Philly Daily News: "Four Wasted Years"


Say what you will about John Kerry, Philadelphia’s commuter tabloid, the Daily News, today handed the Bush campaign some very bad news in the key state of Pennsylvania with a cover page and two-page editorial blasting the president’s policies, endorsing Kerry for president, and instructing readers how to help elect him.

In the first mainstream newspaper endorsement of this election year, the Daily News, which is owned by the Philadelphia Inquirer Co. and the Knight-Ridder chain, the editors say the Bush administration, “one of the most ideologically driven and divisive administrations in recent times” has been a “failure,” and that the past four year “have been wasted.”

Taking a position on the war that goes well beyond candidate Kerry’s spongy stance, the Daily News says Bush “wasted the opportunity to lead an international movement against al Qaeda, the real terrorist threat, ” instead leading the nation into a “senseless” war against Iraq. It goes on to mock the claim of a handover of sovereignty to Iraqis, saying, “but our troops will remain-and will have to remain for years to come.”

On the domestic side, the endorsement article says Bush took a trillion-dollar surplus left at the end of the Clinton administration “and wasted it with tax cuts for the wealthiest” and that as deficits soared, that a “tax cuts fix everything ideology prevented his administration from changing what clearly is the wrong course.”

The article also attacks Bush on job creation, saying that despite a pickup in hiring, there has been a net job loss during the Bush years, and that “Many of the new jobs pay less.”

On the pro-Kerry side, the editorial is less hard-hitting, but still forceful. It claims Kerry has been “steadfast” in supporting “the principled and intelligent use of American power in the world.” It hails Kerry’s call to roll back tax cuts for those earning more than $200,000 a year, and says he will also “withdraw the special privileges given to polluting industries and the oil companies.

An assistant editorial page editor at the paper, Michael Schefer, says the publication plans to run additional editorials in support of Kerry over the next months and will continue to promote his candidacy. As the editorial puts it, “We will further make the case for Kerry in future editorials. For now, let’s concentrate on the current president and why he must be defeated.”

Schefer says the paper has traditionally been more liberal than its sister publication the Inquirer, which has been growing more conservative in recent years, but he says the earliest it has endorsed a candidate in the past was in 1996, when it ran an endorsement of Bill Clinton on the last day of the Democratic convention.

While the Wednesday front-page editorial’s claims regarding Kerry may be naïve or overly optimistic, the impact of this powerful and unprecedented early endorsement, before the candidate has even been formally nominated, could be profound.

The Daily News has a circulation of 150,000, about half of which is in the city of Philadelphia, and half in the surrounding suburbs. That represents about one in nine or 10 households in a metropolitan area of 5 million.

The region is heavily Democratic, and provided Democrat Al Gore with his margin of victory (200,000 out of 4.6 million votes cast, with Nader receiving 100,000 votes) in Pennsylvania in 2000. The paper notes that half the electorate didn’t vote in that election and says it hopes its editorial stance will convince those many Philadelphia Democrats who sat out the 2000 election to come out for Kerry this time. The editorial, besides endorsing Kerry, gives readers detailed instructions on how to register to vote on line, how to go about getting others to vote, and where to go to get more information on Kerry.

Pennsylvania is one of 18 so-called swing states, where the 2004 election is likely to be decided, and was one of those that Republicans have been placing high hopes on.

The Daily News editorial suggests that Republicans may have a harder time turning the state Red than they had hoped.

DAVE LINDORFF is the author of Killing Time: an Investigation into the Death Row Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal. His new book of Counterpunch columns titled “This Can’t be Happening!” to be published this fall by Common Courage Press.


More articles by:

Dave Lindorff is a founding member of ThisCantBeHappening!, an online newspaper collective, and is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press).

November 14, 2019
Laura Carlsen
Mexico’s LeBaron Massacre and the War That Will Not Cease
Joe Emersberger
Oppose the Military Coup in Bolivia. Spare Us Your “Critiques”
Ron Jacobs
Trump’s Drug Deal Goes to Congress: Impeachment, Day One
Paul Edwards
Peak Hubris
Tamara Pearson
US and Corporations Key Factors Behind Most Violent Year Yet in Mexico
Jonah Raskin
Love and Death in the Age of Revolution
Robert Hunziker
Climate Confusion, Angst, and Sleeplessness
W. T. Whitney
To Confront Climate Change Humanity Needs Socialism
John Feffer
Examining Trump World’s Fantastic Claims About Ukraine
Nicky Reid
“What About the Children?” Youth Rights Before Parental Police States
Binoy Kampmark
Incinerating Logic: Bush Fires and Climate Change
John Horning
The Joshua Tree is Us
Andrew Stewart
Noel Ignatiev and the Great Divide
Cesar Chelala
Soap Operas as Teaching Tools
Chelli Stanley
In O’odham Land
November 13, 2019
Vijay Prashad
After Evo, the Lithium Question Looms Large in Bolivia
Charles Pierson
How Not to End a Forever War
Kenneth Surin
“We’ll See You on the Barricades”: Bojo Johnson’s Poundshop Churchill Imitation
Nick Alexandrov
Murder Like It’s 1495: U.S.-Backed Counterinsurgency in the Philippines
George Ochenski
Montana’s Radioactive Waste Legacy
Brian Terrell
A Doubtful Proposition: a Reflection on the Trial of the Kings Bay Plowshares 7
Nick Pemberton
Assange, Zuckerberg and Free Speech
James Bovard
The “Officer Friendly” Police Fantasy
Dean Baker
The Logic of Medical Co-Payments
Jeff Mackler
Chicago Teachers Divided Over Strike Settlement
Binoy Kampmark
The ISC Report: Russian Connections in Albion?
Norman Solomon
Biden and Bloomberg Want Uncle Sam to Defer to Uncle Scrooge
Jesse Jackson
Risking Lives in Endless Wars is Morally Wrong and a Strategic Failure
Manuel García, Jr.
Criminalated Warmongers
November 12, 2019
Nino Pagliccia
Bolivia and Venezuela: Two Countries, But Same Hybrid War
Patrick Cockburn
How Iran-Backed Forces Are Taking Over Iraq
Jonathan Cook
Israel is Silencing the Last Voices Trying to Stop Abuses Against Palestinians
Jim Kavanagh
Trump’s Syrian See-Saw: From Pullout to Pillage
Susan Babbitt
Fidel, Three Years Later
Dean Baker
A Bold Plan to Strengthen and Improve Social Security is What America Needs
Trump’s Crime Against Humanity
Victor Grossman
The Wall and General Pyrrhus
Yoko Liriano
De Facto Martial Law in the Philippines
Ana Paula Vargas – Vijay Prashad
Lula is Free: Can Socialism Be Restored?
Thomas Knapp
Explainer: No, House Democrats Aren’t Violating Trump’s Rights
Wim Laven
Serve With Honor, Honor Those Who Serve; or Support Trump?
Colin Todhunter
Agrarian Crisis and Malnutrition: GM Agriculture Is Not the Answer
Binoy Kampmark
Walls in the Head: “Ostalgia” and the Berlin Wall Three Decades Later
Akio Tanaka
Response to Pete Dolack Articles on WBAI and Pacifica
Nyla Ali Khan
Bigotry and Ideology in India and Kashmir: the Legacy of the Babri Masjid Mosque