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Thursday, August 11, 2005

Priorities

Carrying forward from a comment from Holly (Hi!) in a previous thread,
Holly said...

I don't know what's going on in your township, but it had better be big. This is, after all, the man who has claimed that "homosexual sex can not be consensual." Casey is the first Dem. to have a reasonable chance to beat this guy. It is hugely ironic that Santorum is in the same position as Wofford when Santorum beat him. That is, tied to the unpopular policies of a divisive president.

In my township, I'm very involved in the campaign of a local candidate. While I have no doubt that the 2006 election will be important statewide, I'm really focused on November 2005.

Here's one little sample of why I think it's important: Our local Republicans have about a 2.5-to-1 registration advantage in the Township, thanks to machine politics at work. (Yeah, I know it runs the other way in Philly.) Of the seven seats on the council, five are currently held by the R's. But only two of them were elected. One of the appointees got his seat after a Dem. switched parties after his election. Then a little while later, he left his seat, allowing the local chiefs to pick his successor.

Basically, there's barely a functioning democracy in my municipality. And yeah, that's kinda important. I'm sure to be writing more on this as the season moves forward.

But if we must talk about Santorum, I actually don't think his liability is his connection to the failed politics of a growingly unpopular president. That doesn't help him, of course. But only in my pipe dreams do I think that Bush is on the verge of causing a massive political realignment away from his party. If we're lucky, 2004 was the high-water mark for the Red Tide, and there will be a slow push back to moderation.

No, I think that Santorum's problems are really of his own making.

4 Comments:

Anonymous Holly said...

You are right, a barely functioning democratic government is important. But after a lot of work in local Republican politics, I know how little actually gets done at the township level. School board elections are really important right now. (With all of these nutty I.D. devotees). County government has a lot of importance, they provide a lot of valuable social services that R's want to cut. But R's only use township posts to groom people for higher offices. They get a feel for how loyal that person is to the local machine. Whether their ethics prevent them from giving patronage jobs away to the "proper" people. And, of course, whether they favor environmental and smart growth policies or businesses. It's a testing ground at best. Keep in mind, I was at the upper level of the R machine in the biggest township in Central PA. I don't know what D's use these posts for, I haven't been one in so long. There are undeniably important issues at the local level. But keep in mind, I was able to fully integrate myself in local R politics, despite my aversion to the death penalty, my support for gay marriage, my lack of Pro-life credibility (I wouldn't go to any of those functions, which made me a bit radioactive--although no Pro-Choicer would call me Pro-Choice either) My bosses knew all of this about me and still gave me important work. This is because they knew those issues wouldn't come up in the township or even at the county level. They probably won't come up in yours either.
I had to draw my ethical lines in state legislative races. I was as careful as I could be with whom I helped from that level on up. I wouldn't have been welcomed in the upper management there either--if I talked that is. I guess what I'm saying (and bear in mind this is from a "registered R") is that it is about priorities. I'm so against the things that Santorum is for that he has to be my priority. (Quite frankly he makes my skin crawl.) He's a jerk, in person, at R functions too.
You are right, he does make most of his own trouble. But the R's of Central PA adore him. They will be working their asses off for him. People in the non-red part of our state have to do their part or he will win re-election. I know these people, these Evangelical R's: they believe God is on their side, that they are totally right, and that D's are politically lazy. I guess I hope you D's in the East and the West don't prove them right.

11:53 AM  
Blogger EB said...

I can't believe I'm getting the lecture on my responsibilities from the sellout! You're doing a fine job of rationalizing your decisions, but you can't exactly wash your hands of complicity to the same machine that gives rise to and supports the very wackos you dislike.

2005 is not 2006. In 2005, I'm working as a campaign manager in the farm system for a great candidate, one who I hope will be representing me at higher levels down the road.

Down here, the Republicans are at least as lazy if not lazier than the Dems, if that's any reassurance. Also, the R's around here aren't nearly as ideologically driven. So many of them vote R through the county level, but split tickets at higher levels.

7:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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12:17 AM  
Anonymous Holly said...

I'm only a former sellout. I don't do the work anymore. I haven't heard from anyone in the Republican party for 2 and a half years. I did "sell out" and I take full responsiblity for it. I went to some D meetings and fully planned to be a politically active D. Then someone took me aside a real liberal democrat who worked in my office. He was a great trial lawyer, against the death penalty, who really cared about the people he defended. He was my mentor at the office. He told me that if I ran my office that I could do so much more good than spitting in the wind in Republican Central PA. He said he started out like me and then realized that we D's couldn't even fill our committee slots in the suburbs. He had became an R and did work. He helped get the only former PD (even if he was an R) elected as judge. He convinced me to get involved. I made a mistake. I sold my soul and didn't even get full value for it. I thought I was serving the greater good at the time.

It wasn't a lecture. It was a warning. I know these people very well. They are ideologically driven. They are also very personable and friendly. It was easy to be friends with them. You would have even liked many of them. They are true believers.

I don't wash my hands of what I did. Financially I agreed with a lot of what they wanted to do. (Especially since I was around to keep my office and the programs that worked with former offenders fully funded--my opinion was respected) Also keep in mind, I lost. The candidate I worked with (who would have socially scared the bejesus out of you) is fairly well done.

2005 is not 2006, but you called your post "priorities," so it was logical to assume that you meant one over the other.

If I had a blog, I guess I would have called a post about my Republican past "Pragmatism."

10:12 AM  

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