8.5.10 Editor’s Desk

By : Steve Blanchard
Comments: 0

SteveBlanchardHeadshotI am always thankful for my DVR, but I’m rarely as excited about the amazing digital technology as I am during election season.

Most of my favorite shows await me on my schedule thanks to that magic box and I have the luxury of fast forwarding through those loud and annoying commercials. I’m always floored by how many times the late Billy Mays still shows up on my screen.

However, there are plenty of other times that I watch a show or the news and find myself stuck in the myriad of political campaign ads that don’t educate me on what the featured candidate will do to improve my life, but rather how his or her opponent sucks so bad that I shouldn’t vote for them. It doesn’t matter to what political party the candidate belongs or to what office he or she hopes to get elected.

Every message seems to be the same—“Don’t vote for my opponent!” To me this tactic implies that the person paying for the ad is simply the lesser of two evils.

As I write this we are still more than two weeks away from the August primary elections. But recently, I have had several readers approach me personally and through our website to ask me who Watermark endorses for particular races. One letter writer even seemed a bit upset with us because Watermark hadn’t told him for whom to vote. I tried to write him back and explain that we were still vetting candidates and watching the races closely, but his address bounced the message back to me as undeliverable.

Journalists have traditionally endorsed candidates in races ranging from local city council representatives to the President of the United States. The press has played a vital role in sharing perspective on candidates, revealing truths and backing the best person for a given position. But that seems to be harder to do these days, thanks to the flip-flopping tactics of our leaders and the stupidity too many candidates reveal through new media.

In the beginning of this election season I was drawn to Alex Sink as my pick for Florida’s governor. The Democratic chief financial officer got my attention when she spoke at a rally for LGBT rights back toward the beginning of the year. That, coupled with her energy policy and her watchdog tactics she uses when holding the government accountable were impressive to me. Then, a few weeks ago, she said she didn’t support same-sex marriage but did find civil unions as a legitimate compromise.

I was disappointed.

I’m not one to vote along party lines, but it’s more difficult for me to find a favorite among Sink’s Republican rivals. All we seem to learn about Bill McCollum and Rick Scott is that they despise each other and argue over who hates illegal immigrants more. Every commercial is an attack ad and rarely do they give us any insight as to what they will do to improve life in Florida. I can’t forgive McCollum for his support of Florida’s ban on gays and lesbians adopting in the state and I believe his handling of the George Rekers “Rentboy Scandal” will sink him this year.

And that’s just one race in Florida. I don’t have the room to discuss the drama-laden Charlie Crist and Marco Rubio/Kendrick Meek and Jeff Greene Senate races in this space.

During the next week, the staff of Watermark and I will look even more closely at the candidates appearing on the Aug. 24 ballots within our coverage area. We will see where each stands on the big issues, how they view the LGBT community and our rights, and then offer our suggestions for the voting booth in the next issue. We’ll look at statewide races and local showdowns. We’ll also look at endorsements from political groups like Equality Florida, Stand Up Florida and others when making our decisions.

Obviously, we have our work cut out for us. Each race is different and candidates’ stands on issues seem to change weekly. But we will do our best to provide accurate portrayals of who we believe is the best person for the job in question.

I just wish I could get my DVR to do this for me, too.

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