Joe Clark is Turning Over in His Grave

I have a ward meeting tonight, and as such I would like to spend a moment calling out the leaders of my party: the Pennsylvania state Democratic Party. Yesterday, Ed Rendell performed one of the most utterly disgusting acts I have ever seen a Democrat commit during a major legislative battle. First, he was complicit in the face of true right-wing extremism by endorsing Alito for the Supreme Court. Second, he made his announcement in a way that endorsed Republican narratives about Democrats in order to get himself more face time on a conservative news outlet, Fox News Channel. Will Bunch has the transcript (emphasis his):
RENDELL:.... I think we've fallen into just such partisanship in D.C., not just in this but in so many things, it's in some way ways tearing the country apart. HEMMER: How do you think your Democrat colleagues did in this process? Were you proud of them? RENDELL: I wasn't pleased. Certainly some did well and some didn't. I wasn't pleased at the nitpicking. I think we need to go back to the days one party wins. No one fought harder for John Kerry than I did. They won the election , and as long as they give us qualified candidates... I would have voted not to confirm Clarence Thomas, clearly in my judgment at that time he wasn't qualified. But Sam Alito, unanimously recommended by the American Bar Association, qualified judge.
What is particularly stunning is that Rendell used to be the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, but now he has no problem breaking ranks with the rest of his party in order to make himself look better to conservatives on Fox. What is even more laughable is someone who rose to power within Philadelphia politics, home of one of the last remaining Democratic machines in the country, is going on about partisanship and putting party ahead of policy. Whatever machine boy. What is particularly disgusting is that as a committeeperson, I am going to have to do GOTV for this guy this year.

This is really mind-blowing stuff. Was there any need for Rendell to make a statement in support of Alito, especially during the crucial hours of the final whip? Why did he suddenly decide it was more important for him to go on Fox News channel and repeat Republican talking points about the way Democrats acted during the hearings than it was for him to support the efforts of 80-90% of his party in the Senate by, I don't know, just being quiet for a few days?

A statement like this isn't going to help Rendell's re-election chances one iota, as it won't help Casey's election chances one iota either. People aren't trying to pay attention to this story. Were the story to become huge, however, if Dems actually managed a filibuster, the country would now know that two prominent Democrats who have nothing to do with the hearings absolutely agree with everything Republicans are saying about Democrats who oppose Alito, thus immediately positioning Senate Democrats as the extremists and Alito, the most extreme nominee to come before the court since Bork, as mainstream.

Rendell and Casey thus perfectly combine the worst aspects of Ben Nelson--who rarely votes with his colleagues but also never really criticizes them publicly--and Joe Lieberman, who votes with his colleagues sometimes but happily and publicly criticizes Democrats using Republican talking points, thereby reifying them, almost every chance he gets. That is a pretty toxic combination. I'd like to believe that this is an aberration, but I also remember at the beginning of 2005 when Ed Rendell happily signed up with the Fainthearted Faction on Social Security the first time he was asked about it on television.

This is a sad day for me. I'll do my duty as a committeeperson and try to get Democrats elected in Pennsylvania once the primary is over. I just wish the people I was helping to elect would do their duty too. Joe Clark, the former Democratic mayor who broke the Philadelphia Republican machine and in 1962 became the last Democrat from Pennsylvania elected to a full-term in the US Senate, is turning over in his grave.

Tags: Democrats (all tags)

Comments

27 Comments

Where did Casey criticize Democrats?
I'm looking at his Alito statement, and he just reluctantly endorses Alito.  No shots at other Democrats there.  While I agree with the substance of Rendell's statement (elections do have consequences, and the Democratic Judiciary members missed the mark on creating their counternarrative), decrying partisanship when the House and Senate are being run in the most partisan manner possible by the other party is probably not the way to make your point and help your party.  Negatives for style.

I thought I had been following the Casey stuff pretty closely, and maybe the "Casey is the worst aspects of Lieberman" has examples outside the Alito nomination, but his Alito statement seemed more like Ben Nelson's--he's qualified, even if Casey doesn't agree with the totality of Alito's political philosophy.

by sucopsucoh 2006-01-26 05:51AM | 0 recs
Re: Where did Casey criticize Democrats?
Neither Rendell nor Casey can cast a vote either for or against Alito. There was absolutely no point in either one of them commenting on Alito, unless they wanted to support the across the board position of the Democratic Party. Absolutely none.

