Sunday, September 03, 2006


Casey V. Santorum - Meet The Press


Clearly, one of the biggest battlegrounds in November will be Pennsylvania, as Americans watch to see if Bob Casey can maintain his lead over Rick Santorum and knock off one of the most despicable Members of Congress.

With 65 days until the November elections, one recent poll showed Santorum closing the gap to just six points, although a USA Today/Gallup poll released on Friday showed Casey sitting on a 56-38% lead amongst likely voters, and a 14 point lead with registered voters.

As I've said in the past, Santorum has only been able to muster support in the high 30s or low 40s, despite the fact that he's spent over $7 million dollars to date in advertising, and the GOP has marked this race as one of their top priorities.

On the other hand, however, is the fact that Santorum is clearly a good campaigner. A bad human being, but a good campaigner. He can't be counted out until November 8th, 2006.

All of this made the first debate between the men - a debate on a national stage - all the more important. As such, I tried to watch Meet The Press this morning with a critical eye, in an attempt to determine if Santorum will get a bounce as a result of this appearance, or if Casey's lead will widen.

My first impressions are that Casey is not a charismatic campaigner, and doesn't have the same amount of energy that Santorum does in arenas such as these. Santorum came out swinging, and struck me as a man who knew the stakes of the debate. Casey, on the other hand, wanted to appear confident, but didn't want to make a mistake. Russert gave both of them some pretty good shots, but overall, I believe that Russert was tougher on Santorum than Casey was - and that could be a problem.

I will also say that, prior to the show airing, Santorum bought airtime for ads immediately prior to MTP. Casey did not. One might argue that Santorum has almost a 4 to 1 advantage over Casey in funding, and as a result, Casey's campaign staff may reason that it's not as important to buy air time and run ads until it's necessary.


BOB CASEY
Let me be upfront - Casey is not my favorite Democrat running in November. Compared to Santorum, however, he's a world of difference. Clearly, the Democratic party chose Casey specifically to run in Pennsylvania as a candidate that may have some "crossover" appeal to Republicans, because they feel so strongly about removing Santorum from office. At what price, however?

During the show, Casey talked about issues where he doesn't sound much different than some Republicans. He commented on his stands on the Iraq war - he opposes a timetable, and wants to double special forces on the ground in Iraq. He's also a pro-life Democrat, although he does support Plan B as an emergency contraceptive.

Russert was particulary interesting on the issue of Plan B, as he tried to pin Casey to the idea that it was somehow hypocritical to support Plan B and maintain a pro-life position. Just for the record, Plan B is emergency contraception, and is not something like RU-486. Plan B does not work if you are already pregnant.

Casey is in favor of firing Donald Rumsfeld. He believes that accountability should be established both with Congress, as well as with the Iraqi army. He gave Santorum a great shot when he commented that what we need in Iraq is not a "change in terminology, but a change in tactics."

Casey favors repealing the tax cut given to Americans earning over $200,000 a year. He also favors a change in the estate tax exemption levels - $3.5 million for individuals, $7 million for couples, and $5 million for farms and businesses. These changes alone would create a savings of over one trillion dollars over the next ten years.

RICK SANTORUM
Rick Santorum is evil. Pure and simple. Those who agree with this assessment, however, should be concerned. During debates like this, he comes across as competent, aggressive, and even likable.

The content, however, is where Santorum will lose. Santorum believes that Rumsfeld has done an excellent job executing the war in Iraq. During the debate, he repeatedly tried to re-frame the war in Iraq, stating that the real cause of civil war in Iraq was Iran - attempting to shift focus almost exclusively to Iran. Santorum believes that Iraq was not a war of choice, but a war of necessity, and he foolishly believes that we haven't been attacked in the last five years exclusively because of the war in Iraq.

Santorum re-stated again this morning that he believes that there WERE WMDs found in Iraq, and that Iraq posed a "grave threat" to the United States - both of which have been proven to be false over and over again. He also stated that he has absolutely no problem with the current domestic surveillance program. Comments like these are going to be where Santorum loses votes, as a majority of Americans do not believe what Santorum believes.

