End of the Specter Era

Member Group : Lincoln Institute

What do you do if you are a political junkie in Pennsylvania since October of ’08 when McCain/Palin had pretty much imploded? You ‘jones’ out. For those who may not understand the verb ‘jones’, to ‘jones’ out is when a junkie needs a fix and politically there hasn’t been one, in awhile, in this state, for those of us so addicted.

Last Tuesday’s victory of Congressman Joe Sestak over Pennsylvania’s Senior Senator of nearly 30 years is bringing on the race of the new millennium in this state. Since I happen to be well acquainted with both candidates I can’t wait. Joe Sestak is my hometown Congressman and Pat Toomey was associated with the Lincoln Institute of Public Opinion Research during his tenure with the Club for Growth.

Sestak ran an amazing campaign using the Lowman Henry adage: "run somebody who stands for something, against somebody who stands for nothing and something will generally win." Running a marathon race, rather than a sprint, Sestak held his money back until the end of the campaign then pummeled Specter with an ad that featured George W. Bush praising Specter with Rick Santorum holding his arm in the air in a victory embrace, closing with footage of Specter drawling: "I switched to the Democratic Party to get re-elected." Tag line: "Arlen Specter cares about one job: his." A brilliant media master stroke.

However Sestak is an Obama liberal, tried and true, and that is going to be a rough road to hoe this year. Personally I suspect the Sestak allegation that the Obama administration tried to offer him a high level job to get out of the race is true. It didn’t work. However now that the primary is over does Sestak’s victory free up the formidable fund raising prowess of his former boss, Bill Clinton? I would not be surprised to see more of Bill Clinton in Pennsylvania this Fall then we see of Governor Rendell.

On the other side is one formidable candidate. The guy, who just by considering running for the Senate scared Specter into becoming a Democrat.

Former Congressman Pat Toomey’s fiscally conservative credentials are red hot. He came within 2 points of knocking off Specter in the 2004 Republican Primary. At a time when the administration’s red ink threatens to have our country auctioned off to Red China, unemployment remains high and stagnant, and the answer to every incident is to create new regulations, departments and red tape, Toomey’s approach to the Federal Government is going to be water-in-the-desert to a very thirsty electorate.

Somedays you just get lucky. For Pennsylvanians, it’s a chance to pick the future political path of this country. Two guys who stand for some things are running for Senate in Pennsylvania. For us junkies, our ‘jones’ will be sated and whatever the outcome gear up for 2012.

Albert Paschall is Senior Fellow at the Lincoln Institute of Public Opinion Research a non profit educational foundation with offices in Harrisburg and King Of Prussia. Somedays is syndicated to leading newspapers and radio stations in Pennsylvania. [email protected] (717) 671-0776
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Lincoln Institute of Public Opinion Research, Inc.
Albert Paschall
Senior Fellow

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