Friday, September 30, 2005

Rarities: a politician beholden only to his constituents

I'm nowhere near as eloquent as Albert, but I stand in full agreement with his assessment of Chuck Pennacchio and the need for more (potential) leaders like him.

Pennacchio gets funding for his campaign from grass-roots efforts (real ones,
not ones cooked up by a political party's PR firm) & doesn't accept money from PACs (not even donations delayed by a need to do some laundry). As I described before, my donation to Chuck Pennacchio's campaign marked my first financial contribution to an election effort. I donated not only because I genuinely support Pennacchio's run for office, but because the Democratic Party in PA (much like the national party) has decided ignore ideals and unilaterally support Bob Casey Jr. instead of allowing for the primary election to make the party's decision. In doing so, the PA dems join what appears to be a concerted, transparent and frequently losing effort of becoming Republocrats and sell out women, gays and other minorities as a result of failing to realize they lose elections due to their lack of testicular fortitude. They do so knowing full well how much we fear the continued erosion of civil rights, religious freedom and the very reputation of this country under Repubevangelical domination; in doing so they take us for granted, but when they offer little protection, should it really matter to us which oppressing party is in power?

Bob Casey, Jr.
says little, if anything, instead relying on Santorum to. . .well, be Rick Santorum. It's possible this plan may back-fire on the democratsand, as Matthew Yglesias points out, it may not even be necessary

I can certainly see the case for running pro-life Democrats in, say, Oklahoma. In certain states, you're bound to get a pro-life Senator one way or the other, so it makes sense to take abortion rights off the table and try to fight for other priorities, including perhaps the other issues in the reproductive freedom package. But neither Rhode Island nor Pennsylvania actually seem to fit the bill. Pennsylvania has supported Kerry, Gore, and Clinton in all its recent presidential elections and has a pro-choice Republican Senator. It seems inconceivable that you can't find a pro-choice candidate capable of beating Rick Santorum.

Since Santorum is an almost uniquely loathsome figure in the Senate, I would imagine that people who care about choice will, in the end, rally around Bob Casey if he gets the nomination. Rhode Island, however, is another matter entirely. For the Democrats to nominate an anti-choice candidate to run against a pro-choice Republican in a blue state is asking the Democrats' pro-choice community to swallow an awfully big and awkwardly shaped pill. . .


There's a strong impulse in the air to try and make gays, lesbians, and women pay the price for the Democrats' inability to come to grips with the national security issue and it's just very wrong on a whole number of levels. During the 1990s when foreign policy was off the table, Bill Clinton had no trouble running and winning on a pro-choice, mildly gay-friendly platform. What changed since then was 9/11 and the fact that all of a sudden people care more about issues of war and peace. That is what needs to be addressed. Instead, the party's near-compulsive desire to not confront these issues is pushing more and more people to throw important stuff out the window in a slapdash and cruel way.
The only reason I registered to vote with a party affiliation when I turned 18 was to be able to vote in the primary elections. In this way, I had a chance to to shape the representation of party with a platform that most closely resembled my own. By intentionally trying to ensure that primaries are uncontested, the voters are marginalized by deal-making politicos in a way that undermines the democratic process and far from discourages corruption.

Candidates like Pennacchio come from outside the political insider mold and are beholden not to special interest groups and big corporations, but to the constituents they hope to represent. This is what the voting process is meant to ensure and this is what we, as a state and a country, sorely need. Today is the last day in the quarter to donate to a campaign: support democracy by supporting Chuck Pennacchio.

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