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There's a difference

June 15, 2008

Re "Obamacain," editorial, June 8

I did a double-take when I saw this editorial. After reading it, I could only shake my head.

I suppose we can always find similarities in any two positions, especially with respect to goals. Everyone is for "a strong America," "a clean environment," even "healthcare for all Americans." Why, even President Bush's goals might be the same.

But the differences between John McCain and Barack Obama are enormous.

In foreign policy, what about Iraq, or talking to people we disagree with? The candidates have distinctly different world views.

On social issues, the candidates' differences on gay rights and women's rights are not minor -- they are huge.

On the environment, the scale of solutions offered by each are simply not in the same league.

What about the many unmentioned policy differences? Healthcare? Social Security? Taxes and deficit spending?

I'm not quite sure what the intent of the editorial was, but it felt like contrarianism, which is always fun as an exercise. But it isn't necessarily true.

Peter Schmitz

San Francisco

It is disingenuous of The Times, based on cherry-picking of the candidates' current positions on issues, to cast Obama in the same centrist mold as McCain.

No matter what Obama is saying during his campaign, the historical record he has accumulated in the Senate shows him to be one of the most liberal legislators we have had on the national scene in recent years.

Specifically, the highly respected and impartial National Journal has rated his voting record as the most liberal in the Senate during 2007. In the two preceding years, he was rated the 10th and 16th most liberal. This is a centrist?

Edward A. Shaw

Laguna Beach

This editorial does an excellent job of summing up the issues on which these two leaders may be able to bring their parties to a refreshingly bipartisan consensus. If it can happen, it will be a welcome change from the Karl Rove-directed attention to the extreme wings of both parties, "shout-radio" and half-truth-based attack ads from both sides.

However, the issues you've highlighted are not of primary importance to the American people. In November, the voters will decide whether they want to make changes in the country's direction on Iraq, on healthcare and on the sinking economy.

Tony Ransdell

West Hills

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