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    The Keystone State

    I lost sight of this a few weeks ago without posting about it, but the Casey senatorial campaign is getting into gear in my home state (via Gay News):

    In a Senate race that is looking to be the most closely watched and most expensive showdown in the nation, Pennsylvania State Treasurer Robert P. Casey Jr. is looking to win the gay vote.

    Casey, who said he is gearing for nine more months of hard campaigning, will introduce himself to the region’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community Feb. 18 at the Human Rights Campaign Philadelphia Region Steering Committee’s annual gala.

    If he gets on the Democratic ticket, Casey is running, of course, against Rick Santorum, one of the least gay-friendly major politicians in America. (And yes, I know he has a gay communications director. I’m speaking in terms of ideas and policies.)

    Already he has the backing of the Human Rights Campaign, the country’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender advocacy organization; HRC’s political action committee endorsed Casey in October.

    Ken Oakes, chair of the HRC Philadelphia Region Steering Committee, said an early endorsement like this is quite rare, but warranted.

    “They [HRC] believe, and we agree, this is the race of the nation,” Oakes said. “Whatever happens here with Rick Santorum and Bob Casey is really a bellwether for the nation.”

    Casey supports civil unions and domestic partner benefits, but stops short of supporting marriage equality.

    But, compared to Santorum — who has equated gay sex with bestiality, and said there is nothing wrong with intolerance — Oakes said Casey is a fair-minded candidate with a proven record of respecting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals and working on their behalf.

    Many members of the sexual and gender minority communities probably cannot understand HRC’s endorsement of Casey, Oakes said.

    The HRC’s early commitment in this case is a much more sensible unusual move than its idiotic endorsement of Joseph Whowasthatagain against gay-friendly (and very powerful) senior Senator Arlen Specter two years ago. Of course, the fact that Casey is a Democrat means everything falls cleanly along pre-conceived party lines this time, thus sparing most people involved from asking uncomfortable questions about, you know, principles and stuff.

    Of course, as the PGN notes, this year’s race is, for a lot of gay voters, as much about giving Santorum the heave as it is about getting a friendly candidate elected. Suppose you’re a gay Pennsylvanian who occasionally thinks about the economy, or education, or the WOT? The Casey campaign’s website is still on the thin side, but here‘s its issues page:

    Bob Casey is running for the U.S. Senate because he wants to help bring change to Washington.

    ZZZZZZZZ…wha? Oh, sorry.

    As your Senator, Bob Casey will fight to put the needs and concerns of Pennsylvania’s middle-class families first.

    Bob Casey has stood up for our seniors as Auditor General and successfully fought to improve the Health Department’s response to complaints about life-threatening abuse and neglect in nursing homes. He will continue to fight for our seniors in Washington.

    Bob Casey has led the fight to improve the quality of child care in Pennsylvania and make it more affordable for low-income working mothers. And his performance audits helped save money for our schools. He will continue to fight for our children and for public education as a U.S. Senator.

    Bob Casey also successfully fought to protect children from sex offenders. His investigation into compliance with Pennsylvania’s Megan’s Law led to passage of tough new legislation in 2004 that requires information about all convicted sex offenders to be posted on the Internet. In Washington, Bob Casey will continue to protect our children and to give law enforcement the tools they need to fight crime.

    So he likes the usual array of entitlements–not surprising, if you’re worried about such trivialities as whether you can get elected. Casting himself as an opponent of excessive spending–using his work as auditor general and state treasurer to give the image dimension–while supporting all the spending programs that are dear to the middle class is a good strategy. (He also wants you to sign a petition to save–of all things–Amtrak. Some fiscal watchdogging there, eh?)

    So I’m not sure, at this early date, what change Casey will be bringing to Washington, besides the fact that there would be one senator fewer from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania who doesn’t go to gay advocacy fundraisers.

    Casey’s Democratic rivals, perhaps because they recognize that they have a lot less name recognition than the son of a former governor, have much more fleshed-out policy pages. Assuming gay issues are your first priority, Chuck Pennacchio clearly supports civil unions and appears–though the relevant paragraph understandably kind of hedges–to support gay marriage. He also likes the assault weapons ban, calls the Iraq invasion “reckless and deceptive” in origin, wants all campaigns for federal office to be publicly funded, and (as if you couldn’t guess) thinks we’re not dumping enough tax money into the public school system and Medicare. Alan Sandals has his soundbites in handy chart form. He supports gay marriage and thinks we should begin withdrawing from Iraq. Otherwise, the same: more money for senior citizens, end the K Street Project as one in the eye for Santorum and the GOP.

    3 Responses to “The Keystone State”

    1. submandave says:

      I’m no particular fan of Sen. Santorum, but I don’t think the assertion made that he “has equated gay sex with bestiality” is exactly accurate. As I remember the issue, he was comparing the recognition of same-sex marriage with the recognition of other non-traditional (in America) marriage arrangements, including polygamy and marrying animals. I may be mistaken (you probably follow such issues closer than I), but I have a particularly difficult time with anyone who misrepresents an opponent’s words or meaning to bolster their position, and it seems that this tactic is employed a bit too often by those advocating strongest for gay rights (e.g. the “Sponge Bob is Gay” quote that never happened).

      (Upon proof-reading, it seems one might get the impression that I think you are misrepresenting the Senator’s words. Quite the contrary, I realize the quote I lifted was from the referenced article and any misrepresentation is the responsibility of the author).

    2. Sean Kinsell says:

      Sorry. I’m perfectly willing to defend arguments against homosexuality as not being inherently bigoted, but if Santorum is going to make ridiculous statements of the marriage-isn’t-man-on-dog variety, as if they made any worthwhile point whatever, then clarifying what he thought he was getting across is his problem. If, in the context of theology, he wants to say that all sex outside marriage is forbidden and therefore that all such sexual activity is equivalent, then so be it. But in terms of the way things function in free societies, contracts are between two people who know what they’re getting into. Whether you agree that the legal definition of marriage should be expanded or not, the analogy with bestiality doesn’t illuminate anything about anything.

    3. Sean Kinsell says:

      Oh, and, BTW, since the comment sunset has passed and I’m too lazy to go in and update it:

      Your idea about siccing all the criminals on each other in just one district probably wouldn’t fix things, but the resulting knock-down-drag-out fights might at least be interesting. Kabuki-cho is one of those places like Roppongi for me–I make the occasional trip to a Korean BBQ place or what have you, sure; but the very idea of actually going there for the nightlife makes me need a shower.

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