In a memo to our editorial board, my "subject" line read, "Nicest letter ever." I followed up that high praise with, "at least for someone disagreeing with our presidential endorsement." But it was a pleasant break from the hostility wrought by a presidential election. So I'll share again:
Welcome show of nonpartisanship
Although we disagree with your endorsement of Mitt Romney in your Sunday, Oct. 28, edition, we appreciate your thoughtful presentation of the reasons behind it.
We personally believe no president could have done a better job of calming the economic turmoil set in motion before the election of 2008 than President Obama. His focus on health care reform was an intelligent recognition of the terrific drain on our economy that our current system poses. So we regard his prioritizing health care reform as an urgently needed remedy for long term economic health. That it became such a divisive issue in the Congress proves only that we have become a nation of reactionary politics ... anything proposed by one side becomes anathema to the other party. His program to sustain the American auto industry was similarly regarded by those who branded it "Government Motors," but look at how many jobs were saved and how quickly the loans were repaid.
What really motivated us to send this response to you, however, was our surprise and admiration for your decision to include the six "Other endorsements from near and far" on the same page as yours. That was a welcome show of nonpartisan editorial comment and, along with your considerable coverage of local and state candidates, is one of the several reasons we have subscribed to the Daily Herald for 20 years.
Rita and Tom Mathern
Yes, it was a little self-serving of me to rerun a letter from some longtime, happy subscribers, but consider the intelligence and civility in which the Matherns' presented their case: a calm, lucid argument for their candidate, with an accurate and nonpartisan observation on the state of politics. Some of letters we get on presidential politics are so polarized and so ... nasty. If you saw Wednesday's editions, in which we presented reaction letters to our Romney endorsement, you'll get a feel for what I'm talking about -- and that's after we edited out some of the more incendiary language.
If there's a prevailing political sentiment I've heard from people in the past week or so, it's this: "Boy, I can't wait for this (insert modifier) election to be over." That's usually followed by an expression of disdain for all the nasty campaigning, the televised attack ads. And may I say, at least during the early morning hours when I'm watching the TV news shows, the most egregious offenders are the Duckworth-Walsh ads that seem to never stop. And as long as I'm being self-serving, could I suggest that one of the more helpful functions of your local newspaper is that it will attempt to sort through the charges to get at the truth. There are some great examples from political writer Kerry Lester, who has delved deep into issues in that congressional race, such as: A Schaumburg restaurateur caught in the political fray; Walsh's son responding to Duckworth ads about "deadbeat Joe"; Walsh's camp challenging Duckworth's wearing of her Army uniform; super PAC ads, and a wrongful termination suit filed against Duckworth. Staff writer Jim Fuller, who's covering the Biggert-Foster race for Congress, did a truth-check on their ads. His hardly surprising conclusion: "Both assaults lack the necessary background information for voters to properly interpret the claims."
Ah, well. In a few days it'll all be over. Until the much more civil municipal and school elections in April.