Daily Wildcat endorsements
With the elections a week away, the Arizona Daily Wildcat’s editorial board and opinions desk are making endorsements for the 2012 elections. Reporters do not have a say in these endorsements, nor do endorsements have an impact on news coverage by the Daily Wildcat’s reporters.
Most polls will report that newspaper endorsements like these do not matter. At best, they have some sway over the margins.
Newspaper circulation has steadily declined in recent years. It’s evident in professional publications as large as The New York Times and as small as the UA’s own Arizona Daily WIldcat. Even if readers do read endorsements, publications form reputations for leaning liberally or conservatively, and most regular readers will likely expect endorsements to lean the same direction they perceive the paper’s coverage to go.
And for the most part, voters already know who they are voting for or feel that their opinion is just as valid as any newspaper editor’s. After all, in the digital age when information is accessible at the tips of your fingers, why go to the newspaper when you can go directly to the source?
But the answer is surprisingly simple. Newspapers pare down the information to just the essentials, and translate it in a way that makes it easier for you to understand. The ease of information’s accessibility also means it is easy to become inundated with petty politics, buzz words and sound bites.
The role of the media is to filter out all the extra stuff and leave you with just what matters. We find the substance and interpret it in the way that’s best for our community. These endorsements are not best guesses or predictions for who will win the election. Instead, they are educated assessments of who will be best for the UA and the state of Arizona.
Paton for Congressional District 1
There will never be such a thing as the perfect politician. Republican candidate Jonathan Paton opposed the 1-cent sales tax for education, voted for Senate Bill 1070 and blames the federal government for much of the economy’s woes — the same tired rhetoric from many of Arizona’s lawmakers.
His opponent, Ann Kirkpatrick, has greater recognition and has already served a term from 2008 to 2010. But during that time, Democrats controlled both the House and the Senate, and still proved to be ineffective at offering long-term solutions to control spending.
In 2009, Paton helped push “Kaity’s Law,” an effort that increased protection for domestic violence victims in dating relationships. In 2010, he led a series of hearings into Arizona’s Child Protective Services after the deaths of three children from Tucson, whose parents had been investigated by CPS. Paton offered his voice to victims whose own voices are too often minimized, and he supports greater transparency in government.
The Arizona Newspapers Association has twice given a Freedom of Information Award to Paton, an advocate of open government records.
Though we don’t agree with all of Paton’s political positions, he has proven himself to be a staunch supporter government transparency. The Daily Wildcat endorses Paton for Congressional District 1.
Barber for Congressional District 2
Ron Barber, a small business owner and loving grandfather of four, served his community for more than three decades as the director and program manger of the Arizona Division of Developmental Disabilities.
Then, in 2007, after being named former Rep. Gabrielle Gifford’s district manager, Barber fought tirelessly to ensure that the voices of Southern Arizonans were heard above Washington’s cacophony of party politics and special interest.
On that fateful day last January, when a lone gunman nearly took the life of Giffords, Barber and 17 others were critically wounded or killed in the crossfire. Instead of throwing in the towel and hanging his head in defeat, Barber, immeasurably tenacious, defied his detractors and continued to fight on behalf of his fellow Tucsonans.
Barber’s commitment to the people of Arizona’s eighth Congressional district, was, is and will always be unshakable — and he has the scars to prove it.
The Arizona Daily Wildcat endorses Ron Barber for the District 2 House Congressional seat.
Grijalva for Congressional District 3
It is essential that voters send intelligent, level-headed candidates to represent them in Congress.
Two years ago, however, right-wing tea party activists took over the House of Representatives.
That election also nearly cost Rep. Raúl Grijalva his seat in Congress, due to his call for a boycott of Arizona following the passage of Senate Bill 1070.
Nevertheless, Grijalva should serve a sixth term in the new Congressional District 3.
Grijalva displays the temperament and practicality toward Southern Arizona issues his challengers lack.
He recognizes that border violence is not just spillover from Mexico, but also the result of the demand for illegal drugs in the U.S. He supports the DREAM Act, a realistic approach to allow youth brought across the border illegally by their parents to enroll in the military or to attend college. And he knows that cutting the education budget, on state and national levels, is not an efficient way to pull out of the recession.
His Republican opponent, Gabriela Saucedo Mercer, follows traditional tea party rhetoric, calling for smaller government and attacking Grijalva for his boycott comments two years ago.
Those attacks were not enough to force Grijalva out of office then, and they certainly should not now.
Grijalva is the candidate best suited to represent Congressional District 3.
Carmona for Senate
With Sen. Jon Kyl retiring this year, Arizona will send a new senator to Washington for the first time in 18 years.
Democrat Richard Carmona, facing Republican candidate Jeff Flake and Libertarian Marc Victor, has proven himself worthy to fill Kyl’s seat by gathering broad support across party lines.
The former independent didn’t even register with his party until November 2011, and he served in the Bush administration as surgeon general. In August, the daughter and granddaughter of former Sen. Barry Goldwater, one of Arizona’s most famous conservatives, endorsed Carmona, praising him for his bipartisanship and support of women’s rights. Joanne Goldwater also discussed her family’s past with Planned Parenthood (her mother started the Arizona branch in 1936) as she declared women’s rights “the most important issue in this campaign.”
Flake, on the other hand, voted to bar funding of Planned Parenthood and supported legislation that would allow employers to deny contraceptive coverage in health care plans. When so many lawmakers are making national headlines with gaffes about women’s reproductive rights — such as claims that their bodies will prevent pregnancy during rape or the belief that it is God’s will when a rapist impregnates his victim — it’s important to have a candidate who will stand up for women.
Carmona’s wide bipartisan appeal and his strong support for women’s rights is absolutely critical to working in the Legislature. The Daily Wildcat endorses Carmona for Senate.
Obama for president
While it goes without saying, the presidential election affects everyone in the country. As the commander in chief, the head of executive branch and a major driving force behind national policy and legislature, either President Barack Obama or former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is going to have a lot to do. Before that, though, America has a lot to consider when deciding who to vote for.
First, full disclosure: it seems like no one is thrilled with either candidate. The United States’ problems seem so insurmountable that it’d take a superhero to set things right in just one term. With no superheroes on the ballot, we’ll have to settle with a much longer wait and candidates who can’t possibly satisfy the public demands.
Obama knows what he’s doing in the sense that he has been president for the last four years. That’s not a guarantee he’s been doing a good job, but at least he knows what to expect. At the same time, the public knows what to expect with Obama to a degree.
People also seem really concerned with his economic beliefs, but it’s been exaggerated and sensationalized. Republicans are posturing like Obama’s re-election would herald in the end times. Despite what anyone says, he also has social policies that allow people to choose for themselves (concerning abortion and gay marriage). When it comes to foreign policy, Obama has a good track record too — aside from, perhaps, Libya.
Romney is a relative unknown. His past as a governor is there to look at, but being president isn’t even remotely the same. He still hasn’t put out a detailed tax plan, instead relying on vagueness to assure voters. Romney has kept quiet on social issues, not wanting to lose minority voters, though he claims not to be an enemy of the poor and middle class.
When it comes to foreign policy, Romney seems to just want to increase the size of the military, but his frequent gaffes warrant a bit of trepidation. If he can’t keep from looking stupid to his own countrymen, how will he fare against foreigners?
The Daily Wildcat will take what it knows and endorse Barack Obama.