Iowa City Press Citizen Endorsement: Loebsack has earned a fourth term in Congress

Our View: Loebsack has earned a fourth term in Congress

Written by Press-Citizen Editorial Board
October, 26

It’s become de rigueur when writing endorsements for Iowa’s Second Congressional District to invoke the legacy of the district’s former Republican Congressman, Jim Leach.

As an editorial board — after endorsing Leach against Democrat Dave Loebsack in 2006 — we invoked Leach’s legacy prominently in our 2008 and 2010 endorsements of Loebsack’s campaign for a second and third term in Congress. And the Des Moines Register Editorial Board mentioned Leach in the first sentence of its recent endorsement of Loebsack for a fourth term.

But it’s getting to be time for that trend to end. In the past two years, Loebsack has begun to show signs of moving out of Leach’s shadow. And it’s time for him to be able to claim the new 24-county Second District for his own.

In the past two years, we’ve been seeing less of the sleepy professor who sought only to go along with his party’s platform and seemed satisfied with a list of small parliamentary victories. And we’ve started to see a more tenured politician who is learning how to exert influence in Washington and who is no longer afraid to use some sharp elbows when needed to get his point across in debate.

Like many in the district, we were disappointed earlier this year when Loebsack came in seventh in the Register’s ranking of the effectiveness of Iowa’s seven-member Congressional delegation. But that Register profile also stressed how Loebsack has a reputation for fighting aggressively on flood relief, for protecting veterans benefits and for looking after Iowa interests.

Loebsack still can be counted on for a fairly party-line Democratic vote. But he has refused to toe the line on various free-trade agreements, and he likewise has been vocal in his call for the president to bring home troops from Afghanistan sooner than the administration’s timeline.

Republican challenger John Archer, a senior attorney for John Deere, has touted his experience negotiating contracts around the world for a major corporation. And Archer has focused his campaign on the steps the U.S. needs to take to become more competitive with emerging economies around the globe.

Unfortunately, to Archer, one of the most important of those steps would be the complete repeal of the Affordable Care Act. It’s unclear, however, what would replace that legislation to help drive down health care costs while still ensuring that young adults and people with pre-existing conditions are able to find health insurance.

We have no doubt that Archer is a principled and committed man. And were Second District voters to elect him to represent them, we hope he eventually will be able to pull upon his experience as a negotiator to move Congress toward more workable solutions. But at best, that’ll be a long time off.

In the meantime, we think Loebsack is in a better position to help Congress move the nation away from the financial cliff, extend tax credits for renewable energy, pass a new and improved farm bill and protect the key provisions of the Affordable Care Act while also addressing any unintended consequences.

Loebsack has earned a fourth term in Congress, and we endorse his re-election.