Sunday, December 18, 2005

A Democratic Choice for Senator

The Democratic primary for Senator is going to be interesting. It seems a foregone conclusion that Robert Casey, Jr. will win, but there are two other candidates. Chuck Pennacchio and Alan Sandals are also in the running, with considerably less name recognition and a lot less money.

Even so, it is difficult for a lot of Democrats to get all that excited about Casey. There are two particular sticking points on this -- abortion and gun control, those staples of freshman composition papers for the last twenty years. Contrary to most Democratic candidates, Casey opposes federal funding for abortions. He believes life begins at conception and must be protected. He would avoid a litmus test for judicial nominees. He would not require pharmacists to go against personal beilefs and fill prescriptions for emergency contraception. He says "Someone who's pro-life does have a corresponding obligation to help the mother and child after birth," Casey said, "Too often the issue has been framed in a more limited way." No mention of the father here. Interesting. He believes Roe v. Wade should be overturned. The sources for this information are the Inquirer articles listed at the bottom of this post. His web site provides no real information on his stance of this or other issues.

Pennacchio believes that abortion should be safe, legal and rare (where have I heard that before?). His web site goes on to say "He believes that a woman's right to have control over her reproductive choice is inviolate, and as our Senator, he will stand up to protect this fundamental Constitutional guarantee."

Alan Sandals and his campaign have crafted what I think is the most well-written and uncontroversial statement I have ever seen. Instead of taking reproductive rights as a separate issue they have carefully woven it into a statement on personal privacy and choice. He sums it up this way on his web site "Let's face it. Our personal lives are hard enough as it is. We don't need politicians butting in to tell us how to make the most difficult decisions that we wrestle with as adults. With our faith, family and friends as our guides, we can find our own way. We always have and we always will." If anyone has said it any better than that, I haven't seen it.

Sources: candidates' web sites (linked in posting); Inquirer articles: Budoff, Carrie, "Casey's clear view on abortion could muddy campaign waters," 12/18/05, p. B3; Budoff, Carie, "Unlikely allies are sizing up Casey -- His antiabortion stance keeps Democratic donors at bay, 7/03/05, p. B1; Budoff, Carrie and Thomas Fitzgerald, "Senate candidate is a minority among Decmorats -- Casey walks line between views on abortion and party support," 4/18/05, p. B1


Anonymous said...

I have met and listened to Alan Sandals. I think he is exactly what we need in the politcal world. A new face, new blood, not the same old, same old, a person who is not afraid of the upsetting the politcal system, more intereseted in making a difference in the quality of life bringing back the dignity, grace and sensibility that seems to have been lost in politicians.

Anonymous said...

Call me AnonTwo,

I'm registered in so many places I thought I would be anonymous here, but someone already used that id ;)

The PA Democratic primary will certainly be interesting, especially for the Senate seat.

The primary goal is to replace Santorum. Or is it?

Isn't the primary goal to elect the best representation to the legislative bodies of our government? So, we have to decide who that is. I know it's not Santorum, and I'm fairly certain it's not Casey. So that leaves the other Republican (name?) or one of the two Democratic candidates.

Given the corruption of the current crop of Republicans, it would be a long shot for me to support any Republican in the near future. So that boils it down a little further.

Pennacchio seems like a bright guy and he's run a few successful campaigns. Chuck has all the right words and positions on the issues - he should, he ran successful campaigns. Unfortunately, those campaigns were out west. He hasn't spent much time in his native PA. Had he stuck around here, I would be more impressed with him. That boils it down as far as it can get.

Alan Sandals seems a bit more like a real person, with ideas of his own. He isn't a politician, but will make a great legislator in the Senate. His work history shows that he is "for the people" and against the abuse of power.

Visit his site to read more about Alan and his campaign:

Let him tell you in his own words what he wants to accomplish as your Senator.


LVDem said...

There are many Democrats across the state that agree with Casey on abortion. I happen to be one of them, but that's not why I support him. I think he brings the demeanor and intelligence necessary to be an effective senator. He may not bring the greatest people skills, but he understands PA and I honestly believe he holds PA's best interests at heart.

My concern is the constant drumming of abortion as the defining issue to be a Democrat. Am I any less of a Democrat b/c I am pro-life, bearing in mind that I am amongst the most progressive people on just about any other issue? Abortion being a defining issue for any party in mind is short-sited. Heck, I supported Ed Rendell in the 2002 primar and he's pro-choice.

