Arnold Hirsch's attempt to hang the David Duke albatross around the Republican Party's neck was offensive {Outlook, Sept. 23}. Mr. Duke is no more representative of the Republican Party than Lyndon LaRouche and Louis Farrakhan's stooges are of the Democratic Party. For Mr. Hirsch to try to dump Mr. Duke on the GOP only detracts from bipartisan efforts to combat the national scourge of racism and antisemitism.

As a Jew, I am repulsed and frightened that a former Nazi and Ku Klux Klansman could win state office and be taken seriously as a contender for the U.S. Senate. As a Republican, I am disgusted and incensed that an unapologetic racist antisemite would attempt to co-opt the party of Abraham Lincoln. But I am also saddened that Mr. Hirsch would try to use the Duke cancer as an opportunity to engage in partisan attack.

Mr. Hirsch conveniently neglected to mention that Mr. Duke ran for president in 1988 as a Democrat. While he went to great lengths to try to link Mr. Duke with the alleged festering of racism within the Republican Party, he made no attempt to employ the same logic by saying that Mr. Duke's former Democratic Party candidacy revealed similar rumblings within the Democratic ranks. Such a thinly veiled attempt at racial politics only serves to divert energy from fighting the common enemies of bigotry and intolerance.

I am sure that most Republicans are appalled by David Duke. Should Mr. Duke garner enough votes to earn a run-off with Sen. J. Bennett Johnston (D-La.), this Republican and millions like him will be cheering loudly election night for the reelection of the Democratic incumbent. ERON SHOSTECK Wheaton