October 23, 2010 11:49:00 PM
As the midterm election approaches, Americans -- north Mississippians among them -- remain mired in recession and disgusted with Washington. Now as two years ago, voter ire has mounted against the party that happens to be in power.
Republicans stand to regain control of the House of Representatives, and possibly even the Senate. Eight years of disastrous Republican policies under George W. Bush are seemingly forgotten, trumped by disappointment over the first two years of the Obama administration and Democratic leadership in Congress.
Mississippi''s 1st District is one of those races that appears too close to call. First-term Democrat Travis Childers and Republican opponent Alan Nunnelee are in a virtual dead heat. A poll commissioned by political news outlet The Hill reported this week that Childers trailed Nunnelee by 5 points. Political analysts say the district is leaning Republican.
We share most Americans'' general distaste of Washington politics, especially the lock-step partisanship displayed by politicians on both sides of the aisle.
The candidate in this race who has a clear record of independent thinking, and voting along with the values and the best interests of most north Mississippians, is Travis Childers. We believe he is the best choice to continue leading north Mississippi in the House of Representatives.
Childers, a former real estate broker and Prentiss County chancery clerk, is a Booneville native. He won a special election to fill the House seat vacated by Roger Wicker, the Republican appointed to the Senate by Gov. Haley Barbour, to fill retiring Sen. Trent Lott''s seat in 2008. Childers won the seat again outright six months later.
During his 2 1/2 years in Washington, Childers has voted both with and against his party. A conservative member of the Blue Dog Coalition of Democrats, Childers has forged a path that marries Mississippi''s conservative values with a heart for the less fortunate in the district. He is firmly pro-gun, and has won the endorsement of the National Rifle Association. He is also anti-abortion.
He has bucked his own party in key votes, against health care reform and cap-and-trade legislation, and gained the endorsement of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. We agree with Childers'' stance that cap-and-trade and many tenets of health care reform will have an adverse effect on Mississippians and Mississippi business. But we also agree that some aspects of health care reform, such as increasing the age of those on family plans and exchanges designed to keep costs down, are positive and should be kept. Childers is among those calling for pieces, not all, of health care reform to be rewritten. This is a common-sense, bipartisan approach.
It''s also common sense that education is key to lifting Mississippi out of recession, and there, Childers votes as a Democrat. Childers has voted for increased funding for education, attempting to restore state-level cuts that had the blessing of Nunnelee, a state senator.
Nunnelee''s campaign would remind us that Childers voted with his party 81 percent of the time. Having met Nunnelee, we believe he will vote with his own party 100 percent of the time. We''d rather have a candidate that displayed some independent thought than one that would tote his party line, no matter the consequences to the people he is representing.
We asked Nunnelee what his first action as a congressman would be. "Fire Nancy Pelosi," was his response. Nunnelee has been running against Pelosi, a polarizing figure far to the left of Childers. He has launched a bus tour called the "take back America" tour. These are cues taken from the national Republican party. We believe he will be indebted to his national party''s policies, and will vote in Washington as he is told.
Nunnelee also said he believes the recession is being driven by fear, a fear he wants to eliminate when he gets to Washington. The fear he speaks of is the fear of tax increases, which have been leveled against the wealthy. The majority of north Mississippians aren''t rich, and have received federal tax cuts. The tax cuts to the wealthy implemented during the Bush years were disastrous. We can''t afford to take the country back to the Bush era.
We asked Nunnelee if there was anything -- anything -- that happened in Washington during the past two years that he agreed with. He responded that nothing came to mind. Maybe that is his true belief, but it displays the lack of thoughtfulness and willingness to compromise that unfortunately rules Washington today.
Childers did display a lack of judgment during this campaign that disappointed us. A television advertisement cited an anonymous comment taken from this newspaper''s website and used it to attribute information attacking Nunnelee. Childers'' campaign was wrong to defend the ad and leave it on the air.
The ad was attacking Nunnelee''s support of what''s called the "fair tax," an across-the-board 23-percent sales tax that would abolish the federal income tax.
Nunnelee, however, hasn''t said that he favors the tax. He also hasn''t said he''s against it, either.
Negative advertising has filled the airwaves in the 1st District. Both candidates are guilty of perpetuating it. So are the national parties, and the political action committees running ads for and against both candidate.
We hold our noses at the distortions in these advertisements.
Keeping the 1st District first
These are delicate times for the nation and for north Mississippi. We are frustrated that the economy has not rebounded. We believe that the Democratic Party has taken some misguided steps over the past two years. The debate over health care, for instance, took energy better spent on job creation and fixing the economy, which should remain Washington''s top priority.
We believe, however, that the 1st District is best served by an independent thinker in Washington, who will make decisions based on what''s best for the district, not his national party. Travis Childers is that candidate.
frank commented at 10/24/2010 10:27:00 AM:
That ought to do it Birney!
td commented at 10/24/2010 4:03:00 PM:
A one-sided liberal column. You tell us what you want us to hear, not both sides, as you should.
"We asked Nunnelee what his first action as a congressman would be. "Fire Nancy Pelosi," was his response." What was Childers response to the same question? I want to know. I think others would too. Why didn't you print that answer?
Did the esteemed editorial board ask Mr. Childers any tough questions?
"You sir are a Democrat. Your leader, Ms Pelosi, recessed the Congress without acting on a major piece of legislation - our 2011 tax rates. Why did your party fail to govern responsibly before the election? How are you going to vote in the lame duck session about extending the current tax policies?" (Or did I miss that in your editorial?)
