How's That Again?
To the Editor: Brunswick Times Record
Op-Ed By Jean Hay Bright
October 28, 2006
What is a candidate supposed to do?

If you saw a newspaper endorsement (Oct. 27, 2006) that has as its second paragraph: "We'd like to see Hay Bright - who aligns herself with Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, and Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis. - in Congress. She is articulate, and there is much in her well-thought-out platform we can support," you might think that newspaper was in the process of endorsing me, Jean Hay Bright, for the U.S. Senate.

You would be wrong.

If you saw a newspaper endorsement that looked at Sen. Olympia Snowe's record and noticed that "she has voted to strengthen the president's power, thereby weakening the role of Congress. Specifically, through her support of the Iraq resolution that gave President Bush virtually a blank check to wage war, and the Military Commissions Act that suspends the right of habeas corpus for anyone deemed an 'enemy combatant.' Also, she is co-sponsoring the Terrorist Surveillance Act (S2455). Not yet passed, this bill would make the Bush administration's secret, warrantless, domestic wiretapping program legal after the fact. It seems to us a pre-emptive strike to put the matter to rest before there's been a successful investigation into the National Security Agency program," you might think that that newspaper was in the process of explaining why it can't endorse Olympia Snowe this time around.

Again, you would be wrong.

If you saw that a newspaper who looked at Snowe's support of President Bush, and saw that Snowe "has enabled his agenda in ways that are detrimental to a free people. When defending the U.S. Constitution, moderation can become capitulation," you would think that that newspaper might see Snowe's return to office as a threat to free people and the Constitution.

Wrong again.

On the overriding issue of the Iraq War, if you saw that a newspaper dislikes Snowe's longstanding support of the war and questions her recent tepid change in direction ("We're pleased to see that she now supports a change of strategy in Iraq, including 'an international summit of stakeholders to delineate a path forward.' Yet she comes short of calling for a timetable or for withdrawal... We urge her to be stronger on this issue rather than wait and see what her Republican colleagues do."), and if you saw that same newspaper make it clear it prefers my strong long-standing opposition to this war ("Hay Bright is right when she says redeployments, exhausted troops and an epidemic of post-traumatic stress syndrome in returning soldiers are creating a national security risk for our country."), you would think that that newspaper would urge voters to vote for the candidate who is stronger on ending the Iraq War, stronger on defending the Constitution, stronger on recognizing the threats to American democracy posed by the Bush administration and Snowe's complicity with that agenda -- 82 percent of the time in Bush's first term in office, according to Congressional Quarterly.

But, strangely, the headline in Friday's Brunswick Times Record is "We endorse Sen. Snowe, but with a caveat."

What caveat? "We return her with a plea that she research opposition to the Military Commissions Act and realize its danger and that she rethink her support of the wiretapping bill. She might consult with a fellow Republican, former Rep. Bob Barr of Georgia, who is chairman of Patriots to Restore Checks and Balances."

Why would Snowe do that, at "a plea" from the Times Record? Snowe has been in Congress for 28 years, four years longer than Margaret Chase Smith. She knows how to do research. She had been lobbied heavily on those particular issues, including half-page ads placed by the ACLU in Maine's two largest daily newspapers prior to the late-September votes. Snowe said in Wednesday's MPBN debate (Oct. 25, 2006), in response to a question from me, that she read the Military Commissions Act, and fully supports it. As for the wiretapping bill, Snowe doesn't just support it, she helped write it.

What you see in Snowe's support of those measures, and all the others that the Times Record found so troubling, is what we will get in the next six years if Snowe is returned to office.

The endorsement states: "We wish her well in her third term in the U.S. Senate." This endorsement is not urging people to vote for Snowe. The Times Record is acting as if this election were already over, a done deal.

Is that all right with you?
Brunswick Times Record endorsement, Oct. 27, 2006 "We endorse Sen. Snowe, but with a caveat"