Yesterday, I wrote the editorial that I dread each election year — the one dealing with Congress. (Actually, some years we do separates on the individual districts, but this year I decided to do it all in one piece — like ripping off a Band-Aid suddenly.) I put it off until it became the VERY LAST endorsement we did. I’m the one who had to write it, and I took advantage of being the editor to keep postponing it.
Now, before anyone gets all huffy about my dismissive attitude — I think Joe Wilson is a really nice guy who tries hard, and I know that Jim Clyburn is deeply and passionately committed to his constituents. But they are both, to me, emblematic of what is wrong with Congress and with our system for apportioning districts.
They are both deeply committed to the agendas of their respective political parties, and you know how I feel about that. Joe is just breathlessly eager to implement GOP initiatives, and Mr. Clyburn (I don’t feel I know him well enough to call him "Jim"), as the Majority Whip, is the very embodiment of Nancy Pelosi’s House. And I don’t like any of that one bit.
So why don’t I do what Doug always says I should do, and endorse the challengers? Because I have too great a sense of responsibility. (As you know, I’ll make a futile gesture with my own personal vote, but I wouldn’t feel right indulging myself that way on behalf of the newspaper.) For all their partisan flaws, Messrs. Wilson and Clyburn are obviously more knowledgeable and better qualified than the people running against them. I have the greatest respect, admiration and appreciation for young Rob Miller’s service as a United States Marine. (As some of you know, the very first thing I wanted to be as a kid — and one thing I could never be, for medical reasons — is a Marine. So the Corps has a particular mystique for me.) But I can’t see where serving as a captain in the Corps has equipped Mr. Miller for the very different duties of a congressman. I’d like to see some other things on his resume — such as service in some lower elective offices. I have a great reluctance to send people off to Washington before we’ve had a chance to see how they serve in office a little closer to home, where we can keep more of an eye on them.
And from what little I’ve seen of the lady running against Mr. Clyburn, I am deeply unimpressed. Watch the debate on ETV if you doubt me.
Now John Spratt is a somewhat different story. I’ve never been conflicted about endorsing him, because he seems to have so much competence, and his partisanship has been far more muted than either of the aforementioned gentlemen.
Those three are the only districts we endorse in, because those are the areas where we deliver the paper.
Anyway, here’s the endorsement(s).