For what do we Democrats stand? Is it privacy? Perhaps it is equality and the separation of church from both state and science. Do we believe in protecting the environment? Do we favor diplomacy over preemptive war? Should we asking the wealthy to pay their fair share of taxes? In short, do we believe in the common good?
For far too long in the face of fear, we have lived by a policy of appeasement. As the reactionary right has ascended to dominance, we Democrats have softened our beliefs to fall in line with Republican values. As Republicans have overtaken our elected majority by vigorously appealing to their base, we Democrats have asked ourselves the wrong question: Are we too liberal? Furthermore, should we pursue a more conservative path? Instead of reconnecting with our base--the people who would regularly vote for us--Democrats have sought to capture the less reliable swing-voter. While trending to the right, Democrats have falsely assumed that our base will automatically turnout on election day. The result, rather than being a viable alternative to the Republicans, has been a muddled Democratic vision attractive to no one.
The watershed moment occurred during the Supreme Court confirmation process of Samuel Alito. Replacing Justice O'Connor with Mr. Alito represented a genuine threat to the balance of the court. In an unsuccessful effort, 42 Democrats voted against his nomination. However, only 25 voted to support the filibuster of Mr. Alito. The 42 Democrats who voted against Alito's nomination could have stopped his ascent to the court by supporting the filibuster, but they didn't. 17 Democrats feared being labelled "obstructionists" by the right and voted against extending the filibuster. Instead of stopping a legitimate threat to the court, the Democrats, appeased the right and sold out their own.
Bob Casey Jr. represents everything that the Democrats should not be: conservative, disconnected with the base, and boring. Casey would make a wonderful challenger to Rick Santorum in the Republican primary. He opposes reproductive choice, universal health care, an Iraq exit strategy, stem cell research, a living wage and yes, he supported Samuel Alito. For good measure, Casey accepts money from scores of the same PACs as Santorum.
Pennsylvania's Democrats must avoid voting for Bob Casey Jr. in tomorrow's primary election. A Casey victory tomorrow will only serve to validate the Democrat's paradoxical notion that electoral success is contingent upon a slide--or in Casey's case a leap--to the right. While Bob Casey might be a marginally better Senator than Rick Santorum, there is no acceptable reason for a Democrat to vote for Bob Casey in the primary election. Primary elections are a time to vote for one's beliefs, not one's fears. Many people choose to stomach Casey, because they believe that he can beat Rick Santorum in November. While Casey has had a large advantage in the polls, his lead is slipping-drastically. Over the past year, Casey's lead has fallen from near twenty to less than ten percentage points. Casey's success in November is no longer imminent.
The only real Democrat in Pennsylvania's US Senate race is Chuck Pennacchio. Dr. Pennacchio is running a campaign free of corporate and special interest money, so he is beholden to no one but the voters. He supports reproductive choice, stem cell research, a living wage, getting out of Iraq quickly, and would have lead the Alitio filibuster. Chuck Pennacchio represents everything that the Democrats ought to be: progressive, charismatic, and honest. Two recent Zogby polls have found that Pennacchio can beat Santorum, so why should we settle for Casey?