When Bob Casey was selected by the power brokers in Washington to run against Rick Santorum (R-VA) it was de ja vu all over again. In 2000 Ron Klink was the insiders choice to take on Ricky because of his stands on abortion and guns. Of course the abortion hotheads and gun nuts all backed Santorum anyway and Klink could not raise enough money from Democratic donors to be competitive. I find it insulting that the rest of the country thinks that all we have to do is nominate a Republican-lite candidate to have a chance. In 2000 the clear choice was Allyson Schwartz. She would have made her differences with Santorum clear instead of saying "me too" and would have excited the Democratic base. In the end Gore won the state and Klink lost by 5% after being outspent 7:1 (thanks LV). If we had a real Democrat that talked about important issues instead of the hot button nonsense things may have been different.
I have covered the other senate candidates and they are not afraid to spell out their positions. Almost a year out from the election the only people paying attention are political junkies but I am seeing a growing rebellion in the Netroots. This post on Lou's List got me thinking:
Chuck Pennacchio clearly believes that getting on the same stage with Casey is his chance to pick up significant support, and the poll results show he may be right. And that's only one issue. Casey is widely considered to be a weak debater and his mastery of many national issues is questioned. Santorum has also been chomping at the bit to debate Casey.
One thing that is certain is Casey will have no problem raising money. In fact he is getting money from the same people who back Santorum as Maria of 2 Poltical Junkies point out:
THERE'S STILL A PRIMARY ON MAY 16TH. There's a candidate out there who refuses to take money from any PAC. He's actually pro-choice in a BLUE STATE. And that matters because Casey is completely anti-choice. Perhaps that's why Casey's slipped 6 points in the polls. Despite his best efforts, the electorate is starting to learn what his views are and who backs him.
Furthermore a recent Quinnipiac Poll shows that:
When it is pointed out to pro-choice Casey voters that he and Santorum both oppose legalized abortion, 63 percent of the Democrat's supporters say they still will vote for him, while 22 percent say they will not vote in this race. Hear that Schumer, Reid and Hillary? Twenty-two percent will sit out the race because you all decided that it was good for the party to run an anti-choice candidate in a BLUE STATE. And that 22% means bye-bye to a Casey win.
Dragonballyee ( did I spell it right?) talks about how Casey is not in touch with the people who care and can help him:
I don't have a problem with Casey Jr. speaking at a law firm. But it seems that it's stops like this that are the only ones he's making and I think that's shitty. I haven't heard or read of a single account of him showing up at a grassroots event. A Meetup. A Drinking Liberally. A rally. There's nothing wrong with raising money. There is something wrong with not talking to the people.
I haven't seen Casey Jr. speak clearly on a lot of issues. Say the Iraq war. The slow-moving Casey campaign still hasn't reacted to Rep. Murtha's call for withdrawal. Chuck Pennacchio didn't see the Iraq war as the right move and has been calling for troop withdrawal for ages.
It annoys me that people agree with Chuck Pennacchio's stance on the issues but give money to Casey Jr. It really annoys me that Rendell-Reid-Schumer made the PA Senate race what it now is.
Comments From Left Field has hope:
Currently Casey's biggest challenger, Chuck Pennacchio, recognizes this weakness as well and is stumping all over the state picking up supporters at a rapid pace. While his campaign is not highly financed, this should not be seen as a negative because he has refused to take corporate PAC money, something Casey certainly can not say. In an interview earlier this week with Family Life TV in Kittanning Pennacchio had this to say about the money issue;
"We turn that to our advantage by running against the money, I'm happy to be running without that albatross (of corporate donors)."
I will repeat what I have stated all along about this race, Pennsylvania Democrats deserve to make up their own minds about who is best suited to challenge Rick Santorum in a general election, not have it decided by power brokers in Washington. It is my opinion that Chuck Pennacchio is a people's candidate formed in the mold of Paul Wellstone and someone I would be proud to call Senator.
2 hours ago