New York Times
By Jennifer Steinhauer
February 18, 2016
In the world of insta-pundits and unmonitored comments, newspaper editorials may seem quaint, evoking cranky gentlemen of a certain age banging away with wrath on their keyboards about the incandescent issues of the day.
But for senators from places where good governance and political courage are viewed as inherent state virtues, a critical editorial suggesting that a lawmaker has acted outside the accordance of either can still sting. And the Supreme Court contretemps has captured the attention of the civic watchdogs.
In New Hampshire, The Concord Monitor had harsh words on Wednesday for Senator Kelly Ayotte, the state’s first-term Republican, over her decision to support Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader from Kentucky, in his efforts to block President Obama from bringing a Supreme Court justice nominee to the Hill.
“Jumping on the anti-nomination bandwagon calls into question the sincerity of Ayotte’s recent breaks with her party over immigration and Obama’s attempt to address climate change by ordering a cap on carbon emissions,” the left-leaning editorial board wrote. “Her high court position is wrong, and she should quickly reverse it.”
In Wisconsin, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and Capital Times editorial boards both went after Senator Ron Johnson, the Republican who has been somewhat flexible on his positions, at first siding firmly with Mr. McConnell but then telling a local radio station that a vote might be in the offing. A news article in The Morning Call, the hometown paper of Senator Pat Toomey, Republican of Pennsylvania, suggested his office was being facile with the facts about past nominations during election years.
Local editorial boards have also targeted Senator Rob Portman, Republican of Ohio, and Senator Charles E. Grassley, the Iowa Republican who takes his state responsibilities so seriously he religiously visits each of its 99 counties each year, over the same issue. The political class knows these editorials can have bite at home, which is why Democrats have sent them out this week, almost like mean letters from home, as their evidence that Republicans are on the wrong side of the issue.
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