I'm not going to rehash the discussion of The Tennessean's oddball decision to endorse Romney. My position is that their endorsement of Romney makes no sense — not because of the liberal legacy of The Tennessean, but because of all the things they wrote immediately before endorsing Romney. It's as if whoever wrote the last few paragraphs didn't read any of the paragraphs that came before.
Instead, I'd just like to point you to the Free Press side of the editorial page at the Times-Free Press, where the Free Press endorses Gary Johnson.
If you were looking for a model of how to make an endorsement, you would be hard-pressed to find a better example. Like The Tennessean, the Free Press is endorsing a guy readers might be surprised to see them endorsing. But look at this beautiful writing.
It starts out with a clear statement about the editorial vision of that side of the opinion page:
For more than 80 years, the Free Press editorial page has been a voice for free market economic philosophies, personal responsibility and limited, responsible government. Endorsing the presidential candidate who most thoroughly represents those values has been an important function of the Free Press editorial page for nearly as long.
It then acknowledges that this means it normally endorses the Republican candidate for President. It explains why it's not going to do that this year. And then it outlines a coherent list of reasons that match the editorial vision of that side of the opinion page. Then, to top it off, there's a nice discussion about whether voting for Johnson is a waste.
Some may argue that voting for a minor party candidate is a waste of a vote. While Johnson won't win on Nov. 6, the more votes Johnson receives, the more the Republican and Democratic parties are forced to consider adopting his policies. Voting for Johnson is the most effective way to inject the ideas of liberty and limited government into the political mainstream.
Others claim that it is wise to vote for the lesser of two evils. The problem with that, however, is that voting for evil only leads to more evil. A vote is an affirmation that a candidate is on the right track, but Barack Obama and Mitt Romney clearly aren't when it comes to limiting government, promoting individual liberty and protecting free market economic principles. Voting for bad policies and unprincipled people will only ensure that parties will give voters more of the same bad choices in the future.
I disagree with telling people to vote for Johnson, obviously, because I am a hippie liberal. But this is smart writing that understands its audience and talks to them like they're grown-ups who can engage in thoughtful discussions.
This is the kind of endorsement that all Tennesseans deserve from their local papers.