We are the 99%

March 7, 2005

I got you your "pragmatism" right here (grabbing crotch)

OK, It wasn't like I didn't see this coming. A month after the 2004 election I created this design:



It was my reaction to the pretty much immediate reaction by many that the Dems lost the election due to the "values voters" who were anti-choice and antigay. Right away I started seeing comments appear on the blogs and message boards that we had to "move to the center" on these issues -- meaning "suck it up" and roll over and play dead.

I expected to hear this crap on the national level, but I admit that I did not expect to hear this in my very own Blue State of Pennsylvania. But here it is playing out in our very own upcoming senate race.

The Powers That Be -- Reid, Schumer & Rendell -- have all decided that what PA needs to beat the widely reviled Lil Ricky "Man on Dog Action" Santorum is an anti-choice Democrat: namely Bob Casey Jr.

Reid and Schumer courted Casey to run. Rendell just announced his support for Casey and either cajoled or threatened (depending on who you talk to) pro-choice Barbara Hafer to drop out of the race a day after she announced that she was in it.

I hear the drumbeat by many local Dems (mostly men it must be said) that I should be "pragmatic" and support Casey. (Check HERE for a sample of that discussion.)

Well, I want to say:

"I AM BEING PRAGMATIC."

As James Carville once said of Pennsylvania, "It's Philadelphia and Pittsburgh with Alabama in the middle." Some of us refer to the middle "T" of PA as "Pennsyltucky." The Conventional Wisdom now goes that we should run a social conservative in order to beat Sen. "Man on Dog Action." But as everyone should know by now, the way to garner a Democratic win statewide is to get enough Dems to come out and vote in Philly and the Burgh. And how, may I ask, does anyone intend to accomplish this by running an anti-choice Democratic candidate?

Just who do you think does the GOTV in PA's two biggest cities? If you have any doubt, just go and volunteer for a Democratic candidate (like I do) and you will find that much of the grunt work is being done by PRO-CHOICE WOMEN.

Just look at who has won in statewide races here over the last few years:

Clinton, Gore, Kerry, Specter, Ridge, Rendell.

What do these guys all have in common? They are all pro-choice.

But what about Lil Ricky "Man on Dog Action" Santorum, you may well ask? He's anti-choice and antigay and he's won. That's right. And who did they run against him last time? An anti-choice Democrat. And who could not bring themselves to pull out all the stops to support that anti-choice Democrat? The pro-choice women!

Are you getting it yet?

Now I keep hearing that the Casey name is "gold" in Pennsylvania. If Casey is so much the Golden Boy, why did he lose against Rendell? The truth is that Casey is a weak campaigner when he has real opposition who couldn't even beat another Dem (Rendell) in a real primary. Yet, I'm to believe that I should just swallow hard, forget my pro-choice principles and support this anti-choice candidate.

Well, I say:

"Fuck that, I am being pragmatic."

I know that running an anti-choice Democrat against an anti-choice Republican will get you bupkis in PA and so I refuse to support a sure loser like Bob Casey Jr.

That IS being pragmatic.

When it comes down to a real race and not just an early poll, Casey will crumble. A real primary without the intrusion of The Powers That Be will help to prove that.

So be pragmatic like me and just say "NO" to Casey and anyone who tells you he will save us from Santorum.


18 comments:

Jonathan Potts said...

You and I obviously disagree on the importance of this issue, but I will say that I would rather see a pro-choice candidate nominated as well, and I think the gubernatorial election shows what can happen when a party avoids a primary fight. Mike Fischer was the annointed GOP nominee and got his ass handed to him by Rendell, in part because Rendell had accumulated a lot of name recognition in his fight against Casey.

If Casey is the nominee, I'll want to hear his opinions on a range of issues before giving him my support. (Which in my case will be little more than my vote.)

xranger said...

As a pro-choice Republican, my views are rarely espoused by my candidate of choice, but this is a non-issue to me.

What gets my dander up is a lack of understanding by the legislators and governor of the commonwealth (both parties included) as to how to stop the migration of our best and brightest from the area.

When I read about Dell Computers building a new plant in N. Carolina, whereby the company invests millions into the local economy in the fom of money and job creation, and the NC legislature provided tax incentive, I have one question: Was PA even in the running for this plant?

When the old guard of PA's governing body enters the 21st century and learns how to play the corporate game, we will then start the upswing as a state. Actively sell the virtues and value of the area to corporations interested in investing in the east coast.

In the last election, both candidates for governor espoused the only plan they could think of: gambling. Now, I like gambling more than the next guy, but if they think people from outside of the state will flock to Pittsburgh, they're goofy. The end result is that an already over-taxed region will sink more of their after-tax dollars into the local economy. Such an idea.

