October 17 2012
I read it twice—was it a hoax?
No, the New York Observer, the trendy, peach-hued New York weekly, actually endorsed Mitt Romney for president.
The crisis of leadership in American government is easily explained: thanks to a flawed presidential primary system that rewards strident rhetoric and hyper-partisanship, candidates tailor their messages to fringe elements in small, unrepresentative states. The result? A nasty, shallow and expensive process that rewards sound bites rather than solutions and gamesmanship instead of ideas.
This year, however, we have witnessed a rare phenomenon in American politics. A candidate has emerged from the rough and tumble of the primaries with his dignity intact. The system has produced not a demagogue but a manager, a candidate whose experience is rooted in the pragmatism of the business world rather than the ideology of partisan politics.
That candidate is Mitt Romney.
You can see why I could hardly believe it.
This is big—not because there is a scintilla of chance that New York will go for Mitt Romney. But because a newspaper that exists to showcase New York sophistication is not supporting President Obama.
(Disclaimer: I am an Observer alum. I was a gossip columnist there, and it was just a wonderful place, even if being a conservative at the Observer was sort of like having two heads.)