"All politics is local," was the gospel of former House Speaker Tip O'Neill.
Well, not all politics, at least not in all races.
Certainly in a township trustee or city council race, local is all that matters. But the higher the candidate climbs on the ladder, the more the voter must weigh local vs. national vs. international.
It is that calculus that complicated The Vindicator editorial board's endorsement process in the race for the U.S. Senate seat from Ohio. Incumbent Republican Mike DeWine is being challenged by Democratic U.S. Rep. Sherrod Brown.
We have endorsed DeWine in the past -- sometimes more enthusiastically than others.
The war issue
Today, we find ourselves profoundly uncomfortable with DeWine's inability to challenge President Bush on the overriding national and international issue facing the country, the war in Iraq.
The strongest criticism DeWine will offer is of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, in whom he doesn't have confidence. But then he adds, the president has the right to a cabinet of his choice.
Brown was right about the war in Iraq three years ago -- he opposed going in -- and he's right about it now. He wants an aggressive withdrawal strategy.
But this is not a one issue race, and it is a race in which The Vindicator must consider the work DeWine has done in the past for the Mahoning Valley and his promise of future support.
While DeWine has supported free trade agreements, which he maintains have created jobs in Ohio, he has also been willing to demand sanctions against trade violators. He was among a delegation of legislators who convinced President Bush to do what President Bill Clinton would not: impose steel quotas that helped save the domestic steel industry.
Closer to home, DeWine placed $1.3 million in a Senate appropriations bill that is vital to the downtown Youngstown Technology Center.
And he almost single-handedly prevailed upon the federal bureau of prisons to commit to sending 1,200 prisoners to what was then a mothballed private prison on Hubbard Road in Youngstown. The prison reopened, creating hundreds of jobs.
DeWine's proven commitment to the Mahoning Valley is strong enough to overcome some of our reservations and earn him The Vindicator's endorsement for re-election.