The most fundamental rule of democracy is that when elected officials fail repeatedly, voters throw them out of office. If the polls are anywhere near accurate, most Americans have concluded that the Republican Party — particularly the Republican majority in the House of Representatives — has failed egregiously. On Iraq. On ethics. On oversight of a reckless White House. But that conviction sometimes comes into conflict with the feeling that a good representative should be rewarded with re-election, without regard to party.
Now it is time to draw the line. [Christopher] Shays may be a beacon of integrity, but if he is re-elected, he will vote to continue House control by a party that has repeatedly sold out the country to special-interest lobbyists. His position on Iraq, which has gone through tortuous re-evaluations, now seems basically sensible. But if he is re-elected, he will support a Republican leadership that has refused to question even the most ruinous decisions by George Bush, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld about the conduct of American foreign policy.
Mr. Shays has been a good congressman, but not good enough to overcome the fact that his re-election would help empower a party that is long overdue for a shakeup. This decision is painful, but not difficult, given the high caliber of his opponent. With due respect for Mr. Shays's service, we strongly endorse Diane Farrell for Congress.
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