Thursday, April 13, 2006

Pennsylvania elections 2006: this side of oblivion

I've been angsting about the state of statewide politics in my native Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Senator Arlen Specter is a great source of angst for me these days. He was the last Republican I gave up on, though I've never been a Republican. Once I had hope in him; I remember thinking that it might not be such a terrible thing if the Republicans retain Specter's seat, because at least he's a reasonable guy when it comes to court nominees. And since Specter was the Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, I figured we could easily have a worse Republican in his job come 2005, should Specter lose. But some time before his last reëlection I stopped thinking that, and it hurt to finally feel that there's no one in that party I can respect. By the time Election Day 2004 rolled around, Joe Hoeffel would have gotten my unqualified support and my vote, had I still been a Pennsylvania resident.

Pennsylvania has a doozy of a race this year, though. Or maybe I mean rather the exact opposite of a doozy. I mean good Lord, this is the best opportunity to knock Rick Santorum out, and Santorum’s trailing in the polls by double digits, but... Bob Casey, Jr.? What the hell are they thinking? His father was a furshlugginer nightmare, and sonny isn't much better, except that if he’s in the Senate, he’ll be taking power from the Republicans, which is a small comfort. Casey's opposition to abortion rights and his ardor for Justice Alito, however, are no comfort at all. I realize that the only viable option the Democrats had was Barbara Hafer, and she kind of leaves me cold, too, so I dunno. I remember some talk about Santorum’s 2000 opponent Ron Klink coming back for a rematch, and while he's not exactly my dream candidate, he's better than Hafer, far better than Casey, and naturally light years beyond Santorum.

It was my disgust with Governor Bob Casey, Sr. that persuaded me to cast my last vote for a Republican: I voted for Tom Ridge (and Harris Wofford) in 1994, rather than deign to consider voting for the man who was the lieutenant governor to Governor Robert P. Ban-All-Abortions-Speed-Limit-55-Nineteenth-Century-Liquor-Laws-Don't-Pave-Western-Pennsylvania-Highways-Top-o'-the-Organ-Donor-List Casey, Sr. And I still don't regret it.

Looks like we'll get rid of that conservative Catholic Santorum and replace him with that conservative Catholic Casey. Sigh. That's progress. I guess. And Specter's in office until 2010, when he won't run again, due to whatever that fatal disease is that's killing him. And then who will run for his seat? Maybe that nice Harris Wofford man can come back? Or maybe it'll be the inevitable candidacy of Tom Ridge? Blecch. Or how 'bout that swell Lois Murphy? Actually, that's a good idea. I hope the DNC starts grooming her for 2010. I rather like that notion.

And before I go, I figure I should mention another unthrilling Pennsylvania Democrat: Ed Rendell. Sigh. Lynn Swann or any other black candidate will never win in central Pennsylvania, and will thus probably lose, which is about the best part of Ed One-Armed-Bandits-For-All Rendell. Small wonder that the only president this state has given us was James Buchanan, isn't it?


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