Which is it? Doug the incompetent or the "last best hope"?
In looking back on the Times-Dispatch's endorsements of gubernatorial candidates, I got a little sidetracked. (Just out of curiosity I wondered if they had ever endorsed a Democrat and unsurprisingly they have endorsed Republicans at least since 1985 when the paper's archive starts online and probably back to Abe Lincoln ... oh, wait ... maybe not Lincoln.) Anyway, it sure is interesting how the paper's position on Doug Wilder has changed. Doug Wilder earned this enthusiastic endorsement for Richmond mayor from the paper last year:
"Who more logical than Doug Wilder, its prime mover, to implement a new governmental arrangement for this beloved city on the James — and to turn it around at last? Who more obvious to move the ball finally across the goal line? There's none better. The Times-Dispatch urges his election as Richmond's first popularly elected Mayor under a plan approved overwhelmingly by the voters a year ago."
"On Tuesday, Richmonders should vote for Doug Wilder - the visionary who is their favorite son, and likely their last best hope."
My what a long way Mr. Wilder has come from this, in 1989, when the T-D endorsed his opponent, Marshall Coleman, for governor:
"First, given Wilder's record in and out of office, we have genuine questions about his ethics, his competence, and his honesty — his pattern of opportunism and deceit. Second, his legislative record belies his current claims to political mainstreamery. Throughout his many years in the State Senate, until elected Lieutenant Governor, Doug Wilder was a legislative bomb-thrower. We intend to discuss the details of his record in future editorials. It is enough to say here that his reported statements this year regarding such issues as the death penalty, taxes, and right-to-work are insulting to Virginia's long tradition of right reason and conservative moderation. ..."
So who changed so dramatically? The paper or Doug? As they are so fond of saying over there on the Editorial pages — just asking ...