All of that being said, I think Alan and Chuck have a place in politics. I just think it is very arrogant of both men, having never held elected or public office in PA, to decide that they should be our senator. I know there is something to be said about citizen legislators (but a lawyer and a professor can hardly claim to be "common men"). However, I want somebody with the political experience to carry their convictions through to the end of the day.

AboveAvgJane said...

I posted a comment earlier but Blogger ate it or I hit the wrong button; it never has shown up so I'll try to reconstruct.

To the best of my memory I've never said anything on my blog about my stance on abortion and I chose my words carefully when discussing Casey's position. It may sound choppy but what is said in that paragraph is what I found in the papers, no more no less.

It is good for an elected official, for everyone, to have a stance on many of the social issues we wrestle with as a country. Where I have qualms is when they try to legislate those feelings. It is also difficult for me to think that they will limit that imposition to just one issue.

All of the times I was pregnant I was 35 or older and there is a push for women in that age group to have an amnio done, especially if there is any indication from other tests that there might be an irregularity with the baby. Mr. Jane and I, after a lot of research and discussion, declined to do so. We felt we were in a position to handle any irregularity better than a lot of other people who found themselves in a similar situation (stable jobs, a little nestegg, etc.). We were given a hard time about this. With one pregnancy there was such an indication and I had to verbally acknowledge at each and every prenatal visit thereafter that I knowingly declined advanced testing. Each and every single time. Turns out everything was fine, for which I am very grateful.

Suppose some senator decides that because the technology exists to detect some irregularities every expectant mother should have an amnio. If I, as a women of sound mind, in concert with my spouse of many years, decide I don't want to have that test done, should I be forced to? Likewise, I don't want to say someone can't have it done, or can't take further steps if they so choose.

Why should a pharmacist decide what prescriptions they fill and which ones they don't? Scientologists don't like psychiatry (as Tom Cruise let us all know earlier this year). Should a scientologist pharmacist be able to say he or she won't fill any prescription for anti-depressants, ritalin, lithium or a host of other medications? What if a pharmacist belongs to a religion that decides it is better for the elderly to go gracefully into that good night, and refuses someone's heart pills? Someone whose religion cherishes celibacy could refuse to fill Viagra prescriptions.

I don't want the government or any of its representatives in the room with me when I am discussing my health and treatment possibilities with my doctor, or watching over my shoulder at the bedside of a terminally ill relative, or counting how many servings of vegetables my kids get at any given meal.

There are reasons why we have a line between church and state. If you look at the Ten Commandments, very few are illegal and many are not legislatible at all. I want someone at my church to pull me aside and talk to me if they think I am behaving badly, to tell me if they think I am stepping outside the convenant of my faith, but I don't want everyone to have to follow that same convenant, nor do I want to have to follow theirs.

If Mr. Casey would state his faith and beliefs and then say that while he holds them dearly in his heart, he would not impose them on the people of Pennsylvania I would have a much easier time supporting him. But he isn't and I am.

So I salute your beliefs, LVDem, and encourage you to continue with them, I don't want you to say that everyone has to follow them. There is room for disagreement in the party and there probably should be disagreement in the party or we won't be able to grow and develop as all living organisms must do.

I, for one, think all bloggers, even anonymous ones, should have an email listed somewhere for people to contact them for private discussions so not everything must be discussed in public, but far be it from me to force that belief on others. ;)

LVDem said...

I have posted my email address in many other forums but realize that I may not have posted it here. I will also look into a way for that to be posted on my blog. I receive fairly regular communications from a good number of folks daily, though I appear to have made an oversite here. Chalk that up to a "my bad." Regardless, I will engage in public dialogue b/c I am looking to better develop my core beliefs and perhaps others in the process.

Glad to hear your conviction on abortion rights. Understand that my statements on abortion are my beliefs, but too often I feel that within our party, I am given second tier status b/c I happen to disagree on a very personal matter. Whenever I hear opposition expressed to Casey, the first issue raised is abortion. If we are going to use that issue to disqualify our standard bearers, I fear our party is going down a bad road.

Never hestitate to email me.

AboveAvgJane said...

A clarification -- anonymous comments are always welcome. LVDem has his own blog and I was trying to weasle an email out of him in particular. Everyone else can keep their cloaking devices on. ;)