But occasionally there comes an editorial page stance that matters. The Des Moines Register has endorsed Mitt Romney. The Register is not quite the statewide paper that it once was, but it is still clearly the most prominent paper in a state that is closely divided and has 6 critical electoral votes. The endorsement editorial is very much worth reading, because it tends to appeal to the high-minded affluent voters that can be found in large numbers on the west side of Des Moines and in its west side suburbs in Polk County and fast-growing Dallas County to the west. (Iowa was admitted to the Union in 1846, when the president was James K. Polk and the vice president was a Philadelphia banker named George M. Dallas, after whom Dallas, Texas, was also named.) The Register endorsed mostly Republicans from 1912 to 1960; it endorsed Lyndon Johnson and Hubert Humphrey in 1964 and 1968 and Richard Nixon in 1972; it has endorsed Democrats in every election since up until now. This is in line with a lot of editorial pages over the last century. They were Republican, but sort of thoughtful, up through the 1960s, and Democratic, but sort of thoughtful, from the 1970s on.

It is in the interest of the Romney campaign to transmit the text of the Register endorsement to voters in affluent suburbs all over the country; it is the kind of thing that will appeal to them, as they roll back from their trend of going more and more Democratic starting in 1992 and culminating in 2008 and recoil from the big government excesses of the Obama administration this year.