The Keene Sentinel: SENTINEL EDITORIAL: Paul Hodes for U.S. Senate

Republican Kelly Ayotte’s is running a disarming U.S. Senate campaign. She’s a very pleasant person with an effective television demeanor. That said, it would be unfortunate if her campaign charm were to distract voters from the more brittle aspects of her political philosophy. Ayotte is seeking a six-year job that would put her in a position to affect all of our lives.

She scoffs at the menace of climate change; she’s not sure it’s a problem. Her energy policy echoes Sarah Palin’s “Drill, baby, drill.” She says she’ll do everything in her power to take away women’s rights to make their own decisions on abortion. But while she would insert the government in people’s most intimate decision-making, she would curb other government activity. She cites last year’s emergency stimulus program as an example of things we can’t afford. Yet she wants to starve the Treasury by retaining tax cuts for people who earn $250,000 a year or more. She also wants to repeal the 2010 health-care law that promises access to health insurance for millions of generally lower income Americans — the law that is starting to close the so-called “donut hole” in Medicare prescription coverage and that has begun to eliminate the worst abuses of the insurance industry, such as denying coverage to people with a history of medical difficulties and withdrawing coverage from others when they get ill.

From a policy point of view, Hodes is Ayotte’s mirror image. He backs the health care reforms. He believes in science: He is pushing for a comprehensive alternative energy policy to mitigate global warming, to reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil and to create high-tech jobs. And he would do away with billions of dollars of subsidies for the petroleum industry. Hodes is pro-choice. He takes the right stand on the Bush era tax cuts — extend them for most Americans in these difficult times, but end them for people who are fortunate enough not to need them. Eliminating tax cuts for the wealthy would be “a $700 billion hit to the deficit,” Hodes told The Sentinel last week. And he says the stimulus program — referred to by his opponent and the national GOP echo chamber as the “failed stimulus program” — was necessary as part of the effort to protect the economy from “a second Great Depression.” He cites several specific benefits for New Hampshire.

It is ironic to see the political right and Tea Party ideologues railing against the alleged economic consequences of a program that may well have saved the economy from disaster.

There is much to like about Hodes’ approach to the challenges facing the country, but one matter that should be of special interest to people in this part of the state is the fact that, as a congressman, he broke with our Washington delegation’s longtime indifference to the safety and integrity of the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant. It would be reassuring to have a U.S. senator with a serious interest in, and understanding of, those issues, rather than a devotee of que sera sera private enterprise.

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