Our View: Ups & Downs - Rep. Mel Watt; Barbara Bush
THUMBS UP — actually two thumbs up — to U.S. Rep. Mel Watt, D-12th, who is leaving his congressional post next week to head the Federal Housing Finance Agency. He gets one THUMBS UP for his overall work in the 12th District, which includes part of High Point, during his 21-year tenure as the district’s only representative after first being elected in 1992. We have not always agreed editorially with Watt during his time in office, but we have always respected him for the way in which he has carried out his duties. We also wish him well in his new post.
Watt gets a second THUMBS UP for his astuteness in his decision not to get involved with the political process to fill his soon-to-be-vacated seat. As noted in an Enterprise news story earlier this week, Watt said, “I’m staying out of the race, certainly not anointing anyone.” That’s a wise move for Watt politically and legally — legally because after he takes the new post next week, he will be in a position for which political activity is prohibited. But it was good for Watt not to get involved in picking his replacement. In many such cases in the past, a departing member of Congress had indeed “anointed” someone to take the vacated seat. It’s better for a departing member of Congress to let the people decide who will replace him or her. And besides, in this case for Watt, a number of his Democratic friends, including High Point’s N.C. Rep. Marcus Brandon, are vying for the seat. There simply would be no upside for Watt to endorse someone.
THUMBS UP to former first lady Barbara Bush, who was hospitalized earlier this week for a respiratory-related issue. She remained in a Houston hospital late Thursday afternoon, but news reports said she was responding well to treatment. As first lady and former first lady, Bush has visited High Point in the past, and her popularity — among those of any political persuasion — was evident.