Neocons the nation over got a little thrill up their legs this spring, when News Corporation overlord Rupert Murdoch said he might uncage the editorial-page pitbulls at his Wall Street Journal to issue presidential endorsements for the first time since Herbert Hoover was president (!). Sure, newspaper endorsements are useless in presidential races, but the Journal's frenzied rantings would have been kind of fun to read, assuming they did not give you rabies. But when the Journal issued its big McCain editorial this weekend, it was just all, "Meh, he's OK."
As Slate's Big Money put it, on its WSJ-critiquing Twitter stream, "So...is this an endorsement? If so, it's the world's most tepid."
Very true. The Journal of Wall Street didn't seem ready to lavish praise on the candidate who blamed the economic meltdown on "greed and corruption" on... Wall Street:
If the 2008 election were solely about character and experience, Mr. McCain would be winning in a walk... Mr. McCain's bad luck is to be running in a year when character and experience aren't enough. His party is at a low public ebb and the financial system imploded only weeks before Election Day.
Looked at individually, most of Mr. McCain's economic proposals are sensibly conservative, and some are even bold. They are superior to Mr. Obama's, and if implemented would make a recession shallower and shorter... But Mr. McCain was never able, or willing, to explain the differences. More broadly, he has never explained to fearful Americans how an economy with Republicans at the helm could fall into this ditch.
...Once the panic hit in September, Mr. McCain's penchant for hyperactivity was also less than reassuring...
In this difficult year, Mr. McCain has had the harder sale to make. His admirable personal tenacity has been better than his variable political argument. We'll find out Tuesday if biography trumps hope.
There you have it: Vote McCain and defeat hope.
Also: Never seek an endorsement from the Wall Street Journal.