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Showdown in Pennsylvania

I woke up to the news that Arlen Specter had lost the Democratic primary for the US Senate seat from Pennsylvania and though I haven to been following this very closely, I just have to weigh in on this with my own uninformed opinion.

I was in PA for mother’s day and my mom brought up the subject of Arlen. She was agin’im. And this may take Ed Rendell and the other super delegates by surprise but she didn’t like him for the strangest reason: remember Anita Hill? Yeah, well, that hearing for Clarence Thomas left an indelible mark on my mother. She remembers it like it was yesterday and she really, REALLY, didn’t like the way that Hill was treated by Specter, as if here testimony was worth on half as much as Clarence Thomas’.

Now, I suspect that Specter was driven out because people were just tired of him. He’s something like 80 years old, he switched parties, and he didn’t really have anything to offer Pennsylvanians that they hadn’t already seen. I don’t know if Joe Sestak is going to be a whole lot better but he’s not Specter. I would advise Sestak to not move too much to the center. Elderly democratic conservatives like my mother voted for Hillary Clinton in 2008 in droves. I know because I called a lot of them. In fact, a lot of those same women want her and are frankly pissed off that they got stuck with someone who did not live up to the expectations that were shoved down their throats.

If I were Joe Sestak, I’d be asking myself, what do women want? The answer is: her own way. Sestak is going to have to run the gauntlet of these angry Democratic, older, more conservative women. Think shrewish Kate, forced to submit to decades of young, male assholes gloating about forcing them into submission. It would be wrong to assume they have ever been tamed and they still have the power to make your life a living hell in some passive aggressive ways. Channel Hillary, Joe. Praise her every chance you can. Remember, it’s the economy, stupid. It’s their sons and daughters who can’t find jobs and are threatening to move in with them with their gaggle of grandchildren. It’s social security and savings and nasty bankers. You can’t go wrong by running against bankers. And remind them that when the Tea Party folks go off about cutting taxes and entitlements, they are talking about cutting taxes for the wealthy and cutting benefits, social security and medicaid, for everyone else.

Sestak has his work cut out for himself. This is going to be a tough, tough battle and the Democratic party in PA has to be feeling ambivalent at best. The state is not young and the tea party crap could be very formidable. I can almost see the Republicans licking their lips over this one. Sestak is going to have to show that neither party likes him and yet be likable enough for the wives of Bath.

Let’s hope this primary result puts the fear of goddess into the Democrats. We’ve given them plenty of dope slaps but they still don’t seem to be getting it. Women have long memories and we will remember hearings for a long, long time.

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