"There is no larger issue facing the country than the Iraq War debacle that has dragged on for more than three years," the newspaper said in its Oct. 20, 2006, edition, adding, "this disastrous path can be changed only by electing new members to Congress. Maine has the chance on Nov. 7 to elect someone who will shift the direction Congress has paved during the past four years. Jean Hay Bright is that candidate."
Pointing out that "the war has cost the lives of nearly 3,000 U.S. military personnel and caused life-altering injuries to many thousand more," and that "the cost has also been outrageous in terms of the money that has been drained from domestic needs to fund this war," the newspaper said "Congress has thus far given President George W. Bush carte blanche in launching this war and waging it. Congress needs to be held accountable."
Hay Bright, the paper said, "had the vision to see that Iraq was no threat to the United States and that a pre-emptive strike against this country was a horrendous policy to adopt."
In contrast, the newspaper noted that Hay Bright's opponent, Olympia Snowe, "is among the members of Congress who allowed the president to launch this war. She voted for it and even after all that has transpired since March 2003, has yet to call for an immediate withdrawal of the troops."
The newspaper added that even though Snowe occasionally has voted against the White House on some issues, "the war in Iraq supersedes all other issues. Snowe has failed this test as have most members of Congress, including many Democrats.
The newspaper editors dismissed Snowe's recent decision to follow the lead of other Republicans in an election-year attempt to distance themselves from the Bush. Her statement that she might consider a new direction for the war was "more than three years and billions of dollars too late," they said.
Beyond the issue of the war, however, the paper said Hay Bright's campaign platform spoke to the diverse needs of Maine. "Hay Bright is not a one-note candidate. She calls for a single-payer health care system, a proposal that is long overdue. The fact is that health care should be a right, not a privilege granted to those with enough money. Hay Bright also is a leader in pushing for alternative energy production. Our addiction to oil has contributed to our foreign policy blunders."
"Maine can influence the national political system by electing someone who will work to end the Iraq war and bring our troops home immediately. The United States needs to focus on providing all its citizens with adequate health care and opportunity for education. She will make these programs the priority rather than wasting our precious human and financial resources on a war."
"Jean Hay Bright is the best candidate to turn around our government's policy," the paper concluded.
The endorsement is posted online on MaineCoastNow.com