What's with the slant to the right?

Question: Is it because we are in North Idaho/Eastern Washington that I get the impression that The Spokesman-Review slant appears to lean heavily to the right? As a Democrat I seem to be in totally Republican territory. Do you feel a list in that direction? -- Jerry Burns, Hayden, Idaho

Answer: I'll respond from the perspective of the editorial page, where listing is not only acceptable but encouraged. But it's not as simple as left-right. Our editorial voice has staked out some fairly liberal positions on social issues such as abortion and gay rights. We're more conservative when it comes to fiscal issues involving tax policy and maintaining a healthy, job-supporting business climate.

When a decision boils down to partisan considerations -- election endorsements, for example -- we favor more Republicans than Democrats, but the ratio is probably around 60-40. As for the community, Eastern Washington and North Idaho are more conservative than the nation at large, but Spokane and Kootenai counties tend to be more liberal -- or at least less conservative -- than the rest of the region.

We reach our opinions independently, though. If we were overly worried about staying in lockstep with public opinion, we would publish our endorsements after the elections rather than before. Overall, we take positions we think are in the best interest of our communities within an appropriate set of values and beliefs. And we count on readers to provide an abundance of alternative viewpoints in the letters forum. -- Doug Floyd, editorial page editor

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