I'm done now. Thanks for the soap box.

Scooter said...

My thoughts exactly, Maria. I'm extremely wary of Casey, and of the emerging antichoice Democrat trend. Of course, one issue does not a candidate make, but I'm behind Pennacchio right now.

Maria said...

Pennacchio seems to have a lot of good ideas.

Maria said...

I posted this as a diary on Daily Kos as well as here so I'm not sure where this person emailed me from but I got some fan mail:

Subj: I got you your pragmatism right here (grabbing crotch)
Date: 3/7/2005 10:29:46 AM Eastern Standard Time
From: computermikenj@yahoo.com
To: lupinaccim@aol.com
Sent from the Internet (Details)

Yea, nice subject title, you filthy pig ..

You arent Pro-CHOICE, you are PRO DEATH, you kill babies and free child killers, you are PRO-CRIMINAL because you dont believe in the death penalty, You are PRO-TERRORIST, because you dont believe in military strength ...

Move to France you filthy disgusting ho bag ..

Michael

Shawn said...

Better a pro-lief Dem than Santorum.

Is it perfect? No. But politics is the art of the possible.

Ideas are nice, BUT, Casey has access to two fundraising machines - the one he inherited from his father, and Rendell's. He and Big Ed may have had their differences in the past but want to see Santorum gone. Money is vital to this election. And don't think pro-choice libertarian Republicans don't know that. They're most likely getting ready to write Slick Rick a check as we speak.

But it you want to stand on principle, go ahead. What's six more years with the Prince of Darkness?

Maria said...

I guess then you'll be surprised to see how much Rendell's fundraising machine is crippled when pro-choicers don't contribute like they did to Rendell's own campaign.

Politics 101: You don't kick a core constituency in the teeth and then pass the hat.

Rendell just pissed off a whole lot of women who like Barbara Hafer. This includes thousands of pro-choice Republican women who switched parties specifically for the primary to vote for Rendell.

Ol' Froth said...

I'll vote for anyone who can knock off Santorum. If that person is Casey, then so be it, but I would prefer, and will likely support a pro-choice candidate. The only advantage (if you can call it that) to Casey is that he removes the so called "social" issues, and can I hope, turn the campaign towards economic, budget, and job creation issues. I'd also like to hear a candidate come out in support of a statewide pension and health care system for all municipal and public school employees.

Your point on pissing off a core constituancy is well take. If Casey is Santorum-lite on all the other issues as well, I say forget about him.

Ol' Froth said...

I think Michael has some issues....

Shawn said...

Frankly, Rendell's fundraising powers will most likely emerge relatively intact. After all, he was DNC chairman for a time and before that an East Coast Mayor. The man knows how and when to give and take. If pro-choice women walk out on him, it will be tempered by donors, and later, voters, who will applaud him for standing up to a "narrow interest" within the Democratic Party. Add to that the rather Catholic cast of PA dems and you've got a man who will still be in good shape. I don't say this to denigrate those who are angry about this but to point out that Rendell knows a good deal when he sees it. I've a feeling that the upshot of such a blow-up, if it gained enough publicity, would be our governor looking like he stood up to militants within his own party. A number of voters, including many suburban, (somewhat) pro-choice, Philly Republicans will see this as a good sign and and a show of resolve on this part. You could wind up giving Casey a "bounce" like the one former President Clinton got when he took on Sistah Souljah. And don't think that both Rendell and Casey don't know this.

Shawn said...

Frankly, Rendell's fundraising powers will most likely emerge relatively intact. After all, he was DNC chairman for a time and before that an East Coast Mayor. The man knows how and when to give and take. If pro-choice women walk out on him, it will be tempered by donors, and later, voters, who will applaud him for standing up to a "narrow interest" within the Democratic Party. Add to that the rather Catholic cast of PA dems and you've got a man who will still be in good shape. I don't say this to denigrate those who are angry about this but to point out that Rendell knows a good deal when he sees it. I've a feeling that the upshot of such a blow-up, if it gained enough publicity, would be our governor looking like he stood up to militants within his own party. A number of voters, including many suburban, (somewhat) pro-choice, Philly Republicans will see this as a good sign and and a show of resolve on this part. You could wind up giving Casey a "bounce" like the one former President Clinton got when he took on Sistah Souljah. And don't think that both Rendell and Casey don't know this.

Shawn said...

sorry about the redundant post...

that's on me...

Maria said...

Funny how when the majority of people in the country do not want Roe V. Wade to be overturned, pro-choicers can be called "militants." How does that work exactly?

