Foster's Daily Democrat and The (Laconia, N.H.) Citizen

Friday, January 23, 2004

Lieberman shines among the Democrats
The senator has the kind of character Democrats should cherish

The nation is four days away from the New Hampshire primary.

Next Tuesday, registered voters from among the ranks of the declared and undeclared will go to the polls in the Democratic primary. They will play an important role in choosing the man who will go one-on-one against President George W. Bush in the months leading up to the general election.

There were dramatic shifts in the popularity of candidates in the weeks preceding the Iowa caucuses - a series of gatherings in homes and elsewhere, where Democrats lined up behind one candidate or another. It was political theater at its best - but it was only the beginning. There is still a long way to go and, most importantly, there is New Hampshire on Jan. 27.

The pollsters and pundits have been having a field day, leading some people to wonder if they and the media are observers or players.

Let's be absolutely clear on one thing. Foster's Daily Democrat remains fully supportive of President Bush. We supported him four years ago with the conviction that he offered Americans direction in keeping with the values that have sustained their country for more than two centuries. He has led the nation to economic recovery and he has taken firm steps to make America free from the threat of international terrorism.

We could go on an on about the leadership qualities and accomplishments of the Bush administration and we will do just that in
detail in the months ahead. But today we want to focus on the Democratic primary less than a week away.

It is important that Democrats and Republicans put up the best candidates they have to offer. It is something they owe to the
American people. The partisan cynics who hope for a weak candidate from the opposition don't understand the search for excellence that drives our nation.

The pool of Democrats has begun to get shallow. We suspect the days following Jan. 27 will see it empty further.

There are opportunists among the remaining Democratic candidates. There are also candidates whose ambitions outweigh their capacity to govern.

There is one person in the pool of Democrats who stands out as someone of character and high standards - Joe Lieberman.

We've been impressed with Sen. Lieberman for some time. When he was a candidate for vice president in 2000, he brought character and clarity to the Democratic ticket. While a dedicated Democrat and running mate, Lieberman never took the low road and he has declined to put himself on such a path in the current campaign.

Among Democrats seeking their party's nomination for president, Joe Lieberman comes closest to representing the values this newspaper holds dear - the values of a fiscal conservative, the ability to keep an open mind, the willingness to cross party lines when it is in the national interest, the ability and willingness to seek reasonable resolution of the issues that might divide us.

The managers and controllers of other candidates say Joe Lieberman is unelectable. It is the cynicism of electability.

Some Democrats in 1948 worried that Harry Truman was not electable. The Chicago Daily Tribune led its morning after the election editions with the headline, "Dewey defeats Truman."

What makes someone unelectable? The tired, repetition of cynicism promoted by a large segment of the news media.

A month ago, polls had Howard Dean "a prohibitive favorite." And then came Iowa.

Maybe Joe Lieberman won't win the Democratic nomination, but is that a reason not to vote for him? We don't think so. We think people should vote for the candidate among Democrats who stands for something. Why not simply vote for the best candidate?

We think that candidate is Joe Lieberman.

Copyright © 2004 Geo. J. Foster Company.  Reprinted courtesy of Foster's Daily Democrat.

Jon Breen, editor of the opinion pages, wrote the endorsement.  He provided some background:

"The Democrat and The Citizen are family-owned newspapers -- wholly owned by George J. Foster Co. Inc. Foster's Daily Democrat was founded in 1873 by the family of the present publisher, Robert H. Foster.

"Endorsements such as these are the sole jurisdiction of members of the Foster family -- Robert Foster; the editor, Teresa Foster; and the vice president for administration, Patrice Foster.

"The timing of endorsements such as these are at the discretion of the Fosters."