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November 9, 2006
The REAL Bob Casey
I know he is being called "Senator Nothing," but the Bob Casey that beat Rick Santorum was Something in Pennsylvania. I heard Rush Limbaugh say that the aging population in PA was one of the main reasons. I won't go into detail, but it was about near term benefits to the elderly vs. long term goals for the country.
That's an interesting theory, but it's just a theory. In fact, it's a very thoughtful one. But I have another reason for the Santorum defeat.
If you have not lived in PA for the past 30 years (I am a Pittsburgh born, bred, educated and employed citizen of 51 years), you don't know the REAL Bob Casey. I am not talking about Sentator Nothing. I speak of his father.
This man as immensely popular it the state. He as so popular that others with the same name were elected to public office in PA. If you don't believe me just check out Wikipedia.
The post of Auditor General is a very visible one in PA. The Auditor General gets more press and is able to state his/her position on financial matters. In fact, they get more air time than the Attorney General since their audits can force legal action and even investigations. Senator Nothing and his father, the REAL Bob Casey, held the post and ran for Governor while in office.
Bob Casey, Sr. was an unabashed pro—life, pro—death penalty, likable man who was the son of a working man in the coal region of PA. He publicly stated his positions and stuck by them. There was not a hint of scandal in his personal life. Like Reagan, he used his previous defeats in the gubernatorial races to build on. When he ran against Ed Rendell in the primary, he easily beat him with his honesty and character.
Reagan could not beat Gerald Ford for the nomination, but he had no problem with Jimmy Carter in the election of 1980. The Republican party of
But running against Rick Santorum, Senator Nothing had the Casey name going for him against a man whose popularity always mirrored that of George Bush. In the years before this last election, Casey easily won election for Auditor General, largely because of his name and his father's reputation. (His campaign ads stand as evidence: Dad was prominently featured).
Rick Santorum was a strong national candidate. As long as he was visible on the national stage and things were going well for Bush, he was fine. But if you ask Pennsylvanians what Rick Santorum meant to them on a state—wide basis, they could not tell you. This is where Casey struck. He portrayed himself as PA's version of Robert Byrd.
The economy is strong in PA, as it is in most states, thanks largely to Bush and the tax cuts. Rendell personally hands out checks with his name on it like Santa Claus at an orphanage. A grant here, a loan there, a donation from "the Commonwealth" for a playground... it all looks good. This is what Pennsylvanians saw on Nov. 7th.
Santorum was painted as a Washingtonian, out of touch with Pennsylvanians.
I don't know if Senator Nothing will ever amount to Mr. Something. I'm betting he keeps a low profile and just hopes Hillary wins in 2008. Then if things go well, he'll win a second term. His pro—life stance helps him in PA. Let's see if he has the guts that Dad had when it was time for the Democratic convention.
Tom Panian 11 9 06