The Rock Hill Herald: Clements for Senate
Green Party candidate Tom Clements offers a viable alternative in this race.
Published: Saturday, Oct. 30, 2010 / Updated: Friday, Oct. 29, 2010 11:44 PM
In the race for U.S. Senate, we endorse Green Party candidate Tom Clements.
Rock Hill Herald Endorses Tom Clements for US Senate
Third-party candidates are playing a central role in a number of high-profile races this year, and in South Carolina’s Senate race, we think Clements deserves the attention of voters.
His appeal is bolstered by issues with the two other candidates running this year. Alvin Greene, as much of the nation is aware, was the surprise winner of the Democratic senatorial primary. His campaign can be dismissed as sadly inadequate.
Incumbent Sen. Jim DeMint is the prohibitive favorite in this race. But while he is popular with many voters, his extreme views go too far for a large segment of South Carolinians.
Clements has never run for office before or been involved in any party’s politics before. But he is no stranger to public service. He was approached by state Green Party members in large part because of his role as a nationally known environmental advocate and expert on nuclear power issues.
A Georgia native, Clements became the Southeastern coordinator for Friends of the Earth in Columbia in 2008. In that capacity, he focuses on issues related to nuclear power and nuclear waste, and is the public interest watchdog over the Department of Energy’s Savannah River site.
He worked for 13 years with Greenpeace International and for three years as the executive director of the Nuclear Control Institute in Washington, D.C.. He has extensive foreign policy experience as a leading nuclear antiproliferation advocate.
While the environment, and global warming in particular, is his area of expertise, he also is fluent on a number of other critical issues, including the need to support small businesses, preserving Social Security, supporting education, making health care available to all Americans and ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Clements is a thoughtful and articulate advocate for a variety of causes supported by many South Carolina voters, particularly those issues involving preservation of our precious natural resources. Clements, we think, would represent the interests of the state well in the Senate.
Sen. DeMint also boasts the support of a large segment of the state’s voters, perhaps even a majority. This time around, however, he seems to be taking that support for granted. DeMint has spent next to no time or money campaigning in the state on his own behalf, choosing instead to barnstorm the country on behalf of tea party candidates in other states.
While his goal is to elect more senators who think like he does, that effort comes at the expense of spending time in his home state, making the case to South Carolinians as to why he should represent the state for the next six years.
DeMint is entitled to feel secure that a large percentage of the state’s voters — and many other Americans — share his conservative views. But clearly, some of his views are so radical that he has estranged himself from many, even including some Republican colleagues in the Senate.
For example, many of his supporters are pro-life, as he is. But how many Republicans share his view that abortion is wrong even in the case rape or incest?
Many, like DeMint, might oppose same-sex marriage. But do they share his view that gays and unwed single mothers are unfit to teach in the classroom?
Many, like DeMint, might oppose most congressional earmarks as pork-barrel spending. But do they oppose, as he does, an earmark that would provide $400,000 to study the dredging of the Port of Charleston, which could be crucial if the port is to capitalize on traffic from a widened Panama Canal beginning in 2014?
South Carolina’s other U.S. senator, Lindsey Graham, by the way, sponsored the earmark for the study.
Some of DeMint’s stances have been an outright embarrassment to the state.
Most recently, DeMint opportunistically jumped on the firing of NPR/Fox News analyst Juan Williams to introduce a bill to cut off all federal funding for National Public Radio and the Public Broadcasting Service. In fact, NPR was well within its rights as an employer to fire Williams over his ill-chosen remarks regarding his fears about sharing a plane with people in Muslim garb. NPR also had warned him on a number of occasions about a possible conflict of interest in his working for the two organizations.
Those radical views will make him a major cause of gridlock regardless of which party controls Congress. DeMint’s goal is to promote an uncompromising brand of conservatism that shuns the common ground in favor of ideological purity.
Congress doesn’t need more rancor and partisan divisiveness. It needs members from both parties who are capable of working together for the common good.
In this race, Clements and DeMint are the only viable candidates. We think, however, that Clements would, ultimately, be a more effective advocate for the interests of this state.
See the Clements For Senate You Tube Channel at Youtube – TomClementsSenate.