Schaffer for Senate

Coloradans have a clear ideological choice in the race for the U.S. Senate this year between Democrat Mark Udall, currently a congressman representing the state’s 2nd Congressional District, and Republican Bob Schaffer, who formerly served in Congress from Colorado’s 4th Congressional District.
We believe Schaffer’s staunchly conservative ideas are more in line with what Colorado and this country need right now than Udall’s liberal views.
Take energy development, for instance. Schaffer, who worked for an oil company immediately after retiring from Congress, has been a long-time supporter of opening up more areas for drilling along the U.S. coast, in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and in the continental United States.
Udall, who has supported offshore drilling in some very limited circumstances in the past, began to support it more only after gas prices hit $4 a gallon and public outcry for more drilling grew substantially. Even so, he still supports offshore drilling only in very limited circumstances and he opposes drilling in ANWR.
Both men have endorsed more incentives for renewable energy, though Udall has gone further in that regard.
It should be noted that this newspaper has backed Udall’s cautious approach to leasing of federal lands for commercial oil shale development. But overall, we believe Schaffer’s efforts to increase U.S. domestic supplies of conventional energy are more what the country needs at a time when foreign supplies of such energy increasingly are controlled by despots who despise this country.

Similarly, on taxes, we believe Schaffer has the better approach. He would extend the tax cuts passed by Congress at the urging of President Bush early in this decade. He wants more tax relief for small businesses and seeks to maintain investment incentives. He also would like to eliminate the estate tax.

Udall wants to maintain the capital gains tax at its current level, but would make relatively minor changes to the estate tax. He supports extending portions of the 2001 tax cuts — especially for those in the lowest income brackets — but not all of them.

Udall also argues that one thing which needs to be done to improve the nation’s finances is to end the war in Iraq. While we’re hopeful U.S. involvement in that war can begin to diminish substantially over the next year, we don’t believe that should occur precipitously just to meet budget goals.

We have criticized Udall for voting against the bailout bill in Congress last week, but Schaffer said during a debate this week that he would have done the same thing.

Both men said they didn’t think there was adequate oversight of how the $700 billion may be spent. But Schaffer offered a better argument — that Congress should be looking at curtailing spending in other areas to help pay for the bailout. Udall, in contrast, argued for even more spending. He wants to bail out homeowners with troubled mortgages, even though that doesn’t address the central issue in the credit crisis.

Finally, this is a year when there is a very good chance of Democrats winning the White House and maintaining control of both houses of Congress. But there is something to be said for a bit of gridlock, and for preventing either party from not only controlling both the executive and legislative branches, but from having a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate.

Critical in that effort this year will be maintaining GOP control of the Colorado seat in the Senate now held by Republican Wayne Allard, Doing that means voting for Bob Schaffer.


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