LTM Editorial: The next four years
Endorsements are tricky. It requires a bit of prognostication and a level of balancing diametrically opposed core beliefs. And while there are certainly those who believe that endorsements are outside the core functions of a newspaper, the Times-Mirror has a strong history of endorsing candidates. We also believe that the national attention paid to Loudoun in recent months have left us as educated on the candidates as any region in the country.
Very seldom do endorsements please more than 50 percent of the people – sometimes they please far less. But it’s our hope that this editorial page will not shy away from controversial topics or unpopular opinions. It is not our intention to override any reader’s personal beliefs, but we hope that they at least provide food for thought. We call it like we see it.
U.S. House of Representatives, 10th District
When selecting our endorsements, the Times-Mirror has a tendency toward deferring to experience. There are few more experienced public servants than Frank Wolf.
Frank Wolf has represented the 10th District of Virginia since 1981. He was a long-time and leading proponent of the Silver Line and has been an outspoken voice for economic sanity regarding the national deficit. Wolf warned us about the U.S. credit rating years before it made national news and has also been critical in moving resources to combat local issues like Lyme disease, gang violence and helping the less fortunate.
While there is a rightful tendency to lament the gridlock in Congress, we’ve yet to see any viable reason to lay the problem on Wolf’s door. In fact, his proposed bipartisan SAFE commission would have gone a long way to reform government and his willingness to confront his own party over the extremism in Grover Norquist ‘s no tax pledge demonstrate him to be the type of congressman we’d like to see the rest of the country adopt.
His opponent Kristin Cabral is a well-intentioned candidate who has seen significant growth on the campaign trail. She understands Virginia families and has a strong background as a federal prosecutor. However, we haven’t seen enough of a unique vision to believe that trading her for a longtime incumbent who understands Washington is best for the district.
Once again, we endorse Rep. Frank Wolf.
U.S. Senate, Virginia representative
Virginia’s rule limiting a governor to one term leaves us with an abundance of strong, qualified candidates on the national stage. This year, we are faced with a decision between two former governors, each with experience on the national stage. Tim Kaine as former Democratic National Committee chair and George Allen as a former U.S. Senator and national figure within the party.
Both are genuine public servants and both want nothing but the best for Virginia. Their experience means that they have a better understanding of the state and how government works than many of those running for office in other areas. Both have called for a bipartisan approach and their respective personalities make these claims ring true.
Allen had a singularly successful term as governor, during a time of prosperity. He made welfare reforms and generally put the house in order. And he is not a culture warrior obsessed with the social issues that seem to emanate from Richmond in recent years.
Alternatively, Gov. Kaine was faced with a more challenging scenario during his tenure, which saw the beginnings of the economic recession. It was a time for tough choices, which forced him to cut the state budget by $5 billion, but there was still the opportunity for an investment in education. The end result was Virginia maintaining its bond rating and its Forbes rank as best state in business. Additionally, he has demonstrated a unique intellectual agility and an openness to new ideas and approaches that the country needs.
In a choice between two former governors, the current economic landscape leaves us favoring the one with experience dealing in hard economic times. We endorse Tim Kaine.
For president, we find ourselves torn between the sitting president Barack Obama and challenger Mitt Romney, not unlike the population at large if one places credence on the various polls.
Unlike many, we do feel strongly that the country is in a better position in 2012 than we were in 2008. Too many people forget how close to the edge we were and the government’s actions to stop job losses is to be commended, particularly the moves that saved the American car industry, prevented a collapse of our banking system and instituted a stimulus plan that appears to have at least stabilized the economy.
But that seems to be where political pundits and the candidates themselves get it wrong. It’s not whether the country is better off than it was four years ago; it is which candidate will put us in a stronger position four years from now.
If there is a problem with the Obama presidency, it’s a problem of overextended expectations. And Obama does need to be scolded for the promises that simply weren’t going to come true in the existing economic times. However, this shouldn’t overshadow the successes of his first term. And in regards to the economy, we’re not there yet but the economic indicators are slowly improving. When he took office, everything was in rapid decline. In itself, this is a strong indicator that the president’s policies deserve more time to show success.
If conservatism would have been the wrong choice to stop the economic free-fall in 2008, it’s a centrist approach that is necessary in 2012. Despite his many accomplishments, the president has been unable to find middle ground with a loggerhead Congress, and the debt accumulated during our attempts to push a recovery is a sword hanging over our heads.
Romney has made what appears to be a sincere push to the center of American politics and articulated an apparently genuine desire to create bipartisan solutions using his experience in business. And despite the acrimony that pervades all national elections, we know that Romney can work with members of the opposing party. His experience as governor of Massachusetts demonstrates that he can reach across the aisle. During this time he steered the state out of a budget deficit and helped to implement a workable state health care system.
And while there are elements within the Republican Party that seem fixated on social issues, Romney has made it increasingly clear that his focus will be on dealing with the economic crisis.
The president has done laudable work in difficult circumstances, but has not adequately articulated what the next steps of our recovery should be. And while we credit the White House with good work in stabilizing the economy, we feel that a Romney presidency is in a better position to make it thrive. The Times-Mirror endorses Mitt Romney.
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