Michelman for Senate in PA? Please, no!

Cross posted at Daily Kos and at my blog.

Something tells me she'll decide against it in the end, but it appears that Kate Michelman, the abortion rights leader, is thinking of running as a spoiler in the Pennsylvania Senate race.  Well, of course, she doesn't intend to be a spoiler, but let's not kid ourselves.

Now, I sympathize with Michelman.  Rick Santorum is an affront to the 21st century in just about every way.  Just last year, he literally wrote the book on why a woman's place is still in the home.  He also famously compared gay marriages to bestiality, a move that inspired the blogosphere to adopt his name as another word for...well, something you can't print in papers.  I'd like to provide a link here, but my mother reads this blog.  The rest of you can google it if you like!
His "Democratic" opponent, Bob Casey Jr., is not only also staunchly anti-choice on abortion, he's also running a terrible campaign and shows every sign of being willing and able to blow his current lead in the polls.  Besides, if Casey is elected, his very presence in the Senate will surely continue to saddle Democrats with the false, but widely believed, tale that they barred his father from speaking at the 1992 convention because he was anti-choice.  

Here's the thing...I know I'm always railing against Democrats running as me-too Republicans, but this is one case where it just might pay off.  There are a lot of right-wing Democrats in Pennsylvania who will vote on the abortion issue alone, and for that reason they wouldn't vote for most Dems against Santorum, but they will vote for Casey.  Casey, while the lesser of two evils, will at least provide one more vote for the Democratic caucus and remove one of the biggest extremists in DC from office.  

If Michelman runs as a third party candidate, she will have no chance of accomplishing anything other than splitting the anti-Santorum vote.  She'll never attract enough Democratic votes to win, no matter how poorly Casey runs - there just aren't enough pro-choicers in Pennsylvania, at least not who will vote on that issue alone.  Some will hold their noses and vote for Casey because he's the establishment candidate, and I'm sure a lot of Republican women in suburban Philadelphia will vote for Santorum because they want tax cuts and are confident that abortion will never be outlawed across the river in New Jersey.  

Not only does Michelman not have a big enough base to have any hope of winning even if she were a decent candidate, she'd also make a terrible candidate.  She's arrogant and effete and probably both unable and unwilling to exude the plain-folks appeal you'd need to win in a mostly blue-collar state like Pennsylvania.  And yes, I do speak from personal experience.  I had occasion to talk to her on the phone once when I was working for a pollster in DC whom she often worked with.  Her car-phone wasn't working right, and she called our office from it twice but I couldn't hear anything at my end.  The third time, she had her assistant call from her office and, when she successfully got through to me, demanded to know what was wrong with our phone.  She was absolutely adamant that the technical problem must have been at our end, even though we'd had no other problems with any other callers and she'd only gotten through successfully via another phone.  Yeah, that attitude would really go over well in Altoona.

Don't do it, Kate.  Please.

Tags: abortion, Bob Casey, PA-Sen, Rick Santorum (all tags)



Re: Michelman for Senate in PA? Please, no!
It sounds mostly like nosie to me. The fiiling deadline is on Tuesday, and the requirements are not easy. If she is really going to do this, she better step up.

However, as a threat, I think it works fine.
by Chris Bowers 2006-03-02 10:46AM | 0 recs
Re: Michelman for Senate in PA? Please, no!

She's also considering running as an independent, which is Santorum's last best hope for victory other than Bob Casey choking on a ham sandwich.

by PantherDem 2006-03-02 11:31AM | 0 recs
Re: Michelman for Senate in PA? Please, no!

The filing deadline to run as an Indy isn't until 8/1.

by blogswarm 2006-03-02 11:50AM | 0 recs
Re: Michelman for Senate in PA? Please, no!

A quick question Dave - if a challenger is above 50 in the polls and consistently leads his incumbent opponent by more than 10 points, is that a sign that he's running a terrible camopaign and the voters just haven't figured it out, or that he's running a good campaign and that you haven't figured it out?

by PantherDem 2006-03-02 11:42AM | 0 recs
Re: Michelman for Senate in PA? Please, no!
Ignoring the snarky tone of your question, I'll concede that it is a pretty good question.  My answer is that it's probably the former - he's running a terrible campaign and the voters just haven't figured it out.  The exact same thing happened with this same seat in 1991, when Richard Thornburgh started out miles ahead of Harris Wofford and then ended up losing by 14 points.  
Quite a few very successful politicians can point to elections where they started farther behind in the polls than Santorum is now, and won because the opponent made some big mistakes.  That list includes Bill Frist, Chuck Hagel, Bill Clinton, Russ Feingold, Tim Kaine...and Rick Santorum, in his first House run in 1990.  I certainly hope Casey doesn't give Santorum another entry on that list, but I could see it happening.
by RamblinDave 2006-03-02 12:52PM | 0 recs
Re: Michelman for Senate in PA? Please, no!