Well, aside from a sick, twisted desire to piss off the Democratic base there wasn't any purpose in their statements. If they want to be Faux News All Stars they should both switch parties.

by Gary Boatwright 2006-01-26 06:10AM | 0 recs
Re: Where did Casey criticize Democrats?
On Fox News, according to Digby:

"...he didn't just endorse Alito. He went out of his way to bash Democrats for being so partisan and failing to recognise that Alito is superbly qualified. Oh, and Bush won the election so he is out King.

He was good little Fox Democrat. I hope they gave him nice chew bone and a scratch behind the ears when he was done."

by KimPossible 2006-01-26 06:43AM | 0 recs
Yeah, that was the Rendell stuff Chris posted.
Digby wasn't talking about Casey there.
by sucopsucoh 2006-01-26 07:03AM | 0 recs
Did you notice the recommended diaries?
Bob Casey: Does He Want To Lose?:

The Philly Inquirer-

Casey, once again, drew a line between himself and the Democratic-leaning interest groups he must rely on as he seeks to unseat Sen. Rick Santorum (R., Pa.), who will vote to confirm Alito. Those groups, such as MoveOn.org and the League of Conservation Voters, which endorsed Casey Monday, have been pressing hard in recent weeks to keep Democratic support for Alito to a minimum.

If he had opposed Alito, Casey could have invigorated the liberal base - a shaky constituency because of his antiabortion position - at a time when fund-raising is a top priority of the campaign.

Since he doesn't have a vote, what the hell is Casey doing endorsing Alito?

by Gary Boatwright 2006-01-26 07:10AM | 0 recs
you are the party now
Introduce a resolution.
by blogswarm 2006-01-26 06:01AM | 0 recs
Casey
Just how inevitable is the nomination of Bob Casey Jr. as the Democratic Candidate for Senate from Pennsylvania? Of all the machine politics and backroom dealmaking that has come to light this cycle I believe this one sickens me the most.

A pro-choice Republican can get repeatedly elected in Pennsylvania but the Democratic leadership nevertheless anoints from on high an anti-choice candidate. To add insult to injury, this candidate, who is on the very rightward fringes of the Democratic Party, then speaks out against the bulk of the membership of his party at a crucial time.

We've heard why he did it. He had to answer Santorum's attempts to draw him out. Boiled down, he went against his party on Samuel Alito to score political points for his own career.

Disgusting.

by Curt Matlock 2006-01-26 06:16AM | 0 recs
Re: Casey
Contribute to Chuck Pennacchio. I'm on unemployment and I'm a $17.76/month contributor.

Pennacchio Offers A Clear Choice
As Casey Follows Santorum's Lead (Again) On Alito
January 25
Bob Casey Jr.'s statement of support for the Alito nomination yesterday is a slap in the face of every Pennsylvanian who believes in privacy rights, abortion rights, civil rights, worker's rights, and reasonable limits on presidential power and the government's power to search and seize its own citizens.

Yesterday's endorsement of Alito is the latest example that too often Bob Casey Jr. is the "Santorum-lite" candidate. The Santorum campaign is consistently wrong on the issues but they are right in noting Casey's tendency to follow their lead. A week before Casey Jr. endorsed Alito the Santorum campaign (on Jan. 17) predicted his support:

"you [Casey Jr.] wait for Senator Santorum...and then days or weeks later, you come out with the same position. For example, on questions about supporting the Iraq war or working to reduce home heating costs, you watched Rick Santorum articulate his positions, and then followed his lead by stating the same position on the issue." (read more)

by Gary Boatwright 2006-01-26 07:12AM | 0 recs
Re: Casey
I've sent him money a couple of times and if he remains in the race I'll send him more. Politically he mirrors most of my own positions so I'd love to see him win. But ....

Chuck Pennacchio can't win.

Bob Casey Junior is the only Democrat who can win Pennsylvania.

Liberals can't win in Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania is a red state and if you are pro-choice you can only win if you are a Republican (Arlen).

