If you watched the debate last night between US Sen. Rick Santorum (R-VA) and Pennsylvania Treasurer Robert P. Casey Jr. (D-PA) you saw a clash of styles more than a deliberation of ideas.
There was no discussion.
On the one side, you had Crackhead Ricky -- the snarling Pitt Bull. He sputtered and barked and damn near foamed at the mouth.
On the side, you had Stoner Bobby -- just a little too amused by the whole show. He fixated on a couple of key themes and was fuzzy around the edges on the other stuff.
Crackhead Ricky came ready to go in for the kill. Down in the polls, he was the dangerous cornered dog taking any advantage in the attack. But in the off election years, Ricky has been all too willing to pee on the legs of the average Pennsylvanian.
He's said too many crazy things about working moms, public schools and pedophile priests that don't jib with what most voters think. And, he's chained to a sinking administration and holds a top leadership position in one of the most corrupt legislative branches on record -- he just can't get off the pipe.
You almost feel sorry for the guy when he bemoans the fact that all his frantic yelping and hustle for the Far Right and himself have not gotten him further in the polls. He seems genuinely bewildered that he just may lose this election.
Then there's Bob.
Casey can be maddening in his repetition and lack of zeal. He does appear to coast at times, relying on the audience to agree with his look of bemusement at the wild senator when a sharp, pointed response is called for.
The shame is that there is some real differences in these two that aren't about style that may have been missed in all the theatrics of last night's debate. Santorum is off the reservation on so many issues including Iraq, worker's rights, birth control, public schools, and the intrusion of religion into government and private lives. He is also the King of K Street and the friend of every lobbyist in DC.
Casey's positions are just more in tune with what the average Pennsylvanian thinks.
He cares about social security, the environment, a decent minimum wage, and healthcare. He won't claim to have found the "missing" weapons of mass destruction or hold camp outside of Terri Schiavo's bed. He's the mainstream alternative to the rabid extremist that is our Lil Ricky. If only he would show some f*cking energy (we get a little tired of making excuses for him, even if he is our "friend.")
So that's your choice, folks.
This country has headed down a dark and dangerous alley. Ricky is the frantic crackhead against the wall -- twitching and running his mouth off a mile a minute -- trying to get us to believe his shit one mo' time when we already know he's mugged those Penn Hills kids.
It's time for us to get out of the alley, turn the corner, and meet up with Bobby and the rest of our friends on the main street.
It's time we get Pennsylvania (and our country) out of the dark and back into the light.