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    Little difference between Democratic Senate candidates Lee, Porter, Schiff
    • October 12, 2023

    In a little over a year California voters will choose a replacement for the late Sen. Dianne Feinstein.

    An Oct. 8 debate revealed some differences among the three candidates involved: Democratic Reps. Adam Schiff of Burbank, Katie Porter of Orange County and Barbara Lee of Oakland.

    On the hottest issue of the day, the candidates differed on how the United States ought to respond to the Hamas terrorist attack on Israel.

    Schiff first was asked if he was out of step with “other progressives,” such as Porter and Lee, with his typically hawkish stance. He touted his support by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and J Street. He said, “The only sentiment I want to express right now, when Israel is going through its own 9/11, is unequivocal support for the security and the right of Israel to defend itself.”

    Porter, by contrast, said, “I stand with Israel in this time and I condemn the loss of lives, both of Palestinians and of Israelis who are being victims of this terror.” She backed a two-state solution, giving Palestinians their own country, and she cautioned with respect to Israel’s response to the Hamas terrorist attacks, “There is no exception for human rights.”

    Said Lee, who has sponsored legislation putting restrictions on U.S. aid to Israel, “I have always stood for Israel.” She added she has condemned terrorist attacks on it. She called for prayers for both sides, and said America “has a responsibility to call for a ceasefire.”

    On the domestic front, all three supported a bill by Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Virginia, to more than double the federal minimum wage from the current $7.25 to $17 by 2028; in California it already will be $16 in 2024.

    Schiff thought there ought to be flexibility among states because some are cheaper. But for health care workers, he backed $25 and $20 for everyone else. Lee, who has evidently never once considered getting even vaguely acquainted with economics, backed a $50 minimum wage. Porter complained about corporate profits and backed a $25 minimum wage with a cost-of-living increase.

    The candidates held similar views on most other issues, such as opposing the potential shutdown of the government over budget squabbles and backing the PRO Act, which would greatly increase union power.

    In other words, the three top Democrats are as economically illiterate as each other, and prefer suffocating top-down federal mandates over allowing markets to work. Their only major distinction is their approach to foreign policy. On the one end, you have Schiff, who voted for the disastrous Iraq war and on the other, you have Lee, who voted against the Authorization for Use of Military Force after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

    In future debates, we hope participants include Sen. Laphonza Butler, who was invited but chose not to participate. She was appointed Oct. 1 by Gov Gavin Newsom to replace Feinstein. But so far Butler hasn’t publicly stated her intentions for seeking election to the office.

    And because the March 5 primary is Top Two — not partisan — at least one Republican hopeful should be included in future debates. Former Dodgers star Steve Garvey, who just announced he is running for the Senate seat, is hoping to do better than his former team in this year’s playoffs.

    ​ Orange County Register