January 27, 2006
BLOG: Quick Links 1/27/06
*Saber-Rattling, Canadian Style - or a neat bit of triangulation to distract from the reality of a less anti-American posture.
*Fun, unverifiable, malicious rumor of the day: a Kos diarist says Ken Salazar isn't supporting a filibuster of Judge Alito because he struck a deal to get James Dobson off his back. Certainly, everying we've seen from Salazar lately suggests a man cracking under the strain of criticism on judges. This sounds like an exaggeration by a disgruntled staffer filtered through some anonymous dude on the internet, but it could be a version of the truth.
*I know I've been on this theme for a while now, but under pressure from opponent Rick Santorum, putatively pro-life Democratic Senate candidate Bob Casey in Pennsylvania has now come out in favor of confirming Judge Alito, and the Blogometer has a good roundup of lefty bloggers' teeth-gnashing over Casey's announcement, which drives a serious wedge into the Democratic caucus; unlike Ben Nelson, Casey's defection can't be explained by an overwhelming Republican tilt to his state. (But it is consistent with the prior endorsement of Pennsylvania's Democratic Governor, Ed Rendell, whose wife is a Third Circuit colleague of Alito). Could it be that there really just isn't a valid basis to filibuster Judge Alito?
*On the other hand, Bill Nelson is opposing Alito because he's not conservative enough?
*Instapundit thinks Chirac's tougher rhetoric with Iran is a result of the riots in France. Could be; could be that he's posturing due to voter anger over those riots. Could also be, though, that most of the Muslims in France are Sunnis and many are Arabs, and he feels safer sounding tough with Persian Shi'ites.
*John Spencer's gonna have some fun taking on the Clinton terror-fighting record.
*Ricky West on the two-edged sword of getting hot and bothered over people who are pictured with the First Family.
*Will this junior high school teach this?
Good for Casey. rendell gave him some cover, certainly.there may be a wedge in n'tl democratic circles, but there isn't in PA. Rendell and Casey went at it pretty hard for democratic nomination for governor. Now they seem to be on the same page.
If Casey beats Santorum, PA will have a pro-life Democrat and a pro-choice Republican in the Senate. We are...Penn State!!!
Having gone to grad school in PA, I generally tell people that Pennsylvania is really Philadelphia at one end, Pittsburgh at the other end, and Tennessee in the middle.
I think we may be arguing over the wrong party when we pillory Johnnie Cochrane. What he did was obfuscate, rhyme, confuse, and generally muck things up while defending his client. The prosecution was not brilliant, but did buy into the media circus that Cochrane created. So the party that screwed up? Lance Ito, perhaps the most ill-equipped, arguably stupidist judge available to try the case. There was an occasion when Barry Sheck was warned "for the 13th time" about something. But he did inspire the Dancning Itos, which proves you can spin anything.
Don't be suprised to see Santorum continue to gain points in the polls up through Labor Day making this a dead even race. Casey, as seen in the Rendell primary 4 years ago is not to put it mildly a good campaigner. On the surface, it seems impossible for Santorum to win in a state that hasn't voted republican for president since the 80s, but it just may happen.
On another note, what is the status of the Spencer campaign? Has he raised any significant amount of money? It would seem to me as an outsider that he does not have a chance to win, but perception is not always reality.
Another confirmation of Karl Rove's all-controlling brilliance. Harper is leading a minority government. There probably will be another election in Canada this year. Obviously Rove wants to ensure that the next Canadian government is a majority Conservative government. Rove ginned up this Northwest Passage controversy so that Harper can look tough and win a majority next time. A few days before election Bush will announce that because he fears American casualties at the hands of a newly revamped Canadian self defence force he is recognizing Canada's sovereignty.
Santorum may be more conservative than the average Pennsylvanian, but (1) he has won two statewide elections, (2) he's an incumbent in the leadership of the majority party, (3) he's a very good campaigner and (4) Pennsylvania's not that liberal - Bush was competitive in both 2000 & 2004. I expect that race to go down to the wire.
Spencer has no money, but with Pirro and Cox out he's now the nominee by default, and I can't imagine it's hard to raise money by direct mail for that campaign. Just send stuff out saying "I'm running against Hillary" and the dollars will flow in. But I don't expect Spencer to defeat Hillary or even get that close; the best he can do is put some dents in her.
I thought I would add something on the John Spencer comment as well. It's pathetic. Truly a loser's strategy. Bill Clinton was the two time elected president, who we wish had done more to combat terrorism, but did not have the urgency, and was hamstrung by comments by Limbaugh and cronies on bombing Sudanese drug facilities.
Anway, it's a loser's strategy, since it's Hillary who is running for re-election, and let's face it, Spencer is fodder anyway. Why would it be fun anyway? Attacking a wiffleball like Kerry is easy, almost sad in its effortlessness; trying to do it with a Clinton is absurd. They are the Corbomite of political campaigners.
The Casey clan hasn't been producing winners lately (the second generation lacks the old man's personal touch, such as it was). Overconfidence and entitlement tends to be their downfall. Its amusing to observe their shock and disbelief ..."How could this happen?"...after yet another defeat. So, unless they've finally wised up and realized that PA isn't just going to give a man an election b/c his last name is Casey, Santorum certainly is not out of it. If, on the other hand, they decide to work hard, its a v/ winnable race. Santorum-fatigue is deep and wide.
re: Casey & his pro-life position
I'm a Republican former row office-holder in Montgomery County, PA (solicitor to the Register of Wills some years back) and also worked in Delaware County for the Register of Wills, again, Republican Party, and am a strong backer of Sen. Santorum.
However, Bob Casey Jr. is not "allegedly" pro-life, he is pro-life. His family is very catholic and profoundly religious and they are all ethnic catholic from Scranton PA where the pro-life position is very popular due to the overwhelmingly catholic population of Northeast PA. In fact, PA is one of the most catholic states in the union, other than Rhode Island.
Northeast PA tends to vote democratic because in that part of PA, many of the voters are descended from old union anthracite families who were militant union families in the 20s and 30s against the coal bosses, so the mentality of the region is union-democratic, the last vestiges of Roosevelt-style ethnic-catholic blue-collar democrats. There's about a million such votes up there.
My wife is from that region and I got married up there so I understand it pretty well.
As far as early polls, I would ignore them. Every senatorial election has been close lately and the polls will narrow as the election approaches. Santorum is still the incumbent and has the advantages of an incumbent.
--Art Kyriazis, Philly
PS Gov Rendells' endorsement will probably hurt, not help Casey