MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Editorials

October 24, 2008

Senate choice should lean to center

No one takes lightly endorsing a relative newcomer to politics over a long-time senator. Jim Inhofe has been in the U.S. Senate 14 years, and he has a great deal of support in Oklahoma. But Inhofe has not been without controversy.

He may be the ranking minority member on the Committee on Environment and Public Works, but he has not shown a great deal of respect for the environment. He arrogantly blamed the New Orleans flooding from Hurricane Katrina not on inadequate levees, the real cause, but “far-left” environmental ”extremists.” He has adamantly called global warming a great hoax.

There is no doubt that Inhofe maintains a conservative attitude that reflects the position of his constituent base, but the extremist statements he has made throughout his career on many subjects hurts his credibility and the state’s image despite whatever positive contributions he has made while in Congress. And extremism, whether to the right or left, does not promote good government policies or government that benefits everyone.

That is why Andrew Rice is a better candidate in the U.S. Senate race.

Rice has a more even-handed and rational approach to the issues and problems we are experiencing. He has gained a experiential world view as a missionary, working with rural development projects in Asia, that would serve him well in the Senate.

Rice also has demonstrated in the state Senate a willingness to work with others rather than sticking to a rigid ideology. Oklahoma would lose the seniority Inhofe has gained if Rice were elected, and that would be a tough loss. But there is something to gain with Rice as well.

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