Background: Iowa’s Des Moines Register had a tradition of having on-the-record interviews by its editorial board be a prerequisite for consideration for political endorsements. I say ‘had’ because the Obama administration, after ducking the Register for several months, the Obama campaign more or less forced the paper on Tuesday to compromise and take an off-the-record conference call to the Register’s owner/publisher, instead. For those wondering, Romney squeezed in time for the Register several weeks ago; the interview was duly recorded and the audio put on the site.
Anyway, here’s the teachable moment. The Register – rather stupidly, I think – wrote this:
It’s important that I emphasize the White House’s decision won’t play a factor in our board’s final endorsement decision. That would be petty and ridiculous. We take far too seriously what’s at stake this election and what our endorsement should say.
…and that’s precisely why Barack Obama backhanded the Des Moines Register; because he apparently can. The paper endorsed Obama in 2008, Kerry in 2004, Gore in 2000: and judging from the tone of the article, they’re going to endorse Obama anyway this Saturday. Which is fine and their right to do so. But if they do endorse Obama again then no Republican candidate in Iowa should ever agree to the Register’s on-the-record prerequisite ever again. And the candidates should make it clear that they are simply following the precedent set by Barack Obama.
Because there should not be one rule for Democrats, and another one for Republicans. Even if you really, really, really want the Democrat to win.
PS: Again, I fully expect the Des Moines Register to cower like a whipped dog and Barack endorse Obama anyway. That’s not what this is about. This is about not presuming to expect respect from me if you won’t even respect yourself.