Hey Kate Michelman: Run as a Democrat, or Don't Run At All

I glanced at the Inquirer today, and a headline really caught my attention. There was a picture of a vaguely familiar woman, and a headline that said Senate race could get more crowded. Turns out, the picture was of Kate Michelman, long-time leader of NARAL. I immediately thought to myself that with a candidate able to tap national money, Michelman could at least make things interesting for Bob Casey in the primary. And then I read the first paragraph of the article:

Kate Michelman, a prominent abortion-rights advocate, said yesterday that she was giving "some thought" to running as an independent in the race for a Pennsylvania seat in the U.S. Senate.


Read more for the rest

Look, many people are unhappy with the choice of Bob Casey. Fine. Find a candidate you think can beat him in the primary, and go for it. But running as an independent, and virtually ensuring a Rick Santorum victory? Are you insane? Seriously, are you really that short sighted?

First, just to be clear, if Michelman runs, Santorum wins. I know that there are more pro-choice people in PA than not. But, for many, many, many people, it is simply not the biggest issue. And, for many, many, many people in Philadelphia, they are not going to pull the lever for a non-democratic candidate. Michelman will have zero, and I mean zero chance to win. However, I could see her getting 10 or 15 percent of the vote, which would guarentee a Santorum win.

Second, when choice advocates do something like this, they feed into what everyone seems to be saying about them these days: They are one issue, bizarrely non-strategic group of middle to upper class people who care less about protecting women's rights (or any other progressive values) than about making sure there is a pro-choice candidate in a race. NARAL endorsed Rhode Island's GOP Senator Lincoln Chafee, despite the fact that he votes for Bill Frist as majority leader, and ensures that people like Sam Alito sit on the Supreme Court for thirty years.

Bob Casey is pro-life. Bob Casey will also vote for Harry Reid as majority leader. If Democrats are in the majority, no matter how Casey feels, reactionary judges for the Supreme Court will not even make it out of committee. If Rick Santorum wins, Dems have zero chance to take back the Senate. If that happens, you better sure as hell hope that Justice Stevens does not feel like retiring, because at that point not only will choice go, but so will just about everything else, from protecting the environment to worker's rights.

I just will assume that Michelman is floating a trial balloon, to see what the reaction is. But, if she at all values health care, a minimum wage, or yes, CHOICE, she will run as a Democrat, or not at all.

Confusion in the T

Running as a Democrat would weaken Casey's chances, since he's locked up the combo pro-union/pro-life division of the PA Democratic Party that's prevalent in the center of PA.

Then again, a weak Casey isn't that bad of an idea, anyway.

Are you insane? Seriously, are you really that short sighted?

Winning with Bob Casey Jr isn't a victory for any of the progressive values you speak of. He is anti universal health care, anti living wage, anti choice, anti stem cell research, anti accountability in Iraq. He takes the same view as Santorum on all of the major issues. He even gets his money from 239 of the same places.

He represents a very small percentage of the democrats in PA even in the T. It isn't just the choice issue. I've been speaking with lots of pro-life democrats who are voting for Chuck Pennacchio. There are many reasons we in the T strongly dislike Casey and our party bosses for trying to move to the right.

Another reason is that if Casey wins the primary Santorum wins the general regardless of any third party or independent candidates. Just look at the drop in his support on choice issue alone in the Quinnipiac poll. Or how his lead disappears in the Zogby poll when people find out anything about him. Santorum will have 25+ million dollars and all he has to say is I agree with this guy.

Honestly if winning is all that matters than vote republican.

Der... what?

"I think we need universal health care in this country. How many Senate Democrats openly agree? Does that mean they take the same stance towards health care as the GOP? Of course not."

Santorum and Casey are against universal health care. Yes that means they take the same stance on universal health care.

They are both against living wage legislation. Infact they both support a gradual raise in the minimum wage that ends at 7.15. So yes they take the same position there.

They have both stated publicly they are adimently pro-life.
They are both in support of an amendment that would define marriage as between a man and a woman. Both agaisnt gays having the right to adopt.

Both against expanded stem cell research.

Both of them would/did vote to confirm Alito

Both of them support the war in Iraq.

I never said many pro-lifers are supporti
ng Chuck. But all of the ones I've talk to are. They look at the issues and realize Casey isn't someone they want in the Senate.

About this Zogby poll you call "bunk". Zogby makes a full throated defense of it here:
as they explain this method has had overwhelming success in predicting elections.

But we don't need to look at that poll to see how weak Casey's hypothetical lead really is. In the Quinnipiac poll he drops to 65% of his original support once people realize he isn't pro choice.

You've never had a candidate who has run 3 times state wide without anyone knowing what hes about. But we have seen Bob Casey Jr with bigger leads he had bigger leads of Ed Rendell at this point in the game(18 points). He lost that one by 12 points.

