- The Washington Times - Monday, October 30, 2006

The Washington Post’s editorialists think that eight-term Virginia Democratic Rep. Jim Moran is pretty awful as Old Dominion lawmakers go. But since he’s likely to win, and since they’ll have to deal with the fallout if they fail to support his re-election bid, they threw Mr. Moran a courtesy endorsement yesterday. This is a profile in cynicism.

“In Virginia’s 8th District,” The Post writes, “we have been critical of Rep. James P. Moran, Jr., a Democrat whose past bouts of hot temper, atrocious judgment and ethical bumbling cast doubt on his fitness for office. Nor have we forgotten his pernicious remark that Jewish Americans bore special responsibility for leading the nation into war in Iraq.” But since Mr. Moran “is unlikely to be dislodged,” and since he “had a decent record in the past two years,” The Post endorses him. The tepidity looks all the worse alongside The Post’s praise for its two endorsed Virginia Republican lawmakers. Rep. Tom Davis is “a force to be reckoned with … energetic, practical and astute” (We agree wholeheartedly). Rep. Frank Wolf is noted for “undisputed diligence, candor, active legislative approach … [and being] more than a party-line Republican” (We also agree wholeheartedly).

To put it leftishly, The Post has not spoken truth to power. Quite the opposite.

The endorsement editorial is a strange creature for any newspaper, much more art than science, with plenty of room for interpretation. But it calls to use all the editorial-writing faculties: Analysis, strong opinion, recommendation and flair. If a newspaper cannot editorialize believably, it needs to rethink its approach.

Of Mr. Moran’s challenger, “[i]ntelligent and eager to serve” was how The Post described Republican Tom O’Donoghue, a lawyer, Iraq and Afghanistan veteran and major in the Army Reserves, but green and too unversed in local issues to endorse. (Funny that. Being unversed in local issues hasn’t prevented The Post from endorsing James Webb in his bid to unseat Virginia Sen. George Allen.)

Maybe it’s Mr. O’Donoghue’s bank account, which has almost no money in it to face a heavily Democratic district, and his corresponding lack of a modern campaign machine.

So here’s our endorsement: We support Mr. O’Donoghue. He doesn’t agree with us on all the issues — prominently Iraq — but rightly argues that border security is the first step to fixing our immigration woes, that energy independence requires tapping domestic sources in the short term and innovation in the long run, and is leaps and bounds more acceptable than Mr. Moran, who scores a 4 percent from the American Conservative Union.


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