The WEB's Editorial: Voters should pay close attention to Congressional races

At a time when it is nearly impossible to watch the television without seeing an ad for Barack Obama or John McCain, it can be very easy for citizens to be swept away by this monumental presidential election. The excessive media attention, the exciting, fresh candidates, and the promise of change have all helped this election to be deemed as one of the most significant in the history of the United States. After years of dissatisfaction and controversy, people on both sides of the spectrum, Republicans and Democrats, hope that this election will be a great turning point for this nation. While these expectations have the likelihood of coming true with the election of either candidate, it is very important to remember to focus this anticipation equally among all types of races this year, especially Congressional elections. No matter how much change Obama and McCain guarantee, it will be very difficult for them to follow through on their promises unless they have a competent and effective Congress, something that has been noticeably absent in the last few years. A recent Gallup Poll from July 16 found that the Congress’ approval rating had hit an all time low of 14 percent. In this upcoming election, Americans have the power to change this, and should be sure to make informed decisions about whom they are voting for. It should not be acceptable to just vote for the incumbent or vote based on which party each candidate belongs to. In Iowa’s 4th District, Rep. Tom Latham is up for re-election against Democrat Becky Greenwald. The Web feels that the new beginning this country needs starts with electing a better Congress, and Iowans have the perfect chance to do so in this district. Latham has been a member of the House since 1995, which makes him a tough candidate to beat, since he has the name recognition Greenwald lacks. While his name is in his favor, his voting record is not. In the past year, Latham has voted with President Bush and the Republican Party over 91 percent of the time. He voted for cutting benefits for soldiers, including military healthcare, and has consistently voted in favor of the War in Iraq. His votes for cutting student loan programs by billions of dollars are especially significant to young voters. Greenwald, on the other hand, has made it very clear that she supports expanding financial aid for college, and repealing No Child Left Behind. Latham cannot continue to take America down the path that Bush created, and Greenwald offers voters the option of change. With both Presidential candidates opposing “more of the same,” that mentality should trickle down to the Congressional level. This is an exciting time for our nation, and it is great that citizens are standing behind candidates that appeal to the hope for a transformation, but we are fooling ourselves if we think one person can change everything. A government full of leaders committed to real progress is the only way to truly begin a new era in Washington. If voters can make informed decisions during the elections, from the President to Congress, the U.S. has a legitimate chance to truly change for the better in the next couple of years. – Editorial composed by Meredith Anselman on behalf of The WEB’s editorial board