NY Times on VP Picks -- Lots of Conservative Labels, But No Liberals?

July 9th, 2008 2:54 PM

Rounding another turn in the race to November 4, The New York Times's "Election Guide -- Potential Running Mates," compiled by Adam Nagourney and Jeff Zeleny and posted to nytimes.com Monday, handicapped various potential vice presidents for Barack Obama and John McCain.

The Times first counted up twenty-one potential nominees, 11 Democrats and 10 Republicans (Democratic Sen. Jim Webb was removed after he took himself out of consideration).

From the Times, we learned South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham "has occasionally rankled some conservatives by not being conservative enough," that former Pennsylvania governor Tom Ridge might not help with "McCain's already uneasy relations with conservatives," and that South Dakota Sen. John Thune "has strong credentials with social conservatives." In all, there were seven "conservative" labels applied to either politicians or their supporters. 

By contrast, not a single "liberal" was found in a lineup that included John Edwards and Hillary Clinton. The Times didn't even talk about possible opposition from "liberal" voters to some Democratic picks, although the paper had plenty of opportunity to when discussing controversial Sen. Jim Webb, a blood-and-soil Democrat:

But any vetting process would have to take into account the vast writings of Mr. Webb, a former author, who has penned tales about the Confederacy that are controversial in the eyes of some, as well as his on-the-record comments about women serving in the military.

As for "conservative Democrat" Sam Nunn:

Mr. Obama would certainly encounter some heat from his supporters if he turned to Mr. Nunn.

Instead of vague words like "some" or "supporters," why can't the Times simply state the obvious -- that those who would oppose Nunn and Webb are liberals -- in the same manner the paper so freely tosses around the term "conservatives"?