch with the American people. Bill Clinton showed that he understood the problems of the average American, and promised economic solutions, including his “middle class tax cut”, which never came around.
Therefore, with all the problems facing the country, who was the Sentinel going to pick? That is right…George Bush. And why did they pick Bush? They knew he would win Central Florida. Pure and simple. And of course, the trend continues. 1996, they went for Dole, even though Clinton had turned things around. In 2000, they went for Bush, even though the US was in the best economic condition for some time.
Then in 2004, the Sentinel picked John Kerry. Why? Kerry won Orange County. And, of course in 2008, the Sentinel endorsed Obama, who destroyed McCain in Orange County.
Therefore, at least in Presidential races, the Sentinel ceases to shock.
They also continue trend in other statewide races as well. Yesterday, they endorsed Marco Rubio. Why? Well, they do have their BS excuses, but the main reason is that they think he will win (though, of course, they don’t say that). It has nothing to do with the candidate’s views on anything. In their endorsement of Rubio, the Sentinel stated “normally we would be inclined to favor a moderate candidate.” And, of course, you can’t get any further away from “moderate” than the tea party-backed Rubio. And trust me, if Crist was leading in the polls, the Sentinel would have no problem with endorsing the current Florida Governor.
And what about the Grayson-Webster battle? Of course, Grayson has shot himself in the foot multiple times while Webster has done the smart thing which is nothing. But the Sentinel never liked Grayson’s fiery brand of liberal politics. That was too “radical” for them. And in their endorsement, some of the reasons they opposed Grayson were just plain-out stupid. Take this reason for example:
“And Mr. Grayson has wildly exaggerated his role in the other accomplishments he’s claiming in this campaign. For example, he is taking personal credit for “saving schools” because he supported last year’s economic stimulus package and its additional billions for education. So did virtually every other Democrat in Congress.”
Notice the part I put in bold? Yet they endorsed Kosmas. Why didn’t they slam her on this? She is in Congress, right?
The only time that the Orlando Sentinel seems to veer off their predictable endorsement path is when they have an issue with a current elected official that, honestly, will win his or her district by a decent margin. Take some of the State House races for example. The Sentinel slammed Stephen Precourt for becoming too radical. While this doesn’t seem to be a problem with their endorsement of Rubio, who they admit is “in” with the Tea Party Express, it seems to be a problem for Precourt. Why the double standard?
Anyway, the point here is that Precourt’s opponent, Lee Douglas, doesn’t have a chance of winning this race. Same goes for Leo Curz in House District 33 and Steve Barnes in District 34. Though these are good candidates, they won’t be able to win this November. The numbers just don’t go their way.
It seems like it is these type of non-high profile races where the Sentinel actually goes against the grain. Yet in the “big races”, they don’t pick who will be “better for Central Florida” like they always claim. They pick who is going to win.
Now their endorsement for governor hasn’t come out yet, but I bet that Alex Sink will get the Sentinel nod. Why? Well, again, she is leading in the polls and is now looking more and more like the possible winner. Therefore, put your money on Sink.
The Orlando Sentinel’s style of handing out endorsements is so predictable, I am starting to wonder when they are going to start posting Vegas odds on certain statewide races. Because, honestly, their endorsement process is a joke.