First, let me stipulate that newspaper endorsements are meaningless in any real sense. Having said that, my guess was that the local fishwrap, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, would grudgingly endorse Hillary Rodham Clinton for President, especially considering the publisher John Robinson Block is feared to be a Trump supporter (and here, with pictures).
Well, the P-G beat my expectation by endorsing...neither candidate:
Ms. Clinton understands the office she seeks, but she might well lose it. Mr. Trump understands something profound about the country – about what we have lost and the people we have left behind, but he understands little about politics or the presidency. And he lacks discipline. For some Americans the choice is between a crook and a nut. What a conundrum.
Neither person has “a first-class temperament,” like Franklin Roosevelt, or for that matter Dwight Eisenhower or Ronald Reagan.
All we can do, as citizens, is set aside the very real personal limitations of these two deeply flawed leaders and try to decide which issues are fundamental, and on which this election should turn. Let us pray that, no matter who wins the presidency, many Americans will be pleasantly surprised. We need the next president to surprise us.
The paper instead provides us with a checklist of issues to consider with editorial board providing "guidance". For example:
[Trump] is dynamic — a builder and deal maker. Being the ultimate political outsider, Mr. Trump, again, has the freedom to experiment. And we need something of the New Deal spirit now — willingness to try new things and throw out what has clearly failed.
You read that right: Trump might present us with a new New Deal.
Ms. Clinton understands that millions of Americans would be damaged physically and financially, perhaps irreparably, if the program is abolished. Clearly we need to repair, not repeal Obamacare. Repeal would be a disaster. Ms. Clinton gets that. But Mr. Trump gets that it is broken and is willing to say so. Arguably, they both get a check here.
I'm sure that Trump and a Republican Congress will give us a classy healthcare system, the best.
A strong national defense.
Many will argue that Ms. Clinton wins this category because she has trod the world stage and knows its contours and its leaders. That’s a fair point.
But the Obama/Clinton record in Syria and Libya is an unmitigated disaster. And Ms. Clinton would make matters worse in Syria by expanding the air war. Further, she would escalate the Cold War with Russia, which could turn into a hot war. Mr. Trump wants to try detente with Putin. We should try, but with eyes wide open. Mr. Trump is enormously naive about Putin – a diabolical gangster by any reckoning.
With a good team, a Trump administration might be able to find a balance between intervention and paralysis by applying a simple principle: Where do the interests and security of the American people lie?
Or Trump will merely let nukes fly in a fit of pique.
And now the "tell":
There is no winner here.
Like Richard Nixon, who won in a landslide in 1972, [Clinton] might not serve out her term. But her dishonesty is more than legal — it is deeply embedded in her every word and gesture. The WikiLeaks provide us many smoking guns, not least of which is this: Nothing about her is genuine.
I would bet a fair amount of money that this nonsense was the compromise that prevented a newsroom revolt.
I had already decided to let my subscription die but had I been on the fence this would have tipped me over.
What a fucking mess.