Well, it took him a day and a half, but Columbian and former Democratic National Committee Chairman Don Fowler managed to draft a response to our endorsement of Barack Obama (I received it at 10:46 a.m. today):
Don Fowler’s comments on editorial endorsements by The State
Having The State newspaper render judgments about Democrats is like Lucifer rendering judgments about angels. The crack set of philosopher kings at The State have twice endorsed George Bush and twice endorsed Mark Sanford. No further comment required.
No, that’s not an excerpt. That’s the whole message, except for his phone number and e-mail address at the end.
Apparently, we didn’t endorse Don’s preferred candidate. For those of you who don’t know Don, you should. At least you should know that his wife, Carol, is the present state party chair. But in his day, Dr. Fowler has operated on a much grander stage.
Over the years, Don and I have disagreed strongly over one thing: He thinks the political parties are a wonderful, essential part of our political system (hence all the time he’s spent serving one of them). I see the Republican and Democratic parties as anathema, the ruination of the country, destructive forces that foster intellectual dishonesty and prevent the deliberative process from functioning as the nation’s Founders intended. Don is a Democrat, through and through. I am the founder and most ardent proponent of the UnParty.
Given that divide between us, it was pretty much inevitable — looking at it now in retrospect — that we would endorse Barack Obama, the one candidate seeking the Democratic nomination with the goal of leading the nation beyond the nauseating polarization that has characterized the Bush-Clinton years. And it was just as inevitable that Don would disagree most vehemently, and in the hyperpartisan terms that he chose.
Don doesn’t even see the truth, which is that this newspaper has endorsed slightly more Democrats than Republicans in the years I’ve been on this editorial board. We haven’t done that on purpose; party is not a consideration in our deliberations. I wasn’t aware of it until I took the time in 2004 to do a study of the past decade’s endorsements. It just worked out that way. (In fact, in 2006 we endorsed 12 Democrats and 5 Republicans — again, not intentionally. And while that skewed our running average toward Democrats, we sometimes go just as strongly for Republicans, depending on the candidates that year.)
But Don’s apparently not a guy who can understand, or forgive, anyone who has backed a Republican ever. And the partisan filter through which he perceives the world is what divides us.