Editorial: Doyle in the 14th / The incumbent is in tune with his district
Share with others:
More than many politicians, U.S. Rep. Mike Doyle is a good fit for his district, which he has represented for six terms in Congress. The heart of the 14th Congressional District is in Pittsburgh and tends to beat in the traditional way of this region, socially conservative but liberally compassionate.
That is how Mr. Doyle's heart beats, too. Even his opponent, Mike Issac, 34, of Squirrel Hill, can't bring himself to sharply criticize Mr. Doyle, 52, of Forest Hills, conceding that he and the incumbent "agree on a lot of issues."
While the 14th is anchored in Pittsburgh, which contains more than half of the district's 530,000 constituents, it covers more than 50 communities in Allegheny County, between Monroeville and Coraopolis, between Reserve and Elizabeth.
Mr. Isaac's objections are in the details of Mr. Doyle's record. He faulted the congressman for supporting the federalization of certain crimes, thus stiffening the punishment. He disagreed with Rep. Doyle's vote in favor of the White House energy bill. Mr. Isaac also differs on abortion, in which the incumbent is not the conventional liberal. Mr. Issac is unabashedly pro-choice. Rep. Doyle does not support abortion, but he is hardly a darling of pro-lifers -- he disapproved of attempts to overrule the courts in the Terri Schiavo case and supports stem-cell research.
A history teacher at Allderdice High School who has also taught civics, Mr. Issac's challenge is also an exercise in civics -- he is running, he says, because it is "good to give people a choice." Indeed, that is the best argument for him because he can't match the incumbent's experience and record of service.
Mr. Doyle has resisted the Bush agenda of cutting taxes in time of war yet spending, in his words, like "drunken sailors." He believes the administration then tries to make up for it by cutting items like Medicaid and student loans, which hurts people of low or moderate incomes. Bravely, he was one of only four House members who voted against the resolution authorizing the war with Iraq -- for which he took heat at the time and now looks uncommonly wise.
Since there is no Republican running in the 14th district, whoever wins the Democratic nomination is likely to go on to win a two-year term in the House. Mike Doyle deserves the support of Democratic voters and earns the Post-Gazette endorsement.
First Published April 28, 2006 12:00 am