IN THE US Senate race in New Hampshire, both candidates hew closely to that state's anti-tax, anti-deficit orthodoxy. But there are significant differences between the two on issues like the future of Social Security, embryonic stem-cell research, and protection of the environment. Former governor Jeanne Shaheen, a Democrat, holds sensible stands on these questions that earn her the Globe's endorsement.
The incumbent, Republican John Sununu, has been advocating a partial privatization of Social Security since his days in the House of Representatives. Even before the recent cratering of the stock market, critics of this approach have raised the obvious question: If young workers are allowed, under Sununu's plan, to set up individual accounts with payroll taxes that normally would go into the Social Security fund, where would the money come from to pay full benefits for current retirees? That is the trillion-dollar question with privatization, and Sununu has no answer for it.
Shaheen backs expanded federal funding of embryonic stem-cell research, which Sununu has opposed. President Bush's 2001 decision to limit US support to cell lines created before then has hindered this promising field. While scientists have worked to induce non-embryonic stem cells to develop into a range of tissues, it is important to pursue the use of embryonic stem cells as well.
Sununu also opposes abortion rights, which Shaheen would defend.
While Sununu favors drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Shaheen opposes that sacrifice of a national treasure to the country's appetite for oil. Like Social Security, the refuge needs protection for coming generations. Shaheen merits a chance to provide it.