Monday, October 23, 2006

"We hate that guy, vote for the other guy" 

I try not to pick on the St. Cloud Times editorial board, and particularly not their endorsement process. I know some of them -- Mrs. S has been the citizen rep on the board recently (though not now) -- and compared to the StarTribune (see Mitch's run of coverage of their endorsements, most particularly Mark Ritchie), the Times board is pretty good, albeit with a decidedly DFL bent. I should also note that I co-author a business report which is published in a magazine created by the Times.

But I can't let pass their endorsement in House 14A this morning. This is it in its entirety:

Voters in this district should support Beniek, a DFLer, over Republican incumbent Dan Severson.

Beniek is a moderate choice compared to Severson and his extremist mix of Christianity, politics and conservatism. Combined, those create a daunting vision of a state government intent on legislating morality, not championing equality and fairness.

Setting aside that he is chief author of the amendment to ban gay marriage � itself the most divisive political issue in decades � we cite his response when asked about special-education funding.

Severson said the state should consider "decoupling" from federal mandates. Sorry, but that sounds like he believes Minnesota should forego educating special-needs students because it's too expensive. Yikes.

As for Beniek, while she may be a little too focused on education, at least she's not touting solutions that will forever divide Minnesota voters or leave its most vulnerable children to fend for themselves.

I'm not sure how to read that in any other way than "toss out the Christian right wherever it is found." The second to last paragraph puts words in his mouth; decoupling could mean any number of things short of abandonment of special-needs education. And the best you can say about "too-focused" Beniek is that she's not Severson? I'd think you could find something better to say about a candidate you want to endorse, unless your express purpose is to go negative on Severson.

Combined with a rather vicious comment on another Christian right candidate at the end of yesterday's endorsement -- which, I am told by Mr. Johnson, is a misrepresentation of what he said at the Chamber of Commerce event -- gets a guy to wondering what the problem is with the Times board and candidates who espouse social conservatism based on their understanding of the Bible? Is the Times trying to endorse a particular view of religion? Which could that be?