Hugo Daily News

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Our Editorial:

In the coming days aspiring political candidates for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States will be crisscrossing Oklahoma, stumping for votes.

In our fast-growing technological society, our email accounts have been inundated by news releases from most of the candidates.

Until he withdrew following his poor showing in Iowa, Richard Gephardt lead the email senders. We would get four or five emails from his campaign daily announcing another Labor Union endorsement for the veteran liberal Democrat. Clark is second in email messages.

Most of the messages are laughable. Some tell about a son or daughter who will be campaigning for their family member while the candidate himself is in another state.

Both the Democratic and Republican Parties are sending daily messages which call attention to comments from the candidates which they think show flip-flopping on the issues.

Clark and Dean appear to us to be the best flip-floppers to date. In rural Oklahoma, we probably won't see many of the candidates-not enough votes for their compressed time schedules.

John Edwards did come through Choctaw County a few weeks ago and one of our finest, Walter White, was asked to ride with him to Durant on his campaign bus. If you want to hear a funny story, ask Walter how that trip went.  Edwards related as to "just how expensive it was" to run that big bus all over the Midwest.

Here in the heart of Little Dixie, Democrats believe they fall more in the classification of being "Conservative Democrats" than in most Democratic environs.

Most aren't impressed with glitz and glitter and will opt for someone with a "down to earth" demeanor and conservative voting record. For that reason, our candidate of choice in the Democratic primary is Joe Lieberman. I guess you could say that we like his style, the way he conducts himself, and his voting record. He's one of the few candidates who supported the present administration's war on terrorism and  hasn't talked out of both sides of his mouth on the issue. Especially while we have men and women risking their lives for our freedom and for others abroad, this has been an important point in our support for Lieberman. But, his voting record, in our opinion, is perhaps the best of the Democratic candidates.

In all likelihood, Lieberman is too conservative for the more liberal Democratic czars. Will this be another year when party kingpins push a more liberal agenda? Will not such a ploy send conservative Democrats back to the polls for another crossover vote?

We are encouraged that most of the Choctaw County Democrats with whom we have had informal discussions about the candidates-also like Joe Lieberman for many of the same reasons we do.

I'm sure that if Joe Lieberman had the time to hold a town hall meeting at our Agriplex, Choctaw County voters would be encouraged at his character and his vision for America.

Party leaders would be wise to select a candidate who could hold the vote of conservative Democrats, rather than force another huge crossover vote in November. Party leaders should stake their chances on Lieberman's character and experience, without  chasing the latest poll leader du jour. Joe Lieberman, in our opinion,  would give the party its only viable Presidential challenger.
 On Feb. 3, if you don't have strong feelings about the "trendy candidates," consider voting for an experienced candidate whose character and voting record are both solid.

 We think that's Joe Lieberman.

Copyright © 2004 Hugo Publishing Company.  Reprinted by Permission (Stan Stamper 02/02/04).

Stan Stamper (Feb. 2, 2004):

We are one of the smallest daily newspapers in America. (About 7,000 readers)

My family has owned this newspaper for more than 50 years. I am the owner and the publisher (30 years) and we have a news room staff of three. Therefore, I make any decisions regarding such an endorsement.

Our newspaper generally makes endorsements when there appears a compelling reason to do so. In the case of our endorsement of Joe Lieberman, we believe that he best represents Conservative Democrats--the kind who are the first to crossover and support the Republican candidate when the Democratic Party selects a liberal.  (This happens frequently in Oklahoma where conservative ideology is more important than party loyalty.)

We believe the party is on track to select another liberal (Kerry) or someone who falls short of our vision for a bipartisan leader (Dean, Edwards, Clark).

We are concerned that government is getting too big, taxing people too much and trying to offer too many programs it cannot afford. We are also concerned with Liberal Democrats appointing liberal judges whose rulings, we believe, continue to threaten our way of life.