Thursday, May 11, 2006

not time to compromise

there was a documentary film crew at the unhappy birthday party last night. they're making a film about the santorum senate race. i'm hoping the film doesn't turn out to be a tragedy.

anyway, i was interviewed briefly by the crew and i've been thinking about my answers ever since. i told them about my misgivings about casey, why i favor his opposition in the primary, etc. actually, i've run over my answers in my head so many times, i really can't remember what i really said and what i just wish i had said. i'm kind of hoping they use the footage in the film just so i can find out what really happened and improve my grip on reality a little. always a good thing.

but i digress. so anyway, here we are; only 5 days before the primary and faced with conflicting data over whether casey's lead is shrinking or remaining steady. i've mentioned before about why i support chuck in the primary. but i never really mentioned one of the major reasons i don't want to vote for casey: even putting aside casey's positions on the issues (positions i largely disagree with) i think he's the worst candidate of the bunch.

casey represents the party-machine candidate. the only reason he appears to be cruising towards the democratic nomination is because the powers-that-be leaned on his major primary challengers to avoid a primary fight. of the field of potential santorum challengers, casey was probably the worst. the worst speaker (casey's speaking style has been described as "a sandwich bag filled with lukewarm Vaseline and crushed Valium") and the worst on the issues. in my humble opinion, of course.

the party last night was an anti-santorum party, not pro-anyone in particular. but most of the people there seemed to be casey supporters. at least that's what i saw as i watched the others get interviewed by the film crew. what's striking is how qualified everyone's support of casey was. they're all reluctant casey-people, behind him solely because he is the one they think has the best chances to beat santorum, a senator they despise.

i think that strategy is madness, a madness the democratic party seems to be addicted to. the party leadership is convinced that bland moderate-to-conservative candidates have the best chance of winning. but what that means is that we end up with compromise candidates with no enthusiastic base. so despite the fact that about 70% of this state is pro-choice and that santorum has the lowest approval rating in the senate in his home state, they're trying to stop the best chance we ever have had to elect a real progressive senator. it's the strategy the pennsylvania democratic party took 6 years ago, when they nominated colonel klink to challenge santorum. klink, like casey, was not all that exciting to anyone, but he was pro-life, anti-gun control and pro-death penalty. and so, the theory went, he would peel off a couple of the social conservative votes from santorum, plus get all the liberals who were willing to go with anyone but santorum. in other words, the exact same strategy the casey democrats are using today. at this point in the campaign season, klink was ahead of santorum in the polls too. of course, klink wasn't ahead anymore on election day.

despite the fact that it never seems to work, the powers-that-be are betting on the same losing strategy again. so when my friends tell me that casey compromise is worth it because it's the best chance we have of getting rid of santorum, i'm just not convinced. campaigns are driven by the passions of their supporters, and the only passion behind casey is the desire to get rid of santorum. i'm not saying that anti-santorum passion isn't a real passion, but any anti-santorum candidate will benefit from that in november. casey himself just doesn't bring anything to the table. chuck, at least, has a lot of people who are enthusiastic for chuck.

you might honestly believe that casey has the democratic nomination in his pocket. and you may be right. but that just means you will have your chance to make a compromise vote in the general election. there's no reason to do that next week. if you're prepared to compromise your vote for the greater good of getting rid of our loathsome senator, you should at least do so reluctantly. vote your conscience on tuesday instead.