Straight Talk 

We don't really know much about Ron Shapiro, besides the fact he is one of four Democratic candidates for Congress in Mississippi's 1st Congressional District, hopeful of opposing Republican incumbent Roger Wicker in this year's general election. And, since we don't usually cover Mississippi politics as such, we haven't done much tracking of the situation down there, other than to assume that Wicker will be heavily favored.

We have to say, however, that we were intrigued to receive a note this week from Shapiro, asking for our help in disseminating his message, which he summarized as follows: "I want TRUTH. As a veteran I am against this war, torture and illegally spying on Americans. I am against reckless deficit spending. I am for helping the needy, keeping the air and water clean, working with all nations, spending more on peace than on war, and rebuilding the Mississippi and Louisiana Coast before Iraq."

Whoa! This man is a Democrat? A member of the same party that contains, in our own home-state bailiwick, Governor Phil Bredesen, a competent-enough executive who is known, however, for cautiously neutral governmental policies, and a senatorial candidate, Congressman Harold Ford Jr., who'd sooner say anything -- including professing "personal" love for President Bush -- than admit to anything identifiably Democratic?

Here is more Shapiro, as reported by the Itawamba County Times: "'I want to wipe out illiteracy in the district,' Shapiro said. A 62-year-old Army veteran, he opposes plans to reduce military benefits and bases. Shapiro said he's against everything the Bush administration has done, except for going after terrorist Osama Bin Laden."

Hallelujah! Now, mind you, we aren't taking sides in that Mississippi Democratic primary. But we just aren't used to hearing candidates around here talk turkey in this manner. Most of them may try to do some honest gobbling, but more often than not it comes out gobbledygook.

We admire candor whenever we hear it. Shapiro's approach is refreshing, and we wish him good luck.

Ophelia Ford Redux

Ophelia Ford may or may not be correct when she says (as she repeated again Tuesday) that God has chosen her -- or, more properly, the endless litigation about her on-again/off-again District 29 state Senate seat -- to be a political object lesson. Presumably, U.S. district judge Bernice Donald ruled Tuesday on the basis of mortal (and legal) considerations alone that the Shelby County Commission may not appoint a successor, as scheduled, next Monday, and that the recent state Senate action voiding Ford's election must receive a full and expedited review in her court.

All we can say is (no pun intended): Godspeed! Let's get this matter over with once and for all.

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