I speak the truth

Don't get me wrong I didn't believe at first either but here is where Casey stands on health care:

Casey's campaign says he 'supports expanding current successful federal and state programs -- like the Children’s Health Insurance Program -- to expand access to more people. He also supports measures to encourage small businesses to offer health insurance coverage to their employees...Bob Casey supports improving the existing Medicare prescription drug law.'

The problem is that when you look more closely, Bob Casey's definition of expanded health care completely ignores over 40 million uninsured Americans. More than 337,000 Pennsylvanians (290,000 of them children) lost their health insurance between 2000 and 2004, and the numbers have just gotten worse.

As for the minimum wage issue Santorum introduced a god aweful plan to raise it by 1.10. Living wage needs to be made into a more promenent federal issue and the majority of Americans agree with me. In fact "A 2004 study by the Fiscal Policy Institute found no evidence of job loss or negative effect to small businesses from rises in minimum wage, and concluded that employment results were actually better in states that had minimum wage rates above the federal standard. Raising the minimum wage improves local economies. It increases the buying power of workers who spend in their communities, and removes them as a drag on the economy. Cost-adjusting minimum wage prevents cyclical increases in poverty as wages fall behind the cost of living, and consequently prevents damage to communities. That's why 130 cities and counties across America have enacted living wage laws." (chuck2006.com)

I was just talking about what Casey said to the HRC. It just isn't congruent with his statements to Church groups and other conservatives:
when answering a questionnaire last year for the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference, Casey was asked 'What is your position on government requiring that benefits be provided to same-sex couples?'
His response: 'Oppose.'
When asked, 'What is your position on legislation allowing homosexual couples to adopt children?' Bob Casey again responded 'Oppose.'
Pennsylvania Catholic Conference

On another questionnaire, when asked to state a position on same-sex marriage, Casey responded 'Oppose.'
Lancaster County Action

But you are correct those who misrepresent themselves are no help to anyone. Believe me I've read Casey's lit I wish he was a liberal or had a chance to beat Santorum. I'm a volunteer and I wouldn't be spending weekends walking around in the freezing cold talking to people if I were motivated by money or power. I'm really to lazy for that.

Welcome Jim, I appreciate you

Welcome Jim, I appreciate your tenacity, but, obviously, I think your logic is bizarrely off.

So many pro-life progressives are supporting Pennacchio, eh? Then why does he poll lower than my left foot? Hell, then why would Michelman feel the need to run in the first place? Because most people, rightly or wrongly, do not take Chuck's candidacy seriously. Again, if you disagree, ask yourself why Michelman is threatening to run.

I don't like Casey's stances on choice or the war either, but, in the grand scheme of things, Bob Casey in the Senate as opposed to Rick Santorum (and Democrats in control as opposed to the GOP) is huge. Ignoring that is silly. And, saying that he takes the same stances as Santorum is frankly, really dumb. Reeeealy dumb. I think we need universal health care in this country. How many Senate Democrats openly agree? Does that mean they take the same stance towards health care as the GOP? Of course not.

The Zogby poll was bunk. Besides the fact that it ignores how campaigns work, you can't pick your questions that you want answered, then point to it as objective. (And, yeah, internet polls are not so reliable.)

And, as my buddy Chris Bowers has said, anyone who doubts that it is very likely that Casey will win is simply ignoring reality. We pride ourselves, or at least I pride myself, in being part of the reality based community. In almost no poll in the history of Senate polling (in fact, in no poll I have ever seen in my life), has an incumbent Senator been losing like this. That is a fact.

And, no, winning is not all that matters. But getting Democrats back in control of the Senate will make real, huge differences in people's lives, including big issues like choice.

prove it

Rather than saying "Casey and Santorum" are against universal healthcare, explain what their positions are. Lots of progressives don't believe that universal, single-payer healthcare is a viable option in American politics right now , but have other ideas for how to improve access. Based on that criteria, tell me where Casey is at. And, when you tell me things, cite their source rather than just pulling up facts out of thin air.

For instance, Santorum voted 17 times in the past 10 years against any minimum wage raise which is a very different position than Casey. I have also never heard of a national position on living wage legislation by any federal candidate so I am not sure what this even means. Living wages are ususally done at the state and local level.

Furthermore, Bob Casey has said publicly he is against any amendment to the Constitution to ban marriage (he said it 2 weeks ago at the HRC dinner). According to the HRC's endorsement of him, Casey "believes that adoption decisions should be made without prohibitions or limitations based on the sexual orientation of the parents."

I am all for an open primary, have met Chuck and like him- but Penacchio supporters who misrepresent facts really do Chuck a disservice. And calling Casey "Santorum-lite" is giving a pass to one of the most evil and manipulative Republicans in the past 30 years.

Get your facts straight.

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