The Albuquerque Journal is using the increasingly symbolic power of its Editorial Board endorsement to read the tea leaves rather than stand on principle.
In one of the oddest “endorsement” editorials ever composed, the board hammers Mayor Tim Keller for four years of failures, but, perhaps anticipating he’ll win re-election anyway, they give him the nod.
Albuquerque is seeing “a surge of violent crime,” the board wrote, and blaming it on national trends “is of no solace whatsoever to the families of homicide victims or anyone else.”
The city has twice broken its annual homicide record during Keller’s four years as mayor, they note.
Crime is up and police response times are down, forcing residents to take the law into their own hands.
And there are more homeless on the streets than ever.
“None of that is the stuff of TV commercials or campaign mailers for an incumbent mayor,” the board wrote, “but those are the realities for Mayor Keller heading into the Nov. 2 election against Bernalillo County Sheriff Manuel Gonzales and radio talk show host Eddy Aragon.”
(This comes one day after another editorial called out Keller for trying to bribe taxpayers with their own money with a new soccer stadium.)
It gets weirder.
In a 69-word run-on, the Journal dismisses both of Keller’s challengers, one for lacking “management experience,” the other for his “disregard for the public’s right to know.” For the remainder of the editorial, not a single clarification is provided.
“And the reality for Albuquerque voters is their choice of candidates consists of a radio talk show host with little to no management experience, a sheriff who talks tough about protecting the public but who’s displayed a complete disregard for the public’s right to know and Keller, the incumbent, who steered the city through the pandemic and has started some initiatives to fight crime and homelessness that have promise.”
“Keller,” they continue, “acknowledges he has learned a lot, and plans to build on that.”
The position shouldn’t be surprising. While the old heads of New Mexico politics claim that the Journal is a Conservative newspaper, its endorsements of Progressive do-gooder policies, bonds, and woke hand-wringing over the ever-increasing number of pampered homeless signal otherwise.
They occasionally publish “Conservative” national columnists, but for a slowly dying publication with less and less original content, syndicated columns are necessary filler for what would otherwise be a blank opinion page.
Journal content spins Left on local and national issues alike, it endorses tax increases at every turn, it is politically benign on hot button issues, it still back a bail reform law that has been disastrous for our communities, and its front-page columnist is a TDS feminist vax-hole.
So the endorsement of Keller from a newspaper more Progressive than it is Conservative isn’t all that surprising. What is shocking is the ratio of insults to compliments in an “endorsement” that reads more like satire.
“Crime is bad, blaming it on national trends is spineless, two of Keller’s four years in office saw record homicides, the police are so busy the citizenry is shooting people themselves now, and we have homeless coming out of our ears. It literally couldn’t get any worse. But, since Keller has learned a lot, well, he’s the guy!”
The following is an actual quote, though it reads like a Saturday Night Live skit: “I’m 10 times the mayor going forward than I was when they elected me to take this job in the first place because of what I’ve learned and what we’ve been through,” Keller told the Journal.
“The Journal Editorial Board endorses Tim Keller for mayor as he is the most qualified candidate for the job.”
If this is an endorsement, I’d hate to see the Journal’s rejection of a candidate.
Luckily for Albuquerque, Journal endorsements carry as much water as a straw hat, and this one seems more like an attempt to compensate for its Mark Moores endorsement in this summer than actual support for Keller.
Most of Albuquerque thinks Keller is very handsome and very bad as mayor. If politics is just a high school popularity contest — and I see no evidence it’s anything more — then Keller has a good chance of re-election. If he wins again, residents would be smart to head to Cabela’s and arm themselves, because if Keller plans to be 10 times the mayor next term as he has been the last four years, y’all are in for some dangerous times.