editorial (2006-41)

Metro Pulse Endorsements

Ford, Duncan and Bredesen deserve your support in the November election

Metro Pulse Endorsements

Harold Ford Jr. is the right person at the right time to represent Tennessee in the U.S. Senate.

The Memphis congressman has shown that he is careful to consider all sides of the weighty issues brought before Congress in his tenure in the House of Representatives.

His is the brand of conservatism that the Republican leaders in the Bush administration and the Senate have failed to show. He does not jump to conclusions or react impulsively to the pressures presented by partisanship.

Ford’s legislative style is the kind that is needed by the Democratic Party’s leadership in extricating this country from the bloody mess the administration has made of its war in Iraq while protecting American interests from the threat of continued acts of terrorism as that threat is projected by elements of Islam that are dedicated to a holy war against the West.

There is still hope that the United States and its allies may be able to stem the proliferation of nuclear weapons in such unstable nations as North Korea and Iran through diplomacy, if changes are made in the way U.S. foreign policy is conducted. And we feel that Ford is among those whose clear thinking can help promote successful diplomatic gestures that could bring those worrisome situations under better control.

Ford’s positions on domestic issues such as health care, education and Social Security will serve Tennesseans well in the Senate.

We endorsed him in the Democratic primary election, and we also endorsed Ford’s opponent, former Chattanooga Mayor Bob Corker, in the Republican primary, in part because he was running against two Republican candidates who were striving to posit themselves as representatives of that party’s far-right wing.

Corker’s general election campaign has been a disaster, as he has managed to allow himself to be aligned with that radical right wing. His campaign was pushed in that direction by the Republican National Committee, whose assistance he surely did not need, as it produced a hail of negative campaign advertising against Ford, attempting to portray the congressman as a knee-jerk liberal, a characterization that is far from the truth. We believe that Corker is a good man who has been co-opted by the kind of national Republicans who have gotten this nation into its present political morass.

We enthusiastically endorse Rep. Harold Ford’s candidacy in the Nov. 7 general election.

Likewise, we endorse the candidacy of U.S. Rep. John J. “Jimmy” Duncan Jr. for reelection, as the 2nd District congressman has lifted, as Rep. Ford has, the voice of reason in Congress on the issues of Iraq and national security, warning of the futility in pursuing the war in Iraq and of the potential loss of personal and collective freedoms confronting Americans under the Homeland Security Act and the Bush administration’s pursuit of unchecked authority in that arena.

In the state of Tennessee’s races, we endorse the reelection of Gov. Phil Bredesen to a second term in the governor’s office. Bredesen has demonstrated a commitment to securing better jobs in the state, and his efforts to manage the burgeoning costs of health care have shown at least moderate success. Bredesen’s initiatives in education, particularly in his institution of a pre-K schooling program, have been admirable, and though he is a Democrat, he has kept the state’s business community, ordinarily Republican-oriented, happy and growing.

Only three of the races for seats from Knoxville in the Tennessee General Assembly are contested.

In those races we endorse Democrat state Rep. Harry Tindell for reelection in the 13th District and Democrat state Rep. Joe Armstrong for reelection in the 15th District. Both Tindell and Armstrong have shown themselves over their years in the Legislature to be strong advocates for Knoxville and Knox County, and they deserve to be returned to those legislative seats.

On the other hand, the Republican incumbent in the 18th District has become the embodiment of embarrassment for this community. Rep. Stacey Campfield is opposed by Democrat Schree Pettigrew and Independent David Garrett, Jr., and we endorse Ms. Pettigrew, a law firm employee and advocate for education, for election to the seat held by Campfield.

Of the unopposed candidates for reelection to the state House, we add our endorsements to state Rep. Park M. “Parkey” Strader in the 14th District and state Rep. Harry Brooks in the 19th District. Both Republicans, Strader and Brooks have acquitted themselves well in representing both their districts and the community at-large.

Incumbent Reps. Bill Dunn in the 16th District and Frank Nicely in the 17th, have not earned our endorsement, though those two Republicans will return to the Legislature unopposed.

We do endorse both state senators from Knoxville and Knox County who are running for reelection. They are Republican Sens. Randy McNally and Tim Burchett. McNally, chairman of the Senate Republican caucus, has been a leader in the ethics reform movement in the General Assembly, and Burchett, though some of the legislation he has advanced may seem a little loopy, has proven himself an effective lawmaker with considerable influence in the Senate.

The important thing for citizens of Knoxville and Knox County to remember is to cast their votes in this election, either through early voting, which begins Oct. 18, or on election day, Nov. 7. If you don’t vote, you should have no say in how federal, state and local government serves or fails to serve you in the coming two years and beyond.