Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Congressional Endorsement - New York Style

Today's NY Times carries an endorsement for the Democratic Party's Diane Farrell. Their endorsement changes course from long time support of Republican Chris Shays. While this is a New York race, the arguments to elect the Democratic candidate, individuals aside, hold up across the board from state to state. A vote for Republican incumbents, no matter their local stature, is a vote to continue the egregious failures of the GOP. So, in Oklahoma, a vote for incumbents Sullivan, Lucas and Cole is a vote in favor of failed policies in Iraq and failure to bring "oversight to a reckless White House." Read the story below from the Times. Then encourage all your friends and families, neighbors and coworkers to vote for Democrats on November 7th. It's not personal, it's politics and it's about a new direction for America. Vote for Alan Gentges in CD1. Vote for Dan Boren in CD2. Vote for Sue Barton in CD3. Vote for Hal Spake in CD4. Vote for Dr. David Hunter in CD5.

October 25, 2006
A Congressional Endorsement

The most fundamental rule of democracy is that when elected officials fail repeatedly, voters throw them out of office. If the polls are anywhere near accurate, most Americans have concluded that the Republican Party — particularly the Republican majority in the House of Representatives — has failed egregiously. On Iraq. On ethics. On oversight of a reckless White House. But that conviction sometimes comes into conflict with the feeling that a good representative should be rewarded with re-election, without regard to party.

All of that brings us to Representative Christopher Shays, a Republican from Connecticut’s Fourth District. Mr. Shays has been in office for nearly 20 years, during which his state has grown increasingly Democratic. This year his race with Diane Farrell, a former first selectwoman of Westport, is regarded as one of the tightest in the nation.

The Times has endorsed Mr. Shays in every race in which he has faced a serious opponent. While this page has disagreed with him on many issues — from tax cuts for the wealthy to warrantless wiretapping — we have admired his independence and respected his leadership on issues like campaign finance reform.

Still, as his party has moved to the right, Mr. Shays has taken more and more stands with which we have profound disagreement. His position on immigration reform is far closer to the crabbed, xenophobic stance of the House Republicans than the fairer, bipartisan approach of the Senate. During the campaign, his remarks about the treatment of prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison — which he minimized as “something less than torture” — were disturbing.

Ms. Farrell, Mr. Shays’s opponent, is an excellent candidate. After eight years as first selectwoman, she has a better understanding than most legislators of the impact of federal mandates and tax policy on local government. She is smart and articulate, and her positions on the issues are extremely well thought-out.

When Ms. Farrell first challenged Mr. Shays two years ago, The Times chose to endorse him as a rare voice for moderation within a Republican caucus that seemed bent on distracting the electorate with assaults on gay marriage, flag burning and abortion while running up the deficit, encouraging a ruinous war in Iraq and supporting a White House bent on exalting the power of the president at the expense of the Constitution.

Now it is time to draw the line. Mr. Shays may be a beacon of integrity, but if he is re-elected, he will vote to continue House control by a party that has repeatedly sold out the country to special-interest lobbyists. His position on Iraq, which has gone through tortuous re-evaluations, now seems basically sensible. But if he is re-elected, he will support a Republican leadership that has refused to question even the most ruinous decisions by George Bush, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld about the conduct of American foreign policy.

Mr. Shays has been a good congressman, but not good enough to overcome the fact that his re-election would help empower a party that is long overdue for a shakeup. This decision is painful, but not difficult, given the high caliber of his opponent. With due respect for Mr. Shays’s service, we strongly endorse Diane Farrell for Congress.

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