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Senate candidates beg to differ

Civics-bookish as it may sound, the voters of California were well served by Wednesday's debatebetween Senate candidates Carly Fiorina and Barbara Boxer. (Video clips here.)

Yes, there were cheap shots. Really, what is the relevance to a legislative position of Boxer's crack that Fiorina "made her name as a CEO in Hewlett-Packard laying thousands and thousands of workers off, shipping their jobs overseas, making no sacrifice while she was doing it, taking $100 million." Only slightly more to the point was Fiorina's complaint that "after 18 long years in the Senate, 28 years [in Congress, Boxer] only has four relatively insignificant bills with her name on them." Even if Fiorina is right (and some fact-checkers quibble with the number), success as a senator is about more than affixing your name to reams of bills.

But much of the debate was dominated by clashes over real issues: abortion,  taxes, economic stimulus and gun control. Never mind that the candidates' respective positions mirrored those of their parties. Elections should provide voters, as Barry Goldwater  liked to say, "a choice, not an echo." This debate was anything but an echo chamber. If you support abortion rights, Boxer made the right noises. If you want Roe vs. Wade to be repealed, Fiorina is your candidate. A ban on assault weapons: Boxer for, Fiorina against.  Support gay marriage: Boxer says yes, Fiorina would stop at civil unions. And so on.

It's not exactly novel for a Republican candidate to support tax cuts and less government regulation, or for a Democrat to defend an activist federal government. But the point of an election campaign isn't entertainment; it's elucidation. By that measure, the Boxer-Fiorina debate was a success.

 -- Michael McGough

 

Comments () | Archives (3)

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jake

"This debate was anything but an echo chamber. If you support abortion rights, Boxer made the right noises. If you want Roe vs. Wade to be repealed, Fiorina is your candidate. A ban on assault weapons: Boxer for, Fiorina against. Support gay marriage: Boxer says yes, Fiorina would stop at civil unions. And so on."

Its actually not about that at all. Those are red herring issues that U.S. Senators rarely if ever would decide.

Where U.S. Senators do have a profound effect on are things like voting for or against Obama Care, Cap and Trade, tax increases (or cuts), and immigration reform.

I would say if you want higher taxes, amnesty for illegals, higher taxes on manufacturers resulting in higher consumer costs, vote for Boxer again.

If you want smaller government, lower taxes, a focus on less government spending and working towards a balances budget, while trying to secure the borders, vote for Fiorina.

Erik

Okay. I would say if you want gridlock, fruitless grandstanding about repealing the health care bill (overriding an Obama veto? Just how would that work?), and obstruction of bills for the sake of obstructing them (killing tax cuts for small businesses because the Dems proposed it), vote for Fiorina.

If you want someone who's going to focus like a laser on the national and state economy, who will extend unemployment benefits to those who lost their jobs through no fault of their own (and would be homeless and penniless if Fiorina had her way), who will advocate for green jobs and green energy (with California already at the forefront), who will advocate for our UC, CSU, and community college students rather than advocating the rejection of federal money for higher education - in other words, if you want a smart, productive, forward looking America, vote Boxer.

And yeah, the commenter above is right, a senator might not have much say in abortion, gun control, marriage rights, or immigration law as things stand right now. But the senate can confirm or reject Supreme Court justices - who do make those kinds of decisions.

ME

I'd call this a stalemate. This will be hard to vote on.


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The Opinion L.A. blog is the work of Los Angeles Times Editorial Board membersNicholas Goldberg, Robert Greene, Carla Hall, Jon Healey, Sandra Hernandez, Karin Klein, Michael McGough, Jim Newton and Dan Turner. Columnists Patt Morrison and Doyle McManus also write for the blog, as do Letters editor Paul Thornton, copy chief Paul Whitefield and senior web producer Alexandra Le Tellier.



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