When has Mr. Childers campaigned here? He doesn't even have a campaign HQ here. Is he afraid someone will ask him to defend his party's actions over the past 2 years like the stimulus slush fund that promised unemployment would not exceed 8%? Can he explain the benefits of obama-care? Why is TC hiding (at least in Lowndes County)?
One last point Birney. How is any politician that bucks the leadership on big issues going to gain committee seniority and leadership?
"Republicans stand to regain control of the House of Representatives." You wrote that. Yet you endorse a candidate that might be in the minority - hence even less political influence for the 1st CD.
If the Dispatch endorses Childers, I'll vote for Nunnelee.
wpmedic1 commented at 10/24/2010 9:24:00 PM:
Good thing most people don't think like this liberal rag. When did a 5 point lead become a virtual dead heat??
brother r. commented at 10/24/2010 9:27:00 PM:
Travis Childers is a "Loose Cannon" as they say. Mississippians deserve better than the "usual" handouts that Washington gives to every State. If you want him to goof off and try to take credit for other peoples hard work, then vote for him. But be ready to take a backseat to another State, that has a stronger rep in office and getting everything he can for his State.
melody commented at 10/24/2010 11:23:00 PM:
The fair tax is NOT a 23 % across the board tax hike, mr. imes. You are more misleading than childers. It stops all federal withholding completely and abolishes the IRS. No more taxes on earned interest and dividends , no more tax returns to the IRS. No death taxes, no capital gain taxes and the sales tax is only on new stuff. All used stuff is not taxed, WOW!! Plus , every body gets a prebate check each month to off set for necessities ie food clothing and medicine. The larger the family the larger the check so bring on the fair tax. Read the book , mr. imes. The dems don't like it cause it will mean they will have to think up new ways to get votes besides promising to give the middle class tax breaks that always turns out to be tax increases!!
The coments posted by td are very encouraging and I say "right on", especially the following -
"Republicans stand to regain control of the House of Representatives." You wrote that in the dispatch. Yet you endorse a candidate that will be in the minority if elected - hence even less political influence for our 1st district of MS.
It's not in the best interest of district 1 for nancy pelosi to be leader of the congress and childers will vote for her again so Nunnelee is our choice.
hope commented at 10/25/2010 8:55:00 AM:
Haley says forget about the fair tax, there wouldn't be enough money to pay for his Infiniti. It will never happen.
If Nunnelee and the Republicans win, the people lose. "GUARANTEED!"
ceejay commented at 10/25/2010 9:23:00 AM:
I hope you are noticing, Mr. Imes, that most of the comments do not agree with your choice. Face it, Travis Childers is weak and does what Pelosi tells him to. He does not have the courage to face his constituents and tell them in advance how he intends to vote.
hope commented at 10/25/2010 10:34:00 AM:
@ceejay--------Did Pelosi vote against the health care bill?
alabamagal commented at 10/25/2010 4:27:00 PM:
Sir: In your editorial you say, "Republicans stand to regain control of the House of Representatives, and possibly even the Senate. Eight years of disastrous Republican policies under George W. Bush are seemingly forgotten, trumped by disappointment over the first two years of the Obama administration and Democratic leadership in Congress." Are you forgetting, or possibily hoping we forget, that the democrats took control of both the House of Representatives and the Senate for the first time in a dozen years in the 2006 midterm elections? Therefore, George W. Bush AND the democratic Congress TOGETHER ran our country into the mess we find ourselves in to this day. When people who make decisions in our government try to solve every problem we have by throwing money at it...money we have to borrow from foreign countries, mainly CHINA, what can we expect? Nancy Pelosi promised that there would be no deficit spending when she took over as Speaker of the House....I just heard on the news that our nation's public debt exceeds $9 trillion. If we don't get rid of the democrats in the House of Reprensitives and the Senate, we deserve whatever we get. I for one will absolutely vote for Nunnelee instead of Childers. I encourage everyone to do the same.
thompson1928 commented at 10/25/2010 6:20:00 PM:
Childers supported Pelosi for Speaker of the House, reason enough for me not to vote for him.
hope commented at 10/25/2010 7:25:00 PM:
@alabamagal------For some reason, the voters in the election of '08 didn't see it the way you present it. Could it be that your remarks may be wrong since the Democrats trounced the Republicans rather badly.
jsh commented at 10/26/2010 11:17:00 AM:
You comment that Mr. Childers is pro-gun and anti-abortion. But this is part of the problem I have with him: if he so pro-gun and anti-abortion, why does he choose to align himself with a political party whose leadership rarely misses an opportunity to trample our 2nd amendment rights and support the murder of unborn children?
Is this an example of some kind of maverick "I'll change the party from within" idea on the part of Mr. Childers? If so, I'd say to him, good luck with that. The democratic party is owned by the globalist George Soros and the radical left unions. But feel free to keep banging your head against that wall, Travis.
Or is Mr. Childers a democrat because he saw which way the political winds were blowing a few years ago and thought he'd jump on that bandwagon? I believe that who you associate yourself with actually matters. And regardless of his motives, Childers has chosen to associate himself with a political party controlled by anti-American, anti-capitalist Marxists and socialists. I believe north Mississippi needs to be represented by an actual conservative, not someone who shamelessly pays lip service to conservative idealogy for the sake of political expediency and chooses to align himself--even if just occasionally--with those who are doing their best to destroy this country.