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what others are saying

GOP candidates lean more to the center

The Democrat and Chronicle, Rochester, N.Y.:

It's interesting, alone, that the site for the first presidential debate among Republican contenders was California and the Reagan Library.

After all, California hasn't voted for a Republican candidate for president since 1988. But just maybe the 10 declared GOP candidates were trying to send a message: The Western spirit, distinguished for being pioneering and popularized in the late 20th century by Ronald Reagan, a celebrated Californian, is alive.

Arnold Schwarzenegger, a former actor, like Reagan, is certainly a pioneer. And also like Reagan, the idol of most Republicans, he too won keys to the governor's mansion in California, a state that is solidly Democratic.

But a big difference for many of the Republicans in the 2008 presidential field, is that, unlike Reagan, who was an ideological conservative, the leading contenders lean more to the center.

Romney, McCain and Giuliani all strayed from GOP support for interceding in the widely publicized case of Terri Schiavo, a brain-damaged Florida woman. And Giuliani went so far as to endorse a woman's right to make a decision on whether to have an abortion.

These three GOP candidates are certainly blazing new trails, but it's unlikely that they're ones that would please the Gipper.

Bill to improve car, truck gas mileage by 2019 has big loophole

Los Angeles Times:

With gas prices soaring and congressional Democrats eager to flex their environmental muscles, the stars have seldom been better aligned for a long-overdue increase in automotive fuel economy standards. Yet the best hope for progress - a sensible bill from California Sen. Dianne Feinstein - underwent oral surgery Tuesday and is now all but toothless.

Feinstein's bill would require that every automaker's combined car and light-truck fleets sold in the U.S. improve from an average of 25 miles per gallon to 35 mpg by 2019. While that was originally an ironclad mandate and the first major increase in overall fuel standards since 1985, the Senate Commerce Committee ... watered down the bill by allowing the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to let carmakers off the hook if it determines the annual goals aren't cost-effective. That Hummer-sized loophole means any administration hostile to tighter standards, or simply unwilling to take on the tough Detroit lobby, might be able to ignore them.

Without a firm government mandate, there's a good chance the 35-mpg goal won't be

met, even two decades after Europe and Japan got there. That means higher greenhouse gas emissions and a greater reliance on foreign oil. That's too heavy a cost for placating Detroit. Have any thoughts about this column? Share them with us at letters@gwinnettdailypost.com. Letters should be no more than 200 words and are subject to approval by the publisher. Letters may be edited for style and space requirements. Please sign your name and provide an address and a daytime telephone number. Address letters for publication to: Letters to the Editor, Gwinnett Daily Post, P.O. Box 603, Lawrenceville, GA 30046-0603. The fax number is 770-339-8081.