Expect lots of bloviation.
Only two really interesting races I think are Halter/Lincoln and Specter/Sestak. Halter is the clear choice in that one, but I honestly do not know who I would support in PA. I think we all know how we feel about Specter, but there is just something about Sestak I do not trust. I’m sure I will get flamed for this, but I just get the same feeling from Joe Sestak that I always got from John Edwards- there is something about him that every time I see him he looks like he is just peddling BS. I just do not trust him, and I can not describe what it is. I just get the sense he is not who he says he is. Having said that, either one is better than Toomey.
I’ll try to keep up on things, but my dad is having minor surgery on his eye today and tomorrow, so I will be attempting to keep two Jack Russell terrorists and Lily under control and expect to be pretty busy.
Also, I just noticed that my hair is now about 70% blonde and 30% gray, and my facial hair, when it comes in, is about 70% gray. Not sure when that happened, but it is yet another torpedo in a sinking ship.
Consider this an open thread until I can impose some order on the dogs.
The bloviation I’m expecting is “The Republicans put in extremist nutbags, the Dems replaced two centrists with two other centrists who poll better for the general, therefore both parties are driving people out for ideological purity.”
Sestak was a Navy guy, right? I’d take a Webb-style military guy over a twice party-switching backstabbing (think circa 2004–2006) weasel.
Call me crazy, but I cannot support a man who changed parties precisely so you’d have to support him as a two-faced beeyotch.
I’m gonna have to root for Sestak.
I heard on ABC this morning that these elections could possibly determine whether or not the Democrats retain their majorities in November.
I have not yet figured out why or how.
A Paul victory in Kentucky is supposed to portend the take over of the country by the Tea Party.
This is some kind of super-dooper Tuesday and I didn’t even know it until this morning.
My best to your dad, John. Speedy recovery.
And I can’t possibly disagree with you more on the decision between Sestak and Specter. Though I’d choose either one over the completely batshit Toomey, there is no question who a Democrat should vote for in this race. None at all. And the fact that Obama is literally flying over the state on his way to Youngstown (as close to me as Pittsburgh is) without stopping tells me that Obama knows the same thing I do. No real Dem would vote for Specter in a primary. They are stupid if they do.
Anyway, I’m pulling for Sestak enthusiastically and I like Dan Onorato for governor. I want me a Yinzer in the governor’s mansion.
It’s like Chris Rock’s comment in the Holyfield-Lennox match.
“I’m rooting for the black guy to win”.
I don’t trust either Specter or Sestak.
However, I don’t get why the Democratic operation is pouring so much money into Specter’s campaign when you know he’s going to stab them in the back in the end.
Whatever happens it’ll be all pureed on Fox as solid proof that the Republicans are back, baby! And set to take back the country in 2012.
The only reason I’m rooting for Sestak is the age factor. Spector is old and if he won it would stink to have a Republican governor appoint his replacement. That said, I have no particular animosity towards Arlen.
Specter is too f***ing old. He helps put the senility in “Senate.”
The f***ing old Senators should get out of the way. Even if he were reliable politically, there’s too much chance that he’d be in the hospital for some critically important vote.
Sounds like a good time for Tunch to make his move.
If Sestak wins, will Specter pull a Lieberman?
I notice that you didn’t bother to include Tunch in the “keeping under control” category. I’m holding good thoughts for your dad.
Hmmmm. Personally, I will always hold the Anita Hill hearing against him. He was a pig.
That said, he’s not the worst Republican ever. But he’s also not the best Democrat. He switches parties whenever it benefits Arlen. This is two party switches from him that we’ve been privy to here, so when it comes to trust there is no reason whatsoever to place any in Arlen.
I have to admit, I’m not sure I completely understand the hostility towards Edwards. Sure, his personal behavior has been scummy, but certainly doesn’t invalidate his political views. So what about him makes you think that his ideas were phony?
You are referring to Specter, right?
Can’t. PA has a sore loser law.
And that is to speak in the steel plant my grandpa worked in for something like 30 years (the old Youngstown Sheet and Tube Brier Hill Works).
Voted for Sestak this morning. I’m sure he’s tacked to the left to out-Democrat Specter, but I’m done with Arlen and I’m sure the rest of the state is as well.
@Toast, PA law doesn’t allow you to run as an independent if you lose a primary, so if Sestak wins, Specter is kaput.
