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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.

24 Responses

  1. Wow…I thought I was just a “bitter ender” for still being pissed at Specter over the Anita Hill grilling! But, FWIW, Specter’s constant talking center-left …but always voting hard right… also has been high on my list of reasons for disliking him.

    Sestak is no leftie and he may well lose, but it’s time to see what happens when people start noticing they have the power to unelect as well as elect whomever they choose.

    • I’m still angry at Specter about the Warren Commission and the single bullet theory.

  2. Yep, I was surprised too. She really developed a hatred if Specter over that. And since she was registered a Democrat, it was the first time she was able tp punish him for going after Hill.
    Her friends are all gigantically pissed off that Hillary didn’t win and they don’t like Obama. For them, it has nothing to do with race and everything to do with trust. They don’t trust him. This is significant because my mom is a religion addict. Her friends are also religious. Whatever Obama is doing to reach out to them isn’t working. The economy is having an effect. The jig is up.
    So, verily I say to you, Joe, if you want to win PA, tell them over and over that it is their choice, they have the power to make a change. And really mean it.

  3. Damn, it’s so hard to edit on the run…

    • rd, hope you are doing well. Nice post 🙂

      ps. What Ed Rendell Says = The Opposite is True

  4. I’m with your mom. I’ve hated that SOB Specter ever since the Clarence Thomas hearing and I’m thrilled that he’s out of politics. I’ve waited a long time for this day.

  5. I remember Specter well from the Thomas hearings with Anita Hill. What a bastard he was. Could care less about single or double bullet theories. Glad he lost.

    • Biden was a bastard at those hearings too. I’ve hated him ever since.

      • The Thomas hearings are why I hate Specter, Biden and Simpson.

        Obama has appointed retired senator Simpson to the Austerity Commission. That should work out well for women.

  6. Howard Dean was just on with Andrea Mitchell, saying that there are tea parties on both sides of the aisle. He finally notices that some liberals are P.O.’d. Too bad he did pay attention in 2008 when Obama was using him before discarding him.

    Mitchell started talking about how Pennsylvanians “love their guns.” So why did they vote for Sestak who supports gun control?

    And on CNN, Paul Begala has finally started criticizing Obama. Last night he said that people dislike Obama’s policies and that he never speaks about political philosophy–always focuses on process. What’s new about that?

    • Think CNN is realizing BO has short tails for ratings too. This should help make MSNBC even more insufferably Obotic, if that’s even possible. They will truly become like that station in Venezuela called El Presidente which is totally dedicated to Chavez.

  7. Well, Sestak would seem to have one big advantage going into the race: he’s running against a former investment banker who dealt in derivatives! But, along with that advantage, Sestak will have to avoid making the same mistake Martha Coakley did and not cave on his principles just to obtain DSCC funds in order to run. Fortunately, Sestak must have a donor pool from his previous campaigns, and as long as he doesn’t make another mistake Coakley made–allowing the DNC to provide people from DC to run the campaign–he should have a shot.

  8. Excellent post, RD. I hope Sestak reads it.

  9. Sestak’s victory resembles Hillary Clinton’s win in Pa. primary

    Rep. Joe Sestak (D-Pa.), using Gov. Ed Rendell’s Democratic consultants, bucked the governor’s route to victory in his 2002 primary and instead took the path used by then-Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) in her 2008 presidential primary victory.


    • Sestak was a supporter of Hillary. He seems to be in Wes Clark mold. Both tough guys who don’t fall for slick.

  10. Hello, everyone! Thought you might be interested in reading this: “Sestak’s victory resembles Hillary Clinton’s win in Pa. primary” (http://voices.washingtonpost.com/44/2010/05/in-pennsylvania-sestak-emulate.html)

  11. Ooops! Guess we posted at the same time, plural.

  12. I like Sestak. He was a Hillary supporter (is this why WH backed Arlen?) and seems like a classic democrat. I used to really like Ed Rendell too, but now a days he’s doing anything to save Obama’s sinking ship.

    Anyway, found this article over at wapo: “Sestak’s victory resembles Hillary Clinton’s win in Pa. primary”

  13. I would love to see the demographics of who voted for Specter and who for Sestak.

    • Arlen tried hard to get the gun toters. My guess is the Hillary voters from 2008 went for Sestak, plus anyone who is a real liberal. How could they vote for Specter?

  14. I, too, have detested Specter since he interrogated Anita Hill. Good riddance, but he was able to hang in there for a long time (and now he gets a pension on our dime). No thanks to you Spec for gifting us Clarence.

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