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Casey- “No Things to All People” April 15, 2006

Posted by papundit in Uncategorized.
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“Will the real Bob Casey please speak up?”- that’s the request of Pittsburgh Post-Gazette columnist Sally Kalson who is concerned Casey can’t win by being “no things to all people.” After observing that Casey’s campaign consists of pointing out that he’s not Rick Santorum, Kalson writes that “the Santorum camp has been trying to goad him into saying what he is.”

Based on numerous comments in her column, it’s clear that Kalson is not a Santorum fan. This makes her advice for Casey to speak up even more pertinent. It is telling that many Democrats are already disillusioned with Casey, who is not even the official candidate yet. While Pennacchio and Sandals, who is backed by feminist groups, are unlikely to win the primary, Casey (the presumptive nominee) has yet to excite the Democratic base. After remarking that “ducking the issues won’t work,” Kalson poses several questions:

“How nuanced is his stance on reproductive rights, for example? Some politicians are personally opposed to abortion but won’t inflict those beliefs on others. If that’s not the case for him, what happens if the next president nominates a Supreme Court candidate thought to be “pro-choice”? Would that influence Mr. Casey’s vote either way?

Does his definition of ‘pro-life’ include support for prevention measures like birth control and the morning-after pill? What about teaching real sexual education in the schools, as opposed to the abstinence-only measures that studies show to be ineffective? How about federal funding for clinics that provide pap smears, breast exams and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases? Would he cut off that money if a clinic made abortion referrals?

Would Mr. Casey vote to restore funding for the United Nations Population Fund that Bush and the Republican congress have blocked over baseless charges that the fund backs forced abortions in China? The fund builds and equips maternity clinics in the world’s poorest countries, trains midwives and reduces deaths from preventable disease. Is that a mission he can wholeheartedly support?….

What’s his take on President Bush’s faith-based initiative funneling millions of dollars to religious groups? Or the intelligent design subterfuge that seeks to insert religion into science classes in the public schools? Or warrantless wiretaps and indefinite incarceration of detainees without charges or legal counsel? Or outsourcing torture and censoring photos of soldiers returning home from Iraq in coffins?

And we haven’t even gotten to the Iraq war. Or the health insurance industry’s unconscionable profits, which must rival global outsourcing as a cause of worker layoffs and cutbacks. Or meaningful reform of lobbying regulations.”

I wasn’t able to find these answers on Casey’s campaign website. In fact, the Santorum campaign and Kalson aren’t the only people asking tough questions. Even committed Democratic activists are disturbed by the lack of clarity from Casey.

A google search on Casey+position brings up the following entry “Santorum is better than Casey for Democrats” on MyDD, a liberal blog by Gary Boatright:

“I would appreciate it if someone could explain exactly why any Democrat should support Bob Casey over Rick Santorum. Let’s look at the record. To the best of my knowledge and for all practical purposes, both Casey and Santorum are essentially identical on the following issues:

Iraq
Abortion
Gay rights
Alito and Bush judicial picks
Wireless Wiretapping
Renewal of The Patriot Act”

The post concluded:

“Casey will do far more harm than good if the voters of Pennsylvania are stupid enough to send him to the Senate. We are better off with an openly Republican Senator than another Republican lite Lieberman doppelganger who will simply undermine Democratic positions and in all likelihood be critical of Howard Dean and liberal Democrats.”

Given that Casey isn’t on record on these issues, it is understandable that other site readers did not agree with Gary’s conclusions. One wrote:

“Abortion: Again, how many votes do you think we’ll see on this issue? How many Pennsylvanians are concerned about it? Schumer and Reid have assured DC Dems that Casey is comfortable with the party’s position on choice, and won’t be picking fights with the leadership.

Gay rights: Santorum is arguably the most anti-gay person in the Senate. He will probably pick up the anti-gay marriage banner later this year. Casey, while opposed to marriage (like many Dems, unfortunately) is more supportive of equality than Santorum. Unlike Santorum, he wants companies to extend benefits to domestic partnerships, and he doesn’t have a problem with gay couples adopting.

Judges: Casey has had to position himself on Alito because of his dad and because of Santorum’s love of social issues. He’s assured Schumer and Reid that he’ll be comfortable voting with them on judicial appointments, and I don’t think we’ll see him on the Judiciary Committee. He’s more likely to vote down a right-wing judge than Santorum is.”

So…let me see if I can understand the logic here. Democrats are supposed to vote for Casey because he supposedly assured the DC Dems that he will toe the party line on abortion on judges? But social conservatives also should vote for Casey because he supposedly has the same position as Santorum on Iraq/abortion/gayrights? Well..,which is the truth? Casey can’t have it both ways. He is forcing his supporters, who admit they are “just extrapolating” some of his positions, to grasp at straws in order to justify why they are voting for him. His supporters’ claims that Casey reassured the DC Dems that he will consistently vote with Schumer and Reid should make moderates and conservatives nervous.

Casey could fix this problem by going on the record and clearly answering the questions posed by Kalson and his own supporters on MyDD, one of who observed that “Casey could make things a whole lot easier if he had listed more than five issues on his issue page.”

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