Could Romney take Pennsylvania? And who would “do us all a favor by not voting”?

Is there a chance Mitt Romney could win the battleground state of Pennsylvania? The Romney camp must think so, as the Governor and his wife Ann made a last-ditch stop there today, in Pittsburgh.

The Romney team’s internal polling may suggest he has a real shot for an upset victory in the Keystone state. Clearly his campaign was investing; having been back in the ‘Burgh last weekend I can attest that the pro-Romney television commercials were coming back to back there over the weekend.

Perhaps most significantly, yesterday the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette ran a weird editorial appealing to Pennsylvanians not to vote. Yes, you read that correctly. The Post-Gazette, Pittsburgh’s newspaper of record, was urging Pittsburghers, “Please don’t vote: if TV ads are your election source, sit this one out.”  The argument was framed thus: because the state’s residents are being suddenly deluged with political ads (a reflection of both teams’ perception that the state is “in play”), and because these ads work on supposedly uninformed voters, anyone who is otherwise undecided or unmotivated but influenced by these ads should just stay home.

It states, “Some people would do us all a favor by not voting.”

And who might those people be?

Clearly, it is potential supporters of Governor Romney, who might be undecided and swayed by an ad at the last minute, who, in the eyes of the Post-Gazette’s editorial board, “would do us all a favor by not voting.”

The editorial purports to address both voters who would be prompted to support “Republican challenger Mitt Romney or the Democratic incumbent, Barack Obama.” But the reality is, more pro-Romney ads were airing in Pa. over the weekend, and what is atypical here is the chance at this late hour that Pennsylvania, whose electoral votes have swung Democratic in every Presidential election since 1988, might go the other way this time.

Today The Post-Gazette ran an editorial arguing the opposite, that voters should cast their ballots. What changed?  Today’s argument is framed in the context of voter ID not being necessary. Today’s headline is, “Cast your ballot: for most voters today, proof of ID is not needed.”

Can anyone imagine the editorial board of a newspaper arguing that, if people haven’t gotten their acts together to obtain a valid photo ID, they “would do us all a favor by not voting?” It’s one thing to argue that ID should be necessary, it’s another to disparage the value of someone’s vote.

What a difference a day–or a political perspective–makes.

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