Did I mention Chuck can't win?

Did I mention that the only person with a chance to unseat Santorum is Bob Casey the younger?

Did I miss any of the conventional "wisdom" that gets thrown out everytime anyone mentions how disgusted they are with the politics of Bob Casey?

by Curt Matlock 2006-01-26 07:22AM | 0 recs
Re: Casey
Pennsylvania is a red state and if you are pro-choice you can only win if you are a Republican (Arlen).

So maybe Chuck should switch to the Republican Party and run against Casey.

Your comment does raise an interesting question if Casey does win the primary and manages to beat Santorum in the general:

 Will Bob Casey or Arlen Specter will have the most Republican voting record?

by Gary Boatwright 2006-01-26 08:55AM | 0 recs
What about labor rights?

Seeing that the real reason both political parties exist is to fight over the division of labor and wealth, is it so easy to label Casey a DINO?

Casey is a social conservative -- big deal!

The vast majority of issues the government does anything of value with are economic.

So far, Casey has taken the right stances on workers' rights, minimum wage, taxes, etc.

Oh, and so has Rendell.

I like both guys, especially Rendell.  At the end of the day, you can't complain with results.

Rendell did a hell of a job running Philly.  A surprising job as DNC chair.  He is doing very good job with the deck stacked against him as governor.

And, if the Democratic Party really wanted to get it's shit together, they'd get married to Rendell's stance on property tax reform.

The GOP could be run face-first into the ground with Rendell's platform.

by jcjcjc 2006-01-27 03:36AM | 0 recs
Not to forget
J. Richardson Dilworth - that bastion of WASPy propriety (and "turncoat" to his Main Line friends), who fought the good fight with Clark, tried to clean up the city, and was one of the first to return to Center City (built his repro-Federal house when the rest of Society Hill looked like a Robert Moses dream of pull-it-all-down-because-the-old-buildings-are-in-the-way-of-my-plans).
by fatbear 2006-01-26 06:29AM | 0 recs
They don't understand Pennsylvania
I mean, Democrats in the urban areas want someone to fight for them, which means  fighting against the Republicans.  Dems, Indys and Eisenhower Republicans (which there are a lot of) out in the country, just want to elect someone who says what they mean and makes a stand.  Hackett would do well in central PA - they would love him.
by Robert P 2006-01-26 06:59AM | 0 recs
I'm here in PA ...
I'm in Montgomery County: I'm active in local Dem politics and a DFA member
I'm disgusted...
First A buch of white men decide Casey will "neutralize" the abortion issue. OK I dont agree but I understand it. But this??? And the fact that Rendell announce it on Faux News...And then Bobbie
JR jumps in and echoes Rendell???
Its a big f**k you to us as far as I am concerned.
by cybermome1207 2006-01-26 08:05AM | 0 recs
I'm here in PA ...
I'm in Montgomery County: I'm active in local Dem politics and a DFA member
I'm disgusted...
First A bunch of white men decide Casey will "neutralize" the abortion issue. OK I dont agree but I understand it. But this??? And the fact that Rendell announce it on Faux News...And then Bobbie
JR jumps in and echoes Rendell???
Its a big f**k you to us as far as I am concerned.
by cybermome1207 2006-01-26 08:06AM | 0 recs
GO STEELERS! Ed Rendell pissing off Western PA.

Ed Rendell will face the wrath of Western PA if he fucks up the slots thing for the Pens by giving it to some crony company of his. He is already suspected of someone favoring Eastern PA over Western PA.

The state bailed out Philly in the past. It's Pittsburgh's turn to get some help from the state.

by Pravin 2006-01-26 10:47AM | 0 recs
Agreed

But, if it fails, it won't be for Rendell not trying.  Ed has done tons to get the slots licenses done.

Rendell, I believe, is setting everything up to make the GOP either look like they caved or else face the wrath of an angry public.

Couple that with his minimum wage proposal, and Rendell is basically begging the GOP to slit their own throats.

by jcjcjc 2006-01-27 03:43AM | 0 recs
Re: Joe Clark is Turning Over in His Grave

Isn't voting for Faux Democrats doing us more harm than good?

