The Dangers of Phoning it In

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Sept. 29 2010 8:01 AM

The Dangers of Phoning it In

I'm generally a fan of the Washington Examiner, despite a silly complaint I had back in May over a gossip item the paper ran about me. I like most of the paper's political columns, especially the ones turned in by Gene Healy and Tim Carney. But man oh man, are the paper's horse race political columns getting snooze-worthy. I'm not even sure that Michael Barone woke up before writing this one about "the Democratic party shrinking back to its bicoastal base."
Nowwe see Barack Obama campaigning at the University of Wisconsin atMadison, in Dane County where he won 73 percent of the vote in 2008,chiding students for their apparent apathy. Sen. Russ Feingold, wholives in Middleton, four miles away, was unable to make it -- and it'snot the first Obama event in Wisconsin he's skipped.
Actually, Feingold did make it to the rally, announcing his intentions in a Tuesday afternoon tweet and giving a brief speech from the stage. I noticed the mistake in the free print edition of the paper, but it's still online. Barone's correct that Feingold skipped a previous Obama event, but his arrival at the Wisconsin rally was genuinely interesting, as Democrats are currently in a battle to overcome voter anger over the rotten economy* by driving up enthusiasm with their base, and Feingold, unable to run the sort of "I'm not like the others" campaign he usually runs, has signed up in that battle. Anyway, it might be more interesting than another variation of the "polls show Dem doom" column.
 
*Basically all horse race columns could be replaced by the phrase "voters want jobs and are angry that they can't get them."
Advertisement
 
UPDATE: Betsy Rothstein follows up and notes a correction from the paper, which is good. I quibble with her headline, though. Like I said, I think the paper's political coverage as a whole is good. But the columns by Byron York and Michael Barone, the two bigfoot conservative reporter/pundits whose hiring announced the Examiner's arrival as a top political source, too frequently just confirm what conservatives are already thinking or hoping about the GOP's political fortunes. They are exceptions , but as an owner of eight Barone Almanacs of American Politics and York's fantastic The Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy , I want more.

David Weigel, a former Slate politics reporter, is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics

TODAY IN SLATE

Medical Examiner

Here’s Where We Stand With Ebola

Even experienced international disaster responders are shocked at how bad it’s gotten.

Why Are Lighter-Skinned Latinos and Asians More Likely to Vote Republican?

A Woman Who Escaped the Extreme Babymaking Christian Fundamentalism of Quiverfull

The XX Factor
Sept. 22 2014 12:29 PM A Woman Who Escaped the Extreme Babymaking Christian Fundamentalism of Quiverfull

Subprime Loans Are Back

And believe it or not, that’s a good thing.

It Is Very Stupid to Compare Hope Solo to Ray Rice

Building a Better Workplace

In Defense of HR

Startups and small businesses shouldn’t skip over a human resources department.

How Ted Cruz and Scott Brown Misunderstand What It Means to Be an American Citizen

Divestment Is Fine but Mostly Symbolic. There’s a Better Way for Universities to Fight Climate Change.

  News & Politics
Politics
Sept. 22 2014 6:30 PM What Does It Mean to Be an American? Ted Cruz and Scott Brown think it’s about ideology. It’s really about culture.
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 22 2014 5:38 PM Apple Won't Shut Down Beats Music After All (But Will Probably Rename It)
  Life
Atlas Obscura
Sept. 23 2014 9:01 AM Tristan Da Cunha: Life on the World's Most Remote Island
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 22 2014 7:43 PM Emma Watson Threatened With Nude Photo Leak for Speaking Out About Women's Equality
  Slate Plus
Slate Plus
Sept. 22 2014 1:52 PM Tell Us What You Think About Slate Plus Help us improve our new membership program.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 23 2014 8:46 AM How Men Talk About Relationships in Rom-Coms: While Playing Sports
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 22 2014 6:27 PM Should We All Be Learning How to Type in Virtual Reality?
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 23 2014 7:00 AM I Stand with Emma Watson
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.