I hear this kind of thought expressed quite often, and it's really pretty naive. Candidates rarely (albeit sometimes) lose because of big fat "mistakes," tactical or otherwise, although it's often comforting and easy to think that way. Politics is not a matter of simply avoiding screw-ups. Quite the opposite. If that were the case then candidates who played it safe would win all the time, and I think we've discovered that isn't true. Nine times out of ten, campaigns are won or lost by virtue of whether the candidate's persona -- his personality, background, and especially image -- match the snapshot mood of the small sliver of voters that swing (either swing between parties or between voting and non-voting) that year. For the most part, unless you're trying to create an image for yourself that is obviously not genuine and doesn't fit (which WOULD be the kind of mistake that could lose you a campaign) these things are not that fragile. They don't break that easily. And voters easily, even eagerly, forgive campaign "mistakes" all the time. See under "Bush, G.W." The painful fact is, strategy and tactics aren't everything. In fact the best strategy is almost always to get out of the way of the candidate.

Many times, people who say that candidates are running "terrible campaigns" are just professional or semi-professional politicos mad because they're not in the inner circle of that candidate. I'm not saying this is the case with you, Dave, I'm just saying it often is. Lord knows it was true of most of the Kerry-blamers after the 04 debacle. For God's sake, let the man win. He's way up, there's no clouds on the horizon I can see. He's over 50. He seems to match the electorate very well, and his image is solid. He's fine.

by ColoDem 2006-03-02 01:11PM | 0 recs
weren't those all challengers

A challenger may start off way behind then build up as he/she gets better known. The people know Santorum and evidently don't like him. Of course, they could decide they don't like Casey either, but I don't think the situation is really analogous.

by liberal atheist 2006-03-02 05:21PM | 0 recs
Re: Michelman for Senate in PA? Please, no!

Putting Casey in charge insures many prochioce dems won't vote at all.  I would vote for Pennachio in the primary then I am out. I don't want to reward the right wing dems, and I think the advantage we get from having control of the committees is overblown by partisans like Kos.

by Dameocrat 2006-03-02 12:03PM | 0 recs
Re: Michelman for Senate in PA? Please, no!

Umm ... not to state the obvious, but even if you believe that protecting choice is THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IN POLITICS, you would (or should, if you were thinking straight) be out on a street corner today campaigning for Casey. A Casey win plus a couple others equals a pro-choice majority on the Judiciary Committee equals no anti-choice Supreme Court justices. Period. Also no anti-choice federal laws, period.

Exactly what part of this don't you understand?

Or is it really all about you? Do you place your distaste at working for an anti-choice politician above your desire to protect choice itself?

by ColoDem 2006-03-02 01:16PM | 0 recs
Re: Michelman for Senate in PA? Please, no!

Judge Scalia was put on the court by a majority Dem congress.

by Dameocrat 2006-03-03 02:14AM | 0 recs
Re: Michelman for Senate in PA? Please, no!

Please read ColoDem's post and then hit yourself on the head.  

Then, please go buy yourself an ice cream sandwich or something because you feel so sorry for yourself.

by Eric11 2006-03-02 04:00PM | 0 recs
Re: Michelman for Senate in PA? Please, no!

Right now their are 46 Pro Choice Senators.
45 Democratic Senators minus 3 Pro Life Democratic Senators- Harry Reid(NV),Ben Nelson(NE),and Mark Pryor(AR). 42 plus 4 Pro Choice Republican Senators-The two Maine Senators(Snowe and Collins),Specter(PA),and Chafee(RI).

NARAL and Kate Michelman must realize that a Democratic Controlled Senate will represent a pro choice agenda. Democrats need to pick up 6 Seats in the US Senate.
2)Rhode Island

Republican Senators for Pennsylvania-Santorum,Montana-Burns,Ohio -DeWine,Missouri-Talent,and Tennesee-Frist,are pro life- Burns(MT),DeWine(OH),Talent(MO)and Frist(TN)will be replaced by a pro choice Democrat-
MT-John Morrison or Jon Tester
OH-Sherrod Brown
MO-Claire McCaskill
TN-Harold Ford Jr.

PA- Bob Casey Jr- a pro life Democrat will replace a pro life Republican
RI- Lincoln Chafee- a pro choice Republican will be replaced by Sheldon Whitehouse or Matt Brown-pro choice Democrats.

Democrats will have majority of seats in the US Senate and Their will be 50 pro choice Senators. We can convince Harry Reid to support Pro Choice causes.

NARAL and Kate Michelman should ignore Bob Casey Jr and focus their attention on helping Democrats win Senate Races in Montana,Ohio,Missouri,and Tennessee and help Steven Laffey defeat Lincoln Chafee in the Republican Primary Race for Rhode Island US Senate seat.

by CMBurns 2006-03-02 01:25PM | 0 recs
Catholics and PA

PA has more Catholics than any other state in the country.  Casey is perfectly in tune with those voters than most dems as he is more conservative on abortion but more progressive on financial issues.  If Casey was pro-choice, he would be considered one of the most progressive candidates in 2006.  It's a shame we have so many single issue voters who fail to see the big picture.

by jkfp2004 2006-03-02 02:11PM | 0 recs


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