If PA is so anti-choice why did it elect Clinton, Gore, Kerry, Specter, Ridge and Rendell who are all pro-choice?

When you break down by religion who has abortions, guess which group has the most? The answer is Catholics.

Now, if you click on the link to the cartoon you will see that it's a T-shirt. It is a cartoon in the broadest sense of the word as T-shirts do not lend themselves well to subtlety. It is also meant as a warning...a threat to not piss off the base.

If Casey actually became the nominee, would I vote for him? I'm not saying. I am saying that I wouldn't bust my butt to help to get him elected. I'd like to post a question to all of you who think that I should:

How many of you will do any of the following for Casey:

- Get petitions signed to get him on the ballot
- Do voter registration
- Phone Bank
- Canvass door-to-door
- Drop literature
- Create/attend a meetup group/grassroots organization/yahoo group for him
- Attend rallies
- Volunteer at rallies
- Put up posters for a rally
- Write letters to the editor
- Contribute money to his campaign
- Host a house party/fundraiser
- Attend a house party/fundraiser
- Speak at a public gathering on his behalf
- Go to a parade and hand out buttons/brochures
- March in a parade for him
- Be a Precinct Captain
- Be a Poll Watcher

I did all the above except for the first item listed and more for Kerry and he was my third or fourth choice. (I didn't get petitions signed for Kerry because I was collecting signatures for Dean at the time.)

Now, do you honestly expect me to expend that much time, energy and money for a candidate who I highly dislike?

xranger said...

I do get a kick out of reading columns from individuals 180 degrees away from me on the poltical spectrum, and, to coin a phrase, I feel your pain.

I hated Clinton like you hate Santorum, and I voted for ABB ( anyone but bill). What my side got was Bob Dole (sigh).

Anyway, my gut feeling is that the Dems better pick a better candidate than Casey - Santorum is a formidable opponent.

Maria said...

I agree with you that Santorum is a formidable opponent.

On top of that the supposed "Golden Boy" Casey is an uninspiring speaker who immediately went negative after Rendell and lost to him.

Why would anti-choice voters who are already used to voting for Santorum (who has a national platform and the advantages of incumbency) switch their votes to a weaker campaigner?

xranger said...

Fair enough, but if I put my nose up in the air to see which way the wind's blowin', I think abortion rights is starting to wane as a major issue. Fringe elements on both sides keep it alive and kicking, and I don't think that's a bad thing.

To some degree, I feel the overall US is moving to right of the middle enough to have a Libertarian streak - government, leave me alone. Roe v Wade was arguably the proper decsision in the early 1970's, but a lot has changed since then. The country's mores and moral fabric have shifted to one of acceptance, but also one of no legislating from the court room.

My advice: pick a candidate that will do the most for PA regarding overall quality of life and don't sweat the fringe issues. I do not like Byrd from WVA, but he has done more for his constituency, in terms of improving their stature and quality of life, than any politician I've ever seen.

Patrick said...

Maria,
As a pro-life Democrat, I identify with you as a member of a core constiuency that has been kicked in the teeth - repeatedly, to the point that many of us left the Democratic party alltogether. So in an odd way, I feel your pain.

The question we both have to ask of ourselves is are we single-issue advocates, or Party advocates? If one issue (abortion) is what keeps you from voting for Casey, then maybe you're not a Democratic loyalist, but a single issue pro-choicer. That's fine, this is America - not everyone has to be a Democrat.

You listed a lot of volunteer activities that you did for Kerry, but wouldn't do for Casey. I'm willing to bet there are plenty of pro-life Dems who are willing to pick up the slack and perform all of those tasks for Casey - tasks they may not have performed for Kerry.

My point is this: you may not have seen that many pro-life Democrats (or maybe you did, and just didn't know it, since I did all of those tasks myself), but if the Senate candidate was pro-life a whole new pool of volunteers would be available for the campaign. The little things you listed not only help one candidate, but the whole ticket - just like the GOTV work you did for Kerry helped elect Casey and Wagner in 2004. If the Democratic party is seen as open to acitivists from both sides of the abortion question, then the combination of the two will help elect people who agree a heck of a lot more than they disagree.

You say you highly dislike Casey. I think if you got to know his positions on most other issues, you would dislike him a lot less. Maybe even enough to see him as a great alternative to Santorum.
And while your taking a second look at Casey, maybe some pro-lifers who are liberal on most other issues might try the same thing and could end up disliking Rendell a little less.

If we all did that, maybe we'd be a majority party again.
Just a thought.

Maria said...

Patrick,

See HERE for my answer to your thoughtful comments.