Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Casey's at Bat!

The subject of the upcoming Pennsylvania Senate race came up - The ol' Casey vs. Santorum thing - with questions about whether Casey is worth voting for based on his support for restricting access to safe and legal abortion.

Dangerous topic, I know.

Well, I guess that depends on whether you are a single issue voter, whether you can look at the candidate as a whole, or even whether you think Rick Santorum is the anti-Christ. Personally, I fall to the later. I'd give Satan a second look if he was running against Little Ricky. At least you know his motives really are greed, ignorance and destruction. Then again I feel that way about a lot Republicans. I’ve met the guy. He really came off like a smiling bobble-head doll when a group I was with stopped at his office last year.

Mind you, it isn't necessarily philosophical conservativism - there are arguments for limited government, etc. – that really isn’t my beef. What I really despise is the tactics of Santorum’s brand of the GOP; the slash and burn political malice, the 'swift-boating' and all of those vicious, bullying attacks. This current crop of Republicans is the first in my memory that treated the minority party not as the loyal opposition, but as a contemptuous enemy worthy of ridicule and scorn, if not utter destruction. Santorum’s, and the broader GOP’s type of politics assumes that the public is stupid, and they bring discourse down to about the same level as watching Jerry Springer. It’s disgusting.

My other problem with the GOP – and Ricky really shines through here - is the so called 'religious right'. You want to be a fanatic? Go ahead. Practice whatever you believe in your own home. That is what this country is all about. You think abortion is bad? Don’t have one. You want your kids to believe that evolution is a fraud? Teach them ignorance at home. You think the EPA is a socialist front? Let someone build a chemical plant in your back yard. Whatever you want.

You want to start legislating it; enforcing your particular moral view on every man woman and child in this country? Get bent you derainged freak….

…. and stay the hell out of my house.

Hey Hey, Ho Ho, Rick Santorum has to go.

So back to Bob Casey: A moderate Democrat who happens to be stoically pro-life. What do you do with that? Can you respect that the guy really might think abortion is a bad thing? I’ve never heard anyone say that it is a good thing, just a necessary evil. If you are a single issue abortion-rights Democrat do you hold your nose and pull the lever for Casey because he’s not Santorum?

I don’t know. Personally, I think the Democrats have become too bound by NOW orthodoxy on this issue, much the way the GOP is too bound to the lifers. It isn’t healthy for either party. It drives everyone to the extremes.

I can say this about Casey. He’s got a very progressive position on family planning – aside from abortion – advocating more and earlier access to information and contraception with a goal of reducing unwanted pregnancies. This is not a bad thing and far better than Santorum advocating that women hold an aspirin between their knees. Casey supports more public funding for health care coverage, including contraception. He’s also opposed to discriminatory homophobic marriage amendments. He’s ok on a lot of issues.

In today’s political world both parties have a script that candidates are supposed to follow to keep their bases happy. There never seems to be any room for individualism. Casey has taken seemingly contradictory political positions, in particular running the risk of alienating female voters over abortion when Santorum is so vulnerable on these kinds of social issues. He’s actually neutralizing what should be a big advantage for a Democratic candidate in this race. I might not agree with his policy position on the issue, but I have to give him credit for sticking to his guns.

Am I crazy about him? No, but I am going to vote for him. What choice do I have? The alternative is another six years with Ricky.


Anonymous amy said...

Your problems with the GOP are exactly why I'm hesitant to voice my usually-more-conservative-than-most political thoughts. I hate to be lumped in with the morons that are at the forefront of the party. Hell, I hate Santorum, and I'm planning on voting for Casey, which is enough to get me kicked out of the party, I think. But so be it -- at this point, I'd probably be glad of it. The GOP is too far right-wing crazy for my tastes.

1:12 PM  
Blogger Unconscionable said...

It is often said that the loudest voices in the parties represent only vocal minorities who have hijacked the agendas. I know, for example, that my parents who have voted GOP for forty years, hate the C-right and are adamant that it doesn't represent them. My mother even voted for Kerry last time around, and she voted for Nixon twice.

I suspect that your crossover vote is more widespread than the parties would have you believe.

5:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah, fuck the whole thing. You PA's will probably vote out Santorum, and then turn around and vote Swann in as governor.

It will be comical if you look far enough into the future. Sleep well, little pennsylvanians, sleep well.

5:18 AM  
Blogger Unconscionable said...

Well, the anonymous patronization notwithstanding, I suspect that our voting records are no less bizarre than any other state, and I do not believe that Swan has the social conservative bona fides to ignite the Christian Fascist base. I’m somewhat hopeful that people will be pulling a straight Democratic ticket simply on disafection with the GOP. I definately don’t get the impression that the GOP is gaining any ground.

10:55 PM  
Blogger dantelavelli said...

I am a Republican who finds Santorum too far to the right for my taste. The one thing that makes me hesitant about Casey is that a vote for him is a vote for Ted Kennedy, Joe Biden, Harry Reid, John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, Russ Feingold and others to move into majority leadership positions in the Senate. I am offended by their dishonesty in campaigning more than I am by Republican dishonesty. (Bush lied to us, blah, blah, blah. Everybody including Bill Clinton thought Iraq had WMD's. We were all wrong apparently, not just Bush.) On your point, while I am not a one issue voter, blatant dishonesty is the one issue that irritates me the most. Abortion: I don't like it but it's here to stay. Too bad it couldn't have become legal by a vote of the people as opposed to a stretch of Harry Blackmun's legal imagination. Guns: I hate them. Make us like Germany with all their many regulations on guns. Affirmative action: it's time to put that one to bed. Sandra Day O'Connor predicted its demise in one of her last opinions. It's time for everybody to get jobs on their own merit. EPA: ok by me. National healthcare: ok by me but let's not put people in jail for using their own MD like Hillary proposed over ten years ago. Educaton: this one really bothers me. Why do kids who live 200 yards across the river in Fox Chapel get so much more spent on their education than kids in Pittsburgh? I think funding should be on a county wide or larger basis to even out the school quality. (pretty liberal, I know>) But I also think that school vouchers should be given a chance to succeed. Unions: I think they have done a great service to the working man and woman but now they occasionally push too far and it hurts the country and their members. i.e. Ford, GM, teachers' unions. If I can find a Democrat who has most of these views, I will vote for him or her.

8:08 PM  
Blogger Unconscionable said...

I seem to have touched a nerve with this one, and I'm pleased to say I don't know any of these people. Thank you for the mostly thoughtful comments.

10:09 PM  
Blogger Kim said...

I didn't think I was a single-issue voter until now. While I do see Casey as the lesser of two evils, I can't bring myself to cast a vote for either one of them. I will abstain on that race. And in 22 years of voting, that's something I have never done unless I truly didn't have a clue about the race or the question.

8:56 PM  

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