Dan Weintraub feels compelled today to explain that as a politics blogger for the Sacramento Bee, as well as the paper's opinion page columnist, he is above all else an opinion writer about the recall. I don't think he has hidden that, but I suppose some readers who are not as familiar with how newspapers work might have been confused.
To be sure, one of the reasons Weintraub gets cited so much by right-of-center media and blogs is their views coincide. But another reason is that Weintraub puts honest informing above persuading or partisan blather. He was a political reporter for a long time before going to the opinion side, and he values skepticism and fair play. He's believable, even though it's been pretty clear from day one that he likes the Schwarzenegger phenomenon and will give him the benefit of many doubts. He also has dinged Arnold several times and raised good questions, as his post today lists. To his credit Weintraub has refused to run wild with the MEChA story (even Mickey Kaus admits he never really thought Bustamante was a separatist), but I expect he'll keep hitting hard on Indian money and ethnic politics, and those are fair topics for discussion.
To be more perfectly fair, the Bee probably should also give a blog to someone who is more dubious about the recall and leans more liberal. But Weintraub has been an honest enough examiner of the recall scene so far, I think.
The L.A. Times' columnist lineup on the recall, meanwhile, looks more like a glaring mistake every day. They each got the gig because of their style or expertise and not their views, but the more they write the clearer it is they inhabit a fairly narrow range of the political spectrum. King, Lopez, Morrison, Skelton and Hiltzik are all recall disbelievers with only nuances of difference in the details. It already feels way old. Wouldn't one or two of those voices suffice, especially if complemented with a newly vigorous exchange of ideas on the op-ed page? Unfortunately that's not happening either, yet.