Saturday, March 12, 2005

From my blog to his ears

A few days ago I tussled with some fellow bloggers over whether Democrats should support Bob Casey Jr., an anti-abortion Democrat, over Rick Santorum in the senatorial election. I agree that a vigorous primary battle is not necessarily a bad thing for the party, so I'm not thrilled that the powers-that-be are trying to clear the field for Casey. But I disagree that party activists should sit on their hands if Casey is the nominee, simply based on his conservative abortion views.

E. J. Dionne illustrates this point in the Washington Post. He notes that Republicans are far more pragmatic on this issue, and that's paid dividents for them:

...the Republican Party has been utterly realistic, indeed ruthless, in engineering the nomination of pro-choice candidates if they had the better chance of winning. The amazing thing is that some of the staunchest opponents of abortion went right along and sidetracked allies if that was what victory required.

The best example: last year's Republican primary in Pennsylvania between Sen. Arlen Specter and Rep. Pat Toomey. Specter is pro-choice, Toomey pro-life. Guess who campaigned hard for Specter, following the dictates of Bush and the party establishment? None other than Rick Santorum, Pennsylvania's other Republican senator and one of the most resolute opponents of abortion in Congress. Santorum turned his back on his fellow pro-lifer because Specter, he said, was "an important ally to the president." Specter won the primary and held the seat for the GOP.

Now, Specter hasn't exactly been a good GOP soldier since his re-election; even after he had to kiss some serious butt to get the chairmanship of the Senate Judiciary Committee, he's still indicated that he might seek compromise with Democrats over judicial nominees. But before his re-election, when he knew he would need the president's help, he dutifully supported the president's agenda.

As Democrats head into the 2006 election season, it's important to remember that during the last two mid-terms (1998 and 2002) the party in the White House defied historical precedent by picking up seats. If that happens again, the Democrats will be in trouble:

"If we lose three seats," (Sen. Charles) Schumer said, "many of the things we've cherished and valued over the last 50 years would go out the window."

11 Comments:

Blogger djhlights said...

"But I disagree that party activists should sit on their hands if Casey is the nominee, simply based on his conservative abortion views."

You're kidding me right? The ONLY reason that Casey is the chosen one is poll numbers like this.

He is the only person with a D next to their name who has poll numbers beating that carpetbagger from Northern Virginia.

His stance on abortion has nothing to do with why he was chosen. He was chosen because he can win. Period.

10:29 PM

 
Blogger Jonathan Potts said...

Um, yeah, that's kind of the point I was making. It doesn't matter why he was chosen; if he's the nominee, anyone who wants Santorum out of office should support him.

10:14 AM

 
Blogger Jonathan Potts said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10:14 AM

 
Anonymous Amos the Poker Cat said...

Morning Edition had a segment related to this.


Democrats Take Broader Stance on Abortion


What are the odds of defeating an incumbent Senator? 2%?

10:27 AM

 
Anonymous Shawn said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

6:04 PM

 
Blogger Shawn said...

Jonathan,

I wish others would understand that when some argues in favor of Casey, it is EXACTLY for the reason pointed out by this column.

But, as Democrats, apparently we'd rather look good losing than win ugly.

6:04 PM

 
Blogger Shawn said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

6:06 PM

 
Blogger Jonathan Potts said...

FYI, Shawn's comment was posted three times, which I'm sure was the result of all the bugs that Blogger's comments feature seems to have. So I deleted the two of them.

7:56 PM

 
Blogger Jonathan Potts said...

FYI, Shawn's comment was posted three times, which I'm sure was the result of all the bugs that Blogger's comments feature seems to have. So I deleted the two of them.

I wouldn't be surprised if this comment showed up twice.

7:58 PM

 
Blogger djhlights said...

I think you guys misunderstood what I was saying. I was agreeing with you and I understood fully the point you were trying to make.

"You're kidding me right?" wasn't directed at you. It is directed at party activists who would actually drink that kool-aid.

Sorry you didn't get that.

9:13 PM

 
Blogger sheabriana said...

I understand your points, but why settle for Casey as a nominee if there's another choice? (and there is) Chuck Pennacchio has a shot. You may not believe it, but what do you have to lose? If he doesn't beat Casey then Casey will be very ready to take on Santorum. At that point (end of primary) you, I, and Chuck Pennacchio will all swing behind Bob Casey.

2:11 PM

 

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