The key thing that Democrats need to be doing right now is debunking the cultural myth that "the two parties are the same."  That myth, and the intellectual laziness that accompanies it, is what's really killing us in elections all over the place.  People see Republican corruption, and they believe that the Democrats must be corrupt too, because of the myth.  People see Republicans sucking up to corporate interests, and they assume that Democrats must be sucking up too, because of the myth.

The big problem with these Faux Democrats is that they validate the myth.  I think we need to repudiate them, even if it costs us some power in the short run.

by joshyelon 2006-01-26 01:17PM | 0 recs
Re: Joe Clark is Turning Over in His Grave

When Rendell was chairman, he went on Fox to insist Al Gore concede the 2000 presidential election. Rendell is a turd, and not in the complimentary sense of the term. He is an Ed Koch Democrat, which is indistinguishable from a Brit Hume Democrat or a Francisco Franco Democrat. Fuck Ed Rendell, and in his next life may he be a female staffer for Joe Scarborough.

by georgewturd 2006-01-26 02:32PM | 0 recs
Re: Joe Clark is Turning Over in His Grave

I remember that well.  Fast Eddie is a anti-union, backstabbing son of a bitch.  I hope he loses.  The important election for governor is 2010, when redistricting will be on the line.  So, either way the Democrats won't have an incumbent running that year.  

by Paleo 2006-01-26 03:05PM | 0 recs
Re: Joe Clark is Turning Over in His Grave
jesus h christ...as a lifelong dem in Pa it just continues to get worse. I have fought with money and blood n guts for past candidates Since the rethug takeover of our country, the  demparty and candidates are rethug lite...and i'm goddam tired of it. If our dem Pa party elected officials want to be rethugs then get the fuck out and join the other party...we don't want you or need you! The only, I repeat only thing that bush gets any credit for is that he stands for something...even when he is always wrong...he at least stands for something!!! dems leaders when they are rethug lite are viewed as fucking pussies with no backbone, they don't stand for anything.
If rendell and casey want to tout rethug points, they can resign the dem party and run as a fucking rethugs!
Because if you want to win as a dem, you better be a fucking dem or lose the goddam party fucking base. And by the way, being a dem means not supporting a justice with this dickweeds history...no doubt he is qualified...as are many others who would support the constitution, not destroy it!
by johnnyreason 2006-01-26 04:08PM | 0 recs
Re: Joe Clark is Turning Over in His Grave

I'm a committeeperson in a tiny twp in the red central area, and I'm going with what Robert P said. Where's Paul Hackett when we need him?

Rendell has consistently sold out the rural areas. He's made the same mistake that Kerry did in the national campaign, assuming that the red areas were so red that he wouldn't bother with them. And so he's used our interests as a pawn when he's dealmaking. Hence the ACRE act, which overrides any local ordinance against corporate farming. (It's being challenged in court, but still--thanks, Ed).

The rural folk who are not impressed by the Republicans are even less impressed with the Dem Lite version. It's like they're thumbing their noses at us, saying, "What are you going to do about it? We're what you've got, so too bad."

I feel like a fool campaigning for either Casey or Rendell. Sorry.

by joanbeach4 2006-01-27 02:23AM | 0 recs
I agree with Rendell

The GOP deferred to our wishes on Ginsburg and Breyer -- who have both been absolutely as unacceptable to the right as Alito is claimed to be to the left.

If we think we have such a goddamned say in who makes the Court, we should start winning elections.

If you don't accept that fact, then it really is time to start reviewing your stance on the Second Amendment, because that's the realistic alternative.

Likewise, the GOP has an awful track record on picking judges.  Between Roberts and Alito, at least one will turn out to be a moderate.

Consider that 7 of the current 9 justices are GOP picks.  Now, how piss poor of a job have they done for things to get to this point?

The court should have been stacked conservative by the time Reagan put O'Connor on the bench.

At some point, no matter how much we want to start the real-life equivalent of a flame war, it simply isn't fair or right given the precedent set by both parties since the confirmation process was implemented in its current form in the 1920s.

Perhaps we could hire some 16-yr old C++ programmers as consultants, since they probably know how to conduct a flame war better than any of the consultants we currently employ know how to conduct a goddamned political campaign.

