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"Losing my faith in humanity ... one neocon at a time."

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Finally and end to Santorum?

posted by Jazz at 1/15/2005 07:05:00 AM

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Betsy Newmark points us to an article in (of all places) the highly conservative American Spectator which just might put a ray of sunshine on the 2006 Senate race.
Earlier this week, polling data purportedly paid for by the DSCC began popping up on various Democratic-leaning websites. It showed that the current Pennsylvania state treasurer, Bob Casey, Jr., led Sen. Rick Santorum 52 to 38 in a poll of likely voters. The leaking of the polling data came coincidentally less than a week after both Schumer and Reid had begun courting Casey to run against Santorum. Casey, a pro-life Democrat, and son of the legendary Pennsylvania Gov. Bob Casey, is said by associates in Pennsylvania to have warmed to the idea, but only if Schumer and Reid could assure him that the Democratic primary field would be cleared for him.

"He asked about it and Schumer guaranteed him a clear field," says a political consultant with ties to the DSCC. "That polling data, wherever it came from, is probably the first step toward getting Casey in line, and running off a few folks with eyes on running against Santorum"

Santorum was already girding for a bruising re-election battle, having been targeted by Democrats as Enemy No.1 in this election cycle, and Casey would make the campaign a tough one. "He's right on the issues that Catholics in Pennsylvania vote on, and moderate enough to get strong Democratic support," says the consultant. "He scares the hell out of Santorum's people."
Rick Santorum has been around, it seems, forever. Living just across the border from Pennsylvania, I have had occasion to come across Rick at a couple of his appearances and he gets considerable ink in our local papers. This guy is a complete disaster for anyone with any sort of progressive mindset. He is rabidly anti-choice and has a demonstrated history of trying to craft legislation based on a strictly literal interpretation of the Bible. It wouldn't take a very long Google search to come up with a laundry list of occasions where Santorum has made very thinly veiled remarks slamming homosexuals and minorities.

You might wonder how he manages to keep getting elected in an allegedly "blue" state like Pa. It's really not a mystery. Pennsylvania is fractured with a Red/Blue divide easily as deep as the nation as a whole. There are some massive pockets of liberal Democrats (e.g. Philadelphia and other larger urban centers) surrounded by an ocean of rural, bucolic wilderness, teeming with the Amish, Mennonites, and other devout souls who would likely be more comfortable in the Bible Belt. His elections are never blow-outs, but he keeps getting back into office.

The Democrats may not be wild about Bob Casey jr. as he is anti-choice, and would definitely represent "somebody to watch" from the school of Zell Miller. However, he certainly does possess the bona fides position himself with the Donkey party and likely represents their best chance for unseating Santorum, if only because of he "legacy" status as Bob Casey's son. In any event, anything that gets Santorum out of the Senate is a positive step for those wishing to see less Bible thumping in the halls of the legislature.