While Santorum only mentions Bush these days to state how he differs from the President, the facts don't lie. Santorum has been a rubber stamp for President Bush. In 2001, Santorum voted with Bush 97%. In 2002, it was 96%. In 2003, it was 99%. In 2004, it was 100%. In 2005, it was 95%. Casey correctly stated that when two politicians agree this much, one of them is clearly not necessary.

In 2001, the United States enjoyed a $281 billion dollar surplus. Today, we own a $260 billion dollar deficit - a difference of $541 billion dollars lost.

In 2001, the national debt was $5.7 trillion dollars. Today, it has grown to $8.5 trillion dollars, or an increase of 49%.

Despite this, Santorum has voted to support EVERY opportunity to increase the debt ceiling, rather than to practice fiscal responsibility.

Early in his career, Santorum advocated for raising the retirement age from 65 to 70. Today, fighting for his political life, he states that there is no need to raise taxes, cut benefits, OR raise the retirement age. His answer is the silver bullet called "personal retirement accounts." These personal retirement accounts, of course, would drain over a trillion dollars out of the social security system - but I guess no one bothered to give Rick Santorum that information.

SUMMARY
While I don't think this was a shining moment for Bob Casey, I think that Casey didn't do enough to hurt himself, and that Santorum didn't do enough to help himself. There may be a slight bounce in the polls in either direction in the days following this debate today, but ultimately they will settle back at the place they are right now.

Ultimately, I still believe that Casey wins this race. Santorum has been in office too long and can be blamed for too many of America's problems, and he won't be able to unentagle himself from President Bush.

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Posted by FleshPresser at 1:14 PM /

4 Comments

  • Blogger Jon posted at 11:37 AM  
    Santorum chewed up and spit Casey out in that debate on Meet the Press, but I am sure all you liberals are going to claim the other direction. Casey was the typical Democrat, offering nothing of substance and only saying things need to change. That has been the Democrat Party mantra for many years and yet they continue to offer no details on how they would change things.

  • Blogger FleshPresser posted at 2:19 PM  
    Look... first of all, there is no such thing as "all you liberals", and your generalization shows your ignorance. What would you say if I said that Chuck Hagel and Tod DeLay were "just a bunch of Republicans"? Of course I'd be wrong. So why do you feel the need to generalize?

    You may not know, so I'll give you the answer - it's easier for you to demonize a large group of people when you lump them all into one group, and you're feeling very threatened by Democrats, especially given the fact that elections are so close, and you need to oversimplify.

    In terms of Santorum, you once again show your ignorance. If you're talking about superficial qualities of the debate, you may actually be right - Santorum showed energy and enthusiasm.

    But if you paid attention to anything beyond that, you'd clearly have a different answer.

    It's simply a lie to suggest that there was no plan laid out by Casey on MTP. He laid out a VERY clear plan for Iraq (one that I don't necessarily agree with, by the way), as well as an economic plan.

    Just because Santorum had planned to say "he's got no plan" regardless of what was said - that doesn't mean that you have to listen to what Santorum said and parrot it back out again.

    Try using your head. And your ears. Or just go back to the transcript and take a look... it's all there.

    Here's the worst part - you know that Republicans have completely screwed up our country - I've even seen you write it on your blog. And yet, when alternatives are offered, you remain too stubborn, prejudiced, and close-minded to consider them. That's what's sad.

  • Blogger EAPrez posted at 4:30 PM  
    I don't know what debate Jon was watching but it wasn't the one broadcast on this planet. Jon likes people who spout his view of the world. He doesn't even have the sense to recognize that what he's spouting simply isn't grounded in reality. Great blog...email me your url and I'll blogroll you - all I see is your 'blogmad' address.

  • Blogger Lizbeth posted at 8:59 AM  
    It makes me want to keep my voting to PA so I can vote for Casey.
    Maybe I will.

    One vote sure seemed to matter in Flordia.

    Hope things are well.. you and the M factor.. Dont worry shell have to give the show a good review!

    :)

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