Monday, April 18, 2005

One defining issue?

There's more to Bob Casey than his position on abortion, but to read the coverage -- from both friends and foes -- you'd hardly know it. His being prolife is unlikely to win him any Santorum backers (other than those put off by the latter's extremism on all topics) and it's creating all kinds of rifts within the Democratic party, including efforts by Barbara Hafer to cut off funding to the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee (for the sin of recruiting Casey), attacks by other women's groups who feel snubbed by the party, and mutterings among voters who feel they're being given a "lesser of two evils" option again.

Babette Josephs, a rare progressive State Rep. from the Philadelphia region, has spoken in support of Casey, citing past encounters around supporting women's shelters, labor rights, and other old-fashioned liberal causes, as well as his work to fund daycare and maintain access to contraception, even when then-Governor Ridge's policies made such things difficult. She also said that he intends to have no abortion-related litmus test for judges, being more focused on finding "folks who aren't interested in repealing the entire New Deal."

I hope that in the course of the next year and a half, we can in some degree get past coverage that focuses on the Democratic party's internal wranglings about the (never-to-be-settled) abortion question and can hear about some of the other issues facing potential Senators. Further, I hope that Casey can develop some proactive positions that will give voters something to vote for rather than just against. Remember that Casey only announced a few weeks ago; there must be time to learn more.


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