12:26pm July 18, 2012

Worst. Endorsement. Ever: Detroit Free Press “Slam-dorses” John Conyers

John Conyers

Has anyone ever said the following things to you:  “You’re Special; Just like everyone else”…… “I’ve got nothing better to do Friday….I guess so.” And my personal favorite “We had to go with the best of what was available; and that was you.” These are all wonderful ways of someone telling you that they don’t really want you, they just don’t have any better options, in life, business or any other area. Usually such phrases are reserved for personal interactions but in the case of the Detroit Free Press’s “slam-dorsement” of long term Congressman John Conyers such dispirited ambivalence has now made its way into newspaper political endorsements. Not only was the “Freep’s” endorsement lack-luster, unenthusiastic and downright melancholy, it contained three of the worse concepts that you could ever have in a recommendation letter, or job reference let alone a political endorsement. Below all three of the worst parts of the Detroit Free Press’s words are on display.

Any reference to “Best Chance to Win”

If you put all three of them together — minus their drawbacks — they might make a strong enough candidate to replace Conyers. But the congressman has powerful seniority (he’d presumably chair the Judiciary Committee if Democrats take back the House) and can still deliver when he’s up to it and wants to.

After explain the strengths and weaknesses of the three major challengers to Conyer,s the paper’s editorial stiffly resigns itself to tepidly endorsing Conyers. Any time an endorsement has a reference to who has the best chance of winning, it’s not really an endorsement, it’s more like sports betting advice. In other words, the newspaper is not really telling you who can do the best job representing the people; only who is most likely to end winning so you might as well not waste your vote on the other person.  Not good.

Any list or discussion of your flaws

That alone should not be enough to recommend Conyers for yet another term; his energy has slowed and he is not delivering for his district the way he used to, or the way he should be. Then there is the matter of his wife, Monica, who’s serving a federal prison sentence for shaking down vendors when she was a member of the Detroit City Council;

Ouch! It’s one thing to point out challenges that a candidate may face, when in fact, they probably shouldn’t be mentioned at all in an endorsement, but to lay out a litany of the candidate’s mistakes and issues? To be fair, everything the Detroit Free Press mentions is true, but then again, if you’re going to talk about why a candidate is so flawed why go ahead and bother with an endorsement to begin with? That takes us to the third thing you never want in an endorsement.

Any reference to the end of your career

JOHN CONYERS gets our endorsement, but it is mostly with the hope that he will soon retire from Congress and the district will produce a more viable alternative.

Of course, when you’re endorsing someone purely for the purposes of asking them to retire I guess going through a list of their faults and failures makes more sense. The paper’s staff has decided that giving Conyers, who’s more steeped in corruption and graft over the last 5 years than Kwame Kilpatrick, is deserving of  a final gold retirement watch at the public’s expense. As bad as that sounds, what does that say about the other candidates? Considering that his closest competitor was arrested for armed robbery as a kid, you see the fix that Detroit’s 13th district is in. Most research shows that newspaper endorsements no longer carry much weight in political campaigns. But you have to imagine that an endorsement as bad as this might swing the needle even to the downtrodden folks in Detroit’s 13th district. Besides, what else do they have to do on August 7th?


About the Author

Jason Johnson
Jason Johnson



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  1. MSULiberal

    I think it is worth noting that Conyers' closest competitor is also Michigan's most effective state lawmaker, former law firm manager, former Chief of Staff to a State Rep, former State Rep, and current State Senator. Thanks!

  2. Michigan Dem

    Actually, his closest competitor, according to all polls of the race, money raised, etc is Glenn Anderson and is completely clean. He is a State Senator, Former State Rep., Former City Councilman, Licensed Realtor, and worked for 28 years on the assembly line for Ford.

  3. [...] article originally appeared online at Politic365.com. Share this:FacebookTwitterEmailPrintLike this:LikeBe the first to like this. from → Jason [...]

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