Omaha World-Herald endorses Lee!

World-Herald editorial: Lee Terry sends right message

Terry leads White in fundraising

Published Sunday, October 17, 2010: OMAHA WORLD-HERALD

Many voters are rightly looking on this year’s congressional contests as a referendum on the past two years of lawmaking in Washington, D.C.

In our view, legislative debate in Congress over the past two years was dominated too often by a reckless insistence on out-of-control expansions of government control and intrusion.

A proper sense of balance — a practical middle ground between Pelosi-style big government and unrealistic calls for a return to 1920s-style government — was sadly lacking.

In the contest for Nebraska’s 2nd Congressional District, we agree with the central message from U.S. Rep. Lee Terry, the incumbent, that the Obama administration and the Democratic-controlled Congress have lost sight of the need for proper restraint on government.

The Democratic nominee in the 2nd District contest is State Sen. Tom White of Omaha. White is articulate, has a quick mind and correctly describes himself as a bulldog who fights resolutely and forcefully for the causes he supports.

White says that if elected he could balance his support for populist economic policies with attention to the needs of small businesses. Perhaps so. But given the remarkable fixation by the Obama administration, Democratic leaders and left-leaning activist groups to press so fervently for expansions of government, White has not convinced us that he is committed to stand firmly against such demands.

His populist rhetoric on economics, plus his general support for Congress’s new health care law, raise many uncertainties about how he would approach federal intervention into the private sector.

Over the past two years, the responsibility for policy-making lay with the Obama administration and Congress, and they too often failed to demonstrate an understanding of the harm that increased government intervention can do to the private sector and individual liberty.

In addition, the Democratic leadership in Congress failed to allow a final vote on tax policy. This leaves the private sector in the dark about key tax conditions for 2011. That uncertainty is a huge factor complicating our country’s ability to move the economy forward.

This doesn’t mean that the GOP deserves blanket support for every idea it puts forward, and many on the hard right are touting a pipe dream when they act as if we can turn the clock back to the pre-New Deal era on the size of government.

Rep. Terry, to his credit, has spoken out against Congress’s big-government excesses. He has been a conscientious lawmaker. He takes a particular interest in energy issues and, to his credit, has found commendable ways to work with congressional Democrats on several energy-related issues. He is often truly nonpartisan.

He demonstrates a commendable measure of flexibility and reasonableness. He cast a “yes” vote for the bank rescue bill for the common-sense reason that we otherwise would likely have seen an even worse meltdown in the financial system. Terry, a six-term incumbent, sensibly says that the defense budget can’t be shielded from scrutiny as Congress pursues difficult choices on budget discipline.

In a debate co-sponsored by The World-Herald last Tuesday, Terry responded with admirable candor when he was asked a challenging question: What votes would you reconsider if you could take them back? Terry could have given a non-answer. Instead, he said the Iraq War vote deserved a second look, and the same went for the Patriot Act.

As the campaign season finally winds down, U.S. Rep. Lee Terry is deserving of support in the 2nd District contest.


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