The Post recommends Mr. Mahoney, to "Give Change a Chance"
THE POST ENDORSES
For U.S. Representative District 16: Tim Mahoney
Palm Beach Post Editorial
Sunday, October 22, 2006
Joe Negron isn't like Mark Foley in all the ways his ads are stressing. He's a husband and father, and the Republican state representative from Stuart is free of scandal. But Joe Negron, hardworking and earnest as he is, offers no promise of the change Washington needs.
Exhibit A is his position on Iraq. Assessing things, Rep. Negron says only that there are "areas that need improvement." He wants a "stable government to emerge" before American troops leave, but "stable doesn't mean perfect." His optimism that the U.S. won't be in Iraq for many years is based on "belief," not hard signs of progress. Rep. Negron says his opponent, Democrat Tim Mahoney, displayed bad "temperament" by calling for Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to resign, but retired generals - some of whom served in Iraq - also want Mr. Rumsfeld out. There would be no hard questioning of Iraq policy from Rep. Negron if he won.
Rep. Negron isn't much better on illegal immigration. He supports the House GOP leadership's unrealistic, unworkable "enforcement-only" policy. As for the estimated 12 million immigrants in the country illegally, he would grant no legal status until they "stop breaking the law," which would mean somehow enticing them to leave. He would like to find "a creative way to deal with it" but has no ideas.
In one good break from his party, Rep. Negron would allow Medicare to negotiate lower prices through bulk-buying for the Part D prescription-drug benefit. On other issues, he is inconsistent. He wants the government to "stay out of my life," but he voted twice for state intervention in the Terri Schiavo case. He wants politicians to run fewer negative ads but says he can't be responsible for what the party runs on his behalf. He favors rights for all people in U.S. custody, but he supports the bill President Bush signed last week that restricts rights for people in U.S. custody.
The man with a fresher perspective is Mr. Mahoney, owner of a Palm Beach Gardens financial services company and a first-time candidate. He is a self-described "fundamentalist Christian" who is "pro-life" but bridges the divide between him and many pro-choice voters when he says, "I don't know anyone who thinks an abortion is a good thing." He would seek to reduce teen pregnancy, not overturn Roe vs. Wade.
He supports civil unions, but not same-sex marriage, for gay couples. He puts the preoccupation with narrow social issues in perspective: "People aren't leaving Florida because they're worried about gay marriage. They're worried about insurance costs, taxes and home prices."
On Iraq, Mr. Mahoney suggests that the U.S. try to recruit troops from other Muslim countries - but not Iran - to stabilize Iraq. That's probably fanciful, but it beats Rep. Negron's allegiance to "stay the course." Mr. Mahoney would hold off on tax cuts "until the country's finances are better" and would take a different approach to helping the economy. Noting that the startup company-dominated NASDAQ continues to lag well below its record high even as the large-company Dow has vaulted over the 12,000 mark, Mr. Mahoney says, "We need to get the innovation engine going again."
After becoming a "Kennedy Democrat," Mr. Mahoney became a "Reagan Republican because I believed that the Democrats had failed America." That same sentiment about the current Republican leadership compelled him to change parties and take on this race. He calls himself a "Blue Dog Democrat," referring to the party's conservative coalition of the 1990s. That profile works in Republican-leaning District 16, which runs though eight counties, from Wellington to Port St. Lucie, then north of Lake Okeechobee to Charlotte County on the gulf coast.
"There is a feeling of helplessness among voters," Mr. Mahoney said, "that no matter who you vote for, nothing's going to change." Lack of change seems certain with Rep. Negron. The Post recommends Mr. Mahoney, to give change a chance.
Charlotte Sun Herald Endorses Mahoney
Sarasota Herald Tribune Endorses Mahoney
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