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On Sunday, it was heads-up time at the Tribune. The editorial page pointed out that the next presidential election is just a year away, and promises to be a big one. “One year out, all of us should see Nov. 6, 2012, for the reckoning it will be,” said the Tribune. “By the millions, we’ll decide whether control of a divided, derided Congress swings right or left. Whether our federal government will be less of a debtor . . ." The Tribune didn’t show its hand. It didn’t say why it’s so sure these matters will be decided in 2012 when they weren’t in 2008: the debt didn’t so much as have its hair mussed, while Congress’s swing to the left lasted about one year and ended when Scott Brown was elected to the Senate from Massachusetts.
And the Tribune didn’t say how it thinks they should be decided. It spoke of “bipartisan complicity in our nearly $15 trillion national debt,” of which it allocated $4.3 trillion to President Obama and $4.9 trillion to President George W. Bush, but it didn’t say whether it thinks deficit spending has any place in dealing with an inert economy or whether it thinks taxes should be raised on anyone to help defray the debt. These matters, which will require the Tribune to take actual positions, will apparently be dealt with down the road.
“This is the first in an occasional series of editorials on a defining election in a divided nation,” was the Tribune’s promise to its readers. There was no weasel-wording, no escape hatches, no sly ambiguity. The Tribune editorial page committed itself to writing more editorials.