Editorial: GOP should choose Rubens for Senate
Scott Brown may be dominating the headlines and the airwaves in the GOP’s quest to unseat Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen. But Jim Rubens is the candidate who offers New Hampshire Republicans the clearest view of where he stands and where the party should be going.
Brown has been the anointed general election candidate since the day he officially launched his campaign, and he’s seized on his frontrunner status to launch an aggressive campaign targeting Shaheen. He has spent recent months carefully positioning himself as the anti-Shaheen, and in doing so, he’s struggled to balance his more moderate Massachusetts past with the how-right-can-you-go mentality of a New Hampshire primary.
Rubens, meanwhile, has displayed a true independent streak, standing out on issues such as climate change and campaign finance reform. And the former state senator’s candid view of his own party has the potential to help reshape New Hampshire Republican politics, and make it more palatable for those in the center.
To be clear, we are disappointed that Rubens has shifted his stance on energy policy. A longtime supporter of a tax on carbon emissions, Rubens now believes subsidies should be eliminated for all energy options, a move that would likely derail the emerging wind, solar and biofuel industries that could one day make oil, coal and natural gas obsolete. He has, however, remained steadfast in his recognition that climate change is caused mainly by human activity. His willingness to stand with the vast majority of climate scientists is unique among Republican Senate candidates. It’s an unfortunate reality that the climate issue has been hijacked by special interests, and it’s refreshing to see that Rubens hasn’t been swept away by the hoax hysteria.
The Rubens campaign is also being supported by the bipartisan Mayday PAC, which aims to help elect candidates who are likely to push for campaign finance reform. The rising influence of money in politics has an ever-tightening grip on both parties, and it’s a hopeful sign to have a candidate who is serious about meaningful reform.
“Voters know most people down there are just concerned with collecting campaign cash to get re-elected – which is true,” said Rubens, whose reform proposals include public financing of elections. “Our party needs to give voice to this.”
More than anyone in this race, Rubens understands how polarizing his party can be. “The Republican Party that I’m in needs to take an approach that wins young people back,” he said during a recent meeting with the Monitor’s editorial board. “We need to get out of being associated with things like discriminating against gay people. We can’t afford to do this anymore.”
On Sept. 9, Republican voters face a stark contrast between a polished candidate who has offered little indication that he means what he says, and a longtime New Hampshire resident who has the courage to say what many in his party don’t want to hear.
A Jim Rubens victory may not lure the national news media the way a Brown-Shaheen race would, but New Hampshire residents would get a candidate willing to buck the political trend on some key issues.