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.
3 hours ago
I have several points with which I take issue, but I'll keep my comments confined to the first paragraph or two. First, Klink was not the insiders choice. The insiders choice was Tom Foley, the former labor secretary. The party actually didn't endorse that year. Also, Klink won b/c he was the only candidate from Western Pa. The others were from all other parts of the state, mostly the SE. Also, Schwartz was a seriously flawed candidate that year, failing to secure a lot of support from the Main Line Democrats while she and Foley bickered the entire time. Also, she would have lost in the general election b/c she has connections to an abortion clinic in the SE. Santorum would have beaten her with that issue for the entire summer and my guess is that it would have worked in some of the more conservative areas of the state, drawing out more voters that actually might have swayed the entire 2000 election in PA.
My other area of contention is this constant claim that pro-life/pro-gun folks are Republican-lite. I am both pro-life and pro-gun and hardly consider myself Republican-lite. In fact, I consider myself to be a part of the most progressive wing of our party. However, there seems to be this threshold that too many progressives put out there that pro-life/pro-gun and generally culturally conservative folks such as myself are not real Democrats. I don't think you want to see people such as myself be driven from the party because we disagree on legitimate moral grounds while agreeing on so many other grounds. I'm not saying that your contention with Casey is without merit or base, but I am saying to be careful, b/c so many folks like myself will not be so receptive to the rallying cries of "true Democrats."
Finally, Bob Casey isn't the only Dem do not have a clear position on the war in Iraq. Our party has about a dozen positions. In fact, Howard Dean just recently made a statement to the effect of such diversity in opinion is actually a good part of our party while the GOP is in lockstep with W.
All of that said, you will have the opportunity to choose in May. Just understand that my voting for Casey does not make me any less of a Democrat.
First of all I thought your R-VA comical.
Next, Casey is a name fisher, and everyone knows it. Even he can't raise the money to fight off Santorum.
Lastly, Santorum will win,...I know it's difficult for many to grasp because they don't want him to, but he will.
If I beleived everything the polls said, Kerry would be President. Instead, a record victory for Bush. This is a TOP GOP GUY, they won't let him lose.
LV Dem i think the ponly people who dont consider Casey a liberal are liberal, Republicans seem to have no problem calling Caseya liberal, And you are correct, I talked with Mike Fitzpatrick, no relation, and he thinks it upserd the all pro life Republciuans are conservative and pro life Dems are moderates and visa versa. Casey 1 was a huge liberal he was agianst the Death penalty i think, but I am pretty sure Jr is for it
Again dr, give me some scenerio where Ricky wins. The last documented conservative to win PA was santorum 6 years ago and that was with a functional state GOP that had the sitting governor. Not a lot since then (I'll give you Corbett so that you have one). St. Torum is going to outspend Casey. At a minimum of 2:1, probably more. But, any incumbent who has to talk about spending 30 million dollars to win reelection is in a boat load of trouble, and it's not only b/c of outside dollars. When all is said and done, St. Torum will out raise Casey more than 3:1 in outside dollars. That's the number I remember from his race against Klink. Either way, the last time I heard of an incumbent spending the kind of cash St. Torum is looking to spend, Chuck Shumer became the senator from NY. But rest assured, 7:1 won't be the margin this time around.
Oh, and bush did lose PA. Just a reminder. Also, Bush was reelected with the smallest popular margin of any president since... Truman in 1948. That's a great record to hold. He does hold the record for the closest race in terms of a percentage, having won by 2.5%. But he does hold that most important factor for the GOP: money raised and spent (the record you probably mean is the record for total votes nationwide... using that logic Kerry beats Reagan in 1984... Kerry is the 2nd highest vote getter in history, ahead of Reagan in 80 and 84). I wouldn't waive Bushy around as a reason St. Torum will win. Not in this state. The Bush familiy is a whopping 1/4 in this state, and that one win came in 1988. I'd also like to say if you believed everything the polls said, you might understand that 59% of PA just doesn't like Bush and 43% of PA doesn't like St. Torum's job performance.
And I'd be careful about casting the "name fisher" label too far. Bush? Why does that name sound familiar...
But wouldn't the trouble Specter had in his primary almost demand a GOP-lite candidate?
I'm not that familiar with Pennsy politics, basically I understand it as New York on one end, LA on the other and Alabama in between, but my recollection was Specter had to veer hard right to win his primary and only nudged a little towards the middle in the general.
Carl, not a bad point. However, specter faced that GOP primary challenge that forced his hand. Casey isn't getting the same kind of credible challenge, and even though many on the left would like to think he was getting that challenge from Pennacchio, he really isn't. So Specter was forced to the right in a closed primary. My guess is that no D would get pushed to the right by an R.
Also, the point about GOP lite can be refuted by the victories of Gore, Rendell and Kerry. None of them could be considered Republican lite. Actually, I would like to put this out there. The GOP has actually won putting out Dem-light candidates. Ridge, pro-choice. Specter, pro-choice. Bill Scranton was a liberal republican (Sr., not Jr). My point is that winning PA is not about being conservative or liberal. It's about putting together the winning coalition that includes the most votes. Traditionally, that was not based on the conservative liberal continuum.
Pa statewide politics has been upside down whrn you think of it
Hafer vs Casey,(Pro lIfe Lib vs Pro Choice with really no other issues) Ridge who was pro choiice, but did not make a big deal about it, but he still got most of the Catholic vote becuase he was huge for school Choice.
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