EDITORIAL: On the issues

The onslaught of negative television ads Northeast Mississippians have been enduring in the 1st District congressional race will continue unabated until the election Nov. 2.
Campaign spending by special interest groups is at a record level, thanks to a recent Supreme Court decision, and both national parties have targeted the 1st District as a must-win contest. That combination means there’s no relief in sight from the ad barrage.
You won’t learn much if anything useful from 15- or 30-second spots, which with a few exceptions are designed to tear down one candidate or the other, usually with distortions of his record.
There’s been one candidate debate in the campaign – last week at the Overby Center for Journalism and Politics on the University of Mississippi campus. There haven’t been many opportunities to compare the Democratic incumbent, Congressman Travis Childers, and his challenger, Republican state Sen. Alan Nunnelee, on the issues beyond the unsatisfactory back-and-forth of their ads.
The Daily Journal this week is attempting to shed a little light on the campaign heat with a series of stories comparing the candidates’ stances on key issues. An overview article on Sunday kicked off the series, and today we take a look at their positions on jobs and the economy.
The rest of the week lines up this way: Tuesday – taxes, spending and fiscal policy; Wednesday – entitlements; Thursday – health care; Friday – national security; and Saturday – social issues. On Sunday we’ll sample voter opinion in selected towns and cities across the region about what’s on people’s minds as the election approaches.
We hope this will help provide some useful comparisons of the candidates and perhaps elevate the campaign discussion a bit. We recognize that the way the media cover the campaign is often a factor in setting the tone. A primary responsibility of a newspaper in a political campaign is to report fully and accurately where the candidates stand and, additionally, where characterizations of their positions by the opposition have been wrongly or only partially stated.
Voters often make their decisions on gut-level instincts about the candidates, but it’s important that their records and stated views be part of the picture as well.
While Childers and Nunnelee are similar in many ways, there are also some significant differences between them beyond their party affiliations. We hope that the series of articles this week will help illuminate those differences, as well as the similarities, so that you’ll have more of the information you need to make an intelligent choice.

NEMS Daily Journal

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