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Throw the bums out of Washington

Let's be frank: At this point a vote for a Republican in Congress is a vote for the disastrous status quo.

If any of Georgia's Republicans in the U.S. House had been independent-minded enough, say, to question the conduct of the war in Iraq or to rebel against electing scumbag Tom DeLay as their leader, it still might be hard in good conscience to support them.

The simple fact is that a very bad crowd is running Congress right now. And corny as it sounds, it's the duty of patriots to push for real change -- which only will come if Republicans are in the minority.

As it is, however, the choice is easy. None of Georgia's Republicans in Congress has shown an iota of independence on issues as far-flung as civil liberties, deficit spending and foreign policy.

So it's disappointing that none of metro Atlanta's congressional seats are likely to switch parties this year. One reason is that each of the state's congressional districts are drawn to favor one party or another. The other reason is that Georgia Democrats failed to recruit and fund experienced candidates in any of the state's Republican-leaning districts.

Still, the election provides an opportunity for voters to let incumbents know that more is expected of them, to let strong challengers know which incumbents might be vulnerable in the future and, quite frankly, to express our outrage.

Fourth District: Hank Johnson defeated Cynthia McKinney in the Democratic primary. Although McKinney's temper and arrogance doomed her, she was a solid vote for many worthy causes, especially those affecting the environment and labor. Johnson won on the "I'm not Cynthia" platform. We hope he'll carry the ball on issues critical to the Fourth District. His Republican opponent, Catherine Davis, offers little more than predictable GOP platitudes. Johnson has earned his chance.

Fifth District: U.S. Rep. John Lewis has represented his Atlanta district well, often serving as the conscience of the nation on issues of human rights and racial reconciliation. Lewis faces no opposition.

Sixth District: Incumbent Tom Price has voted against stem-cell research, for allowing corporations to ship jobs overseas with no penalties, for congressional intrusion into the horrible spectacle surrounding Terri Schiavo's death and against college-student aid. He consistently lines up against ordinary citizens and for special interests -- so long as they have money. Steve Sinton, a radio-industry veteran, is well-informed and has backbone. He would offer a competent, independent voice in this wealthy Republican district.

Seventh District: U.S. Rep. John Linder has made a contribution to the national debate over taxes by sponsoring the so-called "Fair Tax." But Linder's plan would shift taxes to the middle class while allowing the wealthiest citizens to lighten their load. On many issues -- such as cutting spending and reining in government power -- Linder has proven less a conservative than a sycophant for the party's discredited leadership in Washington. His opponent, Allan Burns, is a partner in a small construction firm and an articulate moderate who typifies the middle-class district. His platform is sensible -- focusing mostly on energy and education, two subjects of dire importance to Georgians and about which Linder doesn't give a fig.

11th District: Republican incumbent Phil Gingrey is a dittohead to Price and Linder. He's irresponsible in his partisan loyalty at the expense of Georgia's best interests. His inexperienced opponent, Patrick Pillion, at least offers a real alternative: He wants a quick troop pullout from Iraq and supports universal health care.

13th District: David Scott, the Democratic incumbent, is perplexing. He was a solid, progressive state legislator, but he has shown little leadership in Congress. He voted for the recent "Military Commissions Act" that strips away the right of habeas corpus for aliens and possibly even citizens. That right is a cornerstone of Americans' freedom. Scott also has voted to repeal the inheritance tax -- a move that favors the very wealthiest Americans at the expense of everyone else. Yet, Scott's opponent, Deborah Honeycutt, mainly offers up her support of John Linder's "Fair Tax" -- which certainly wouldn't benefit constituents of the relatively poor 13th District. Send Scott back to Congress, but voters should barrage his office with demands that he stand up to the powerful and vote in his constituents' interests.

Clash of the Titans

The Endorsement Issue

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