Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Billings Gazette causes emergency room visits for coronaries to soar -- endorses Rick Hill

Well, shivver me timbers, but I was wrong. Big time. Last week I predicted Gazette endorsements for Democrats in both of our high-profile races in Montana (for governor and U.S. Senate.) That prediction was based on past endorsement patterns and what has seemed like general editorial attitudes that lean toward AG Bullock and Sen. Tester (and against former Cong. Hill and current Cong. Rehberg.)

But the Gazette endorsed Rick Hill, shocking me, and doubtless many others. (The headline is, of course, a joke -- but there must have been more than a few stunned Republicans staggering around on Sunday morning -- and Democrats having chest pain from sudden attacks of heartburn.)

It isn't the first time I've been wrong and won't be the last. I'm happy to be wrong in this way (just as I will be happy if it turns out that I'm wrong that Gov. Romney was always destined to be a sure general election loser -- I'm actually beginning to believe that there is an outside chance at sanity prevailing in the Presidential race.)

The Gazette endorsement was far from a tepid one. In fact it was downright enthusiastic, which made it all the more remarkable. Just as with other GOP endorsements in this electoral season, the prose doesn't read to me quite like most Gazette editorials. The Romney endorsement in particular was so unlike most Gazette editorials that I wondered aloud to the beloved over breakfast whether the publisher had written it himself rather than having one of the editors write it. But maybe it's more in how I'm reading things than in how they were written...

The cynical, tinfoil-hat-wearing gnome sitting on my left shoulder whispers in my ear that this is a sign that polling data is looking even more favorable for Hill and other Republicans in Montana than we may have thought. Are we looking at a comfortable 6 or 7 point spread for Hill in November? Let's hope so. The pocket-protector wearing gnome on my right shoulder whispers in my ear that I need to stop being paranoid and stop imagining that there are gnomes on my shoulders whispering contradictory things to me.

Anyway, I am now doubling down on my prediction that the Gazette will hold true to its Democratic convictions in the most important race of the season in Montana and endorse Sen. Tester. If I am wrong, I will happily (exuberantly, even) publish a post entitled "I WAS REALLY, REALLY WRONG," and even begin cautiously to harbor hopes that a new editorial endorsement era has arrived...

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