Strong words from the Lowell Sun in today’s endorsement of Niki Tsongas for the MA-05 congressional seat. They’re talking, of course, about Jim Idon’tknowski’s bizarre refusal to disclose how he would vote on an attempt to override President Bush’s veto of the SCHIP bill.
The Sun’s endorsement of Tsongas is an interesting one, and it must come as a big disappointment to Team Ogo (the Sun is not exactly a liberal hotbed, after all). After acknowledging that both candidates have compelling personal stories that relate to the district, the Sun correctly observes:
But it requires more than name recognition and an interesting background to become an effective member of Congress. It takes an understanding of how politics works, a determination to work diligently for constituents, and an ability and willingness to make difficult decisions.
From the line about difficult decisions, the Sun moves to SCHIP. They point out that Tsongas has been firm and forthright all along that she would vote to override. Idon’tknowski, not so much.
Ogonowski said he supports SCHIP, but has repeatedly refused to say whether he would support the veto or vote to override. Instead he calls it a bad bill and says he would work to expand the program. Unfortunately, that doesn’t tell us what he would do on Oct. 18 when the override vote is scheduled to come before Congress. We find his lack of candor on this issue troubling.
And the Sun goes on to say that, even though their own views may be closer to Ogo’s than to Tsongas’s on Iraq,
we believe Tsongas has exhibited a willingness to listen to divergent opinions, seek compromises and find consensus. We find her willingness to change the partisan bickering in Washington refreshing.
This, along with the Sun’s calling-out of Idon’tknowski on SCHIP, is perhaps the most important line in the endorsement. It shows that, even though Ogo is the one claiming to not be a “partisan politician” and who says he wants to change “business as usual” in Washington, nothing that he has actually said in the course of the campaign suggests that he means it. To the contrary, everything he has said, from his distortions on “amnesty” to his obfuscation and, to quote the Sun, “lack of candor” on SCHIP, suggests that he will be very much “business as usual.” He will mischaracterize Democrats’ positions when it suits him to do so, and he will not be straight with the voters. No thanks.
Tsongas, as the Sun points out, is the one willing to “listen to divergent opinions, seek compromises and find consensus.” She is the one who shows a “refreshing” “willingness to change the partisan bickering in Washington.”
The Sun clearly saw right through Ogo’s “non-partisan” charade. I’m guessing the MA-05 voters will do so too. This is a nice pickup for Tsongas.