Keene Sentinel
Friday, December 21, 2007

In the Democratic primary, Hillary Clinton
Sentinel staff

Most people who plan to vote in the first-in-the-nation Democratic primary in a little more than two weeks probably agree on one thing: The first and most important task facing the next president will be to reinstate the historic American principles that have been ignored or trampled upon by the current administration.

The new president will have to begin shoring up international respect for our country, by crafting a responsible withdrawal strategy from Iraq. The new president will have to put the federal government to work in the effort to curb global warming. The new president will have to wage a rational diplomatic and military campaign against international terrorism, while reversing and repudiating the human rights violations that have been a hallmark of the Bush years. And the new president will need to bring respected and accomplished individuals into government, to assure old friends that the United States is ready to rejoin the world community.

At home, the new president will have to address the fact that comprehensive health insurance is now beyond the reach of an increasing number of Americans. The new president will have to redouble the country's commitment to veterans and their families, especially in light of the wave of wounded men and women returning home from Iraq. The new president will have to pursue an effective yet humane strategy to curb illegal immigration. The new president will need to restore an ideological balance on the Supreme Court, reflecting the wide range of beliefs in American society. The new president will have to ease the country toward energy independence, without killing off the economic engine that is the envy of the world. And the new president will need to reshape key regulatory agencies, such as the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, that have become dangerous appendages of the industries they are supposed to govern.

That is only a partial list of the tasks ahead for the next president. There are also crises involving fair trade, product safety, public education, the Middle East, the Real ID program, the consequences of sub-prime mortgage lending and the troubling expansion of nuclear weapons technology. What's more, unknown challenges may lie just over the horizon. Addressing all these issues will take a strong and determined person.

Democratic and independent voters have a rich field to choose from on January 8, people with creative thoughts about how to deal with the challenges. John Edwards and Barack Obama have spoken eloquently on most of the issues, as have Christopher Dodd, Joseph Biden and Bill Richardson. All have their passionate supporters, and for good reason. But this newspaper has come to the conclusion that the candidate with the best ideas, as well as the imagination, know-how and bearing to carry them out, is Hillary Clinton.

She has the best health-insurance proposal of all the candidates, and there are several good proposals to choose from. She has significant international experience, considerably more than some of her rivals. Face-to-face, she is as personable, passionate and persuasive as any American political figure in recent memory, qualities that should come in handy in both domestic and international forums.

Yes, we know. The doubts about Hillary Clinton's candidacy are widely discussed, often in terms of whether other voters would accept a woman, or accept this woman, as president. We are aware of the reservations some people have about aspects of the Bill Clinton years. But we find those arguments wanting, or at the very least misplaced. Many of today's Hillary doubters, regardless of party, would surely be impressed during the coming national campaign, just as many New Hampshire voters have been won over during the arduous primary campaign now coming to an end. Choosing a candidate on the Democratic ballot is a tough call this year. In the end, we are confident in our recommendation of Hillary Clinton.

© 2007 The Keene Sentinel.  Reprinted by permission (Jim Rousmaniere Dec. 23, 2007 e-mail).

Jim Rousmaniere provided some observations:

The Sentinelís editorial board currently consists of the following:

Tom Ewing (Publisher and owner)

Jim Rousmaniere (Editor and president)

Paul Miller (Managing editor)

Guy MacMillin (Opinion page editor)

The Sentinel traditionally endorses in both the Republican and Democratic primaries. Our choice on the Republican side was arrived at fairly quickly this time. The editorial endorsement of McCain is pretty clear about his comparative appeal.

The Democratic endorsement took a couple of meetings. Youíll note from the structure of the editorial that we think highly of a great many of the contenders. One of the strengths of this particular editorial, the first draft of which was written by Guy, is its identification of the wide range of responsibilities that face a president.  We tend to regard editorials as having an educational purpose, in addition to being expressions of preference; in the 2008 Democratic primary the leading Democratic candidates agree substantially on the order of priorities and the nature of solutions, which makes it all the important to brush up on the post they are all seeking.