Wicker was a good congressman for the 1st District. Musgrove served with distinction first as lieutenant governor, then as governor.
“If they are so much alike, then what’s the difference?” one might ask.
The difference is leadership ability.
The very issues that Wicker’s campaign is attacking, including Musgrove’s stretching the state’s budget to provide health care for children and basic education funding for schoolchildren, are not areas of disgrace, but marks of leadership.
From championing health care for the poor, making public education the top legislative priority, putting his stamp on providing statewide trauma care for all citizens, Musgrove has been an innovative and progressive leader. He has won some battles and lost some. He has made mistakes. That’s what happens when people lead. They put forth innovative ideas and aren’t afraid to fail.
Wicker, by contrast, while working hard for economic development and the issues of importance to his district, has been more of a follower. He has diligently followed the party line in votes, even when there were unique needs in Mississippi that required an independent approach.
Musgrove is a better choice for another politically practical reason.
Mississippi has been fortunate to have strong Republican senators with seniority with Sen. Thad Cochran and Sen. Lott during GOP administrations and with GOP majorities in the Senate. That clout meant much for Mississippi. However, that influence is now lessened greatly by Lott’s retirement. From a practical political standpoint, the state would be served by adding a Democratic senator in the Democratic-majority Senate to put Mississippi at the table where it is accustomed to being.
We do not wish to be critical of either of these candidates. This newspaper has endorsed both Sen. Wicker and Gov. Musgrove in all of their races for public office. Either would serve with distinction.
However, the record of Ronnie Musgrove, as lieutenant governor, as governor, as a progressive leader, makes him the best choice on Nov. 4.
Clarion Ledger Editorial