For the U.S. Senate: Pat Toomey
The Intelligencer (Bucks County)
AS MUCH AS OUTGOING U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter defied partisan stereotypes, what with his record as a liberal Republican and his history of party flip-flopping, the candidates vying to replace him fall neatly into their parties' molds.
Make no mistake. Joe Sestak is a liberal Democrat; Pat Toomey is a conservative Republican. How liberal and how conservative have served as central debate points for the campaign, with each candidate accusing the other of extremism. While there is some truth to the charges and countercharges, there also is hyperbole. That was our impression after meeting with the candidates.
For sure, Sestak, a Delaware County congressman and retired admiral, is far to the left of Toomey. He has energetically supported President Obama's initiatives on the economy and health care reform - and makes no apologies for it. He argues that the stimulus bills and the bailouts, vilified now as immense debt diggers, were necessary to stanch economic disaster and widespread unemployment. It was essential cleanup duty, he argues, mopping up the mess left by the previous Republican administration.
A Harvard graduate, Sestak was equally supportive of health care reform, including a liberal-favored, government-run public option that was not included in the final law.
Looking ahead, Sestak would boost the economy by focusing on small business. He favors giving a 15 percent tax credit to small businesses for each job created, and he'd increase federal loans to small businesses and eliminate capital gains taxes for investments. Sestak would pay for his plan by closing tax loopholes for big business and Wall Street.
Both candidates support extending the Bush tax cuts. But Sestak would keep them only for couples with annual incomes up to $250,000 and individuals making no more than $200,000. He'd eliminate them for the wealthiest Americans.
Toomey, a former Lehigh Valley congressman, would extend the cuts for all Americans and pay for them by reducing spending, including rescinding the unspent portion of federal stimulus money. He'd also pull the plug on wasteful congressional earmarks and cap discretionary spending unrelated to national security.
Also a Harvard alumnus, Toomey would support efforts to roll back the Obama health care reforms, which he characterizes as a government takeover. He'd increase access and affordability with a more "modest" approach, including creating competition among insurers. And he would work to pass medical
malpractice reform with caps on noneconomic damages. He also wants to reform Social Security by allowing younger workers to invest a portion of their contribution in private investment accounts.
Running a small business since he left Congress, Toomey would seek to revive the economy by reducing business tax rates to levels similar to major trading competitors, simplifying the U.S. tax code, cutting the capital gains tax and better protecting American intellectual property rights.
These are common-sense positions, not extremism in our view. Indeed, members of our editorial board who expected to hear over-the-top, right-wing rhetoric from Toomey found him to be clear, succinct and reasonable instead. Sestak, on the other hand, rather than answering questions, tended to segue to prepared talking points that often were off target.
While the former admiral deserves our admiration for his service to the nation, we found his opponent to be the more appealing candidate. Thus, The Intelligencer endorses Pat Toomey for the U.S. Senate.
October 29, 2010 02:23 AM