While it sometimes hurts to watch our neighbors get fancy new projects funded with millions in federal taxpayer dollars, we applaud Democrat Jim Cooper’s honest, historic and steadfast opposition to congressional earmarks. It takes courage to deny oneself the power of the purse, particularly when nearly every colleague is partaking.
Among his fellow members, Cooper stands out as an expert on policy. In fact, his obsession over the finer points of the Democrats’ financial reform package led him astray from his party; he cast a difficult vote against the package over the summer, saying unintended consequences might be in store for smaller banks. We appreciate both his wonkiness and his willingness to break from the pack.
Cooper has been a much-needed investigator and voice of reason in his detailed inquiry into the Army Corps of Engineers’ performance during May’s floods. At a time when a lack of oversight and regulation is de rigueur, the four-term congressman has provided a vital criticism. We urge him to continue his investigation until appropriate changes are made at the corps. It could, quite literally, save lives.
Finally, Cooper’s work on copyright issues in the digital age — in sum, making sure songwriters get paid and piracy is panned — has been lauded by Nashville’s industry and will indisputably be a major part of determining the future of our most famous export.
Conversely, Cooper’s Republican opponent, David Hall, has spouted incoherent and unrealistic tea-party-style blather throughout the campaign. He has shown himself incapable of managing the basic finances of his own campaign.
There are also eight independent candidates in the race, none of which has made much of an impact on the race thus far.
It would be irresponsible to vote for any candidate but Cooper on Nov. 2.