At the end of the day, the country has to run.  That means that if Samuel Alito is qualified (which he is, by a mile) he gets confirmed.

He's no more offensive to left than Breyer and Ginsburg were to the right.  Does anyoe care to dredge up what the votes were for those two?  Hint: better than what Roberts got.

by jcjcjc 2006-01-27 03:29AM | 0 recs
Please get informed

The GOP deferred to our wishes on Ginsburg and Breyer

Actually, Bill Clinton deferred to the GOP on both picks. Ginsberg and Breyer are very moderate judges. I believe Clinton actually got Sen. Hatch's approval for Ginsberg, before he nominated her. At the time the blue slip was still SOP and a single Senator could kill a judicial nomination.

What's up jcjcjc? You been hanging out at Faux News or what?

by Gary Boatwright 2006-01-27 08:07AM | 0 recs
You gotta be kidding me

Give credit where credit is due.

1. Bush nominated someone while consulting Harry Reid.  The far right torpedoed her.

You thing the left is going to be any nicer if we end up replacing someone like Stevens with a moderate?

Nah.  All hell's gonna break loose.

2. Ginsburg is a known leftie.  If she's such a moderate, I await your response to what happens if she leaves the court before January 20, 2009.   I struggle to believe the response will be "Thank God, now Bush can put someone more liberal on the bench".

For all of Hatch's approval, it was still deference.  

I'm not saying we should kiss Bush's ass.  But, at the end of the day, we either accept the outcomes of the last three elections or we better start re-evaluating our stance on this whole government thing in general.

Personally, I'm gonna try to survive through 2008 before throwing in the towel, moving out to the boonies (well, further out), and stockpiling ammuntion.

I'm not sold that Alito is an unmitigated disaster.  For all his flaws, he is surprisingly successful, intelligent, and qualified by Bushie standards.

Justices are like NFL draft picks.  You really don't know what you're getting until you see them in the game.  Don't forget that people railed against Souter as a conservative, and he has proven an absolute embarrassment to the right.

by jcjcjc 2006-01-27 02:01PM | 0 recs
Re: Joe Clark is Turning Over in His Grave

Midge Rendell (Ed's Wife) and Sam Alito have been serving on the 3rd circuit for about 10 years.  This is a personal endorsement. He knows the guy....

Why must everyone engage in these stupid fu#king ideological purity tests.  I was never a big fan of Gov Casey (mostly because of his socially conservative positions) until I went to work for Wofford (several CAsey staffers worked for Wofford as well)  It wasn't just his pro-labor, pro-education and pro- health care stances, it was the amount of fight he put into remaining a Democrats and fighting for economic progress.

If Santorum is against us 85% of the time and Casey will be with us 80% of the time ---- the choice seems clear

by kmwray 2006-01-27 07:11AM | 0 recs
Re: Joe Clark is Turning Over in His Grave

I live in Pennsylvania during the academic year, and I must confess that one of the great pleasures of my life thus far will be to cast my vote this November against Rick "man-on-dog" Santorum and his delusions of neo-Napoleonic conservative conquest of not only the public sphere, but the private as well.

However, I have become more and more disheartened of late with the increased voicing of rightist-sounding ideas by Mr. Casey. Of course simply booting Mr. Santorum off the Hill would be delightful, but it is a shame that we cannot seem to do better than Mr. Casey. Pennsylvania may not be the absolute bluest state on the map, but it is certainly not analogous to Nebraska where a person of the ilk of Ben Nelson is the only opportunity the Democrats might have. After all, the state did send Ed Rendell to Harrisburg, and he certainly was more a product of the liberal bastion of Philadelphia than of Pennsylvania as a whole.

Although Joe Hoeffel could not seem to muster enough support statewide to beat Arlen Specter in '04, he still brought many excellent ideas to the table and seemed to be an affable enough chap to appeal a wide range of voters. It is a shame that Mr. Hoeffel did not try to win the Democratic nomination again this year, especially given Mr. Santorum's vulnerability....c'est la vie, I suppose.

by pennquaker08 2006-01-27 12:04PM | 0 recs

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