Yes, Sestak gives me that feeling as well. When I saw him speak last year, I can away feeling that he is what I can only describe as smarmy. But Specter is as bad or worse and not a reliable, well, anything. If he gets re-elected, all bets are off. He’ll be back in Arlen devil-may-care mode, and will gladly stab anyone in the back, switch parties again, or whatever is convenient for him. Sestak is a pretty solid dem.
I have heard Sestak is a bastard to his staff, but provides excellent constiutuent service. I don’t know that either is true from first hand knowledge. I’d like to know that he truly intends represent his constituents, but who gets that assurance?
Sestak seems to have the ability to beat Toomey and that’s what it came down to for me. We don’t need another Santorum, or worse. I’m going with Sestak and crossing my fingers.
I know that politics is a bit more complicated than this, but if Rand Paul is anything like his dad, shouldn’t the campaign ads simply write themselves? I’m not saying we need to pretend Paul will murder seniors, but if he’s going to do something like support the end of Social Security, wouldn’t those on it be just a little less likely to vote for him?
I don’t really get why anyone cares about any of the primaries today myself.
I voted for Sestak. He has a very good voting record as a member of the House.
I lived in his district for a couple of years (now my Rep. is Patrick Murphy), and he never did anything to trouble me. Arlen Specter is an opportunist, and despite being a member of the tribe, I could not support him. Sadly, this might reduce Jewish representation in the US Senate from 13 to 12 (or 12.5, if you count Tom Udall, who raises his kids Jewish, and is a member of a synagogue), but still comfortably above the level required for a minyan.
“One of the biggest ironies of tomorrow’s vote is that the worse the Democratic establishment does, the better will be their prospects in November. Both Sestak and Halter are polling better than the incumbents against Republican challengers. In Kentucky, Lt. Governor Dan Mongiardo polls weaker than the insurgent Jack Conway. In short, President Obama has every reason to hope that the candidates he’s endorsed will lose.”
I’m not convinced that ‘smarmy’ is a bad thing in a politician–long as he smarms toward shared goals, that’s fine with me.
I still haven’t decided whether I’ll pull the lever for Sestak or Specter today. I’m leaning toward Specter because A.) I want a senator with seniority representing me, and B.) if Specter loses, his party-switching will be viewed as a mistake, and I would rather see more moderate republicans defect. I like Sestak better, and I’m sure he would be a fine senator, but these things are always more complicated.
Well, I do. I have to live with the aftermath these races will bring. Not to mention that there is a special election happening just a couple counties over from me that will have an effect on the House as John Murtha’s unexpired term goes up for a vote.
In somewhat related news, Sue Lowden of chickens for medical care fame appears to have violated campaign finance laws by accepting a bus from a supporter. Perhaps Harry Reid isn’t going to lose like I worried a few months ago.
So you’re cool with Pat Toomey winning our Senate seat? You liked Rick Santorum and miss him?
The media seem to think it’s newsworthy that contending primary candidates have different views on the issues of the day, and possibly even different positions on the political spectrum. I mean, if it isn’t all about personalities, then what could politics possibly be about, right? Bah.
yet another torpedo in a sinking ship
I am 45 and my husband 40 — and I think that since his 40th birthday in June, we have probably, one or the other of us, complained of some body part failing, hurting, or generally acting all wore out at least once a day. Every.single.day. I don’t know why my body waited for his to turn 40, but there it is. I would check my warranty if I could find it, but I can’t find my glasses. Has anyone seen my glasses?
(Good luck to your dad, John, and good luck with the dogs!)
@Brian J: I too don’t understand the hostility towards Edwards.
At any rate, the only reason Arlen’s been a good boy for the past several months has been the fear of losing to Sestak. Once we lose that hold on him, we can pretty much count on Arlen doing whatever Arlen thinks is best for Arlen.
Given that, if I were a PA voter, I’d pull the lever for Sestak in a heartbeat.
There’s one more interesting race today, and that’s Mongiardo v. Conway for the Dem nomination for Bunning’s Senate seat, in Kentucky. Conway seems to have slightly stronger progressive cred, and seems to be polling slightly better too. But I’ll admit I haven’t been paying really close attention.
@DanLarkin: Does Arlen have any real seniority given that he’s been a Democrat for only one year?
Jim, Foolish Literalist
I don’t have a read on Sestak, but at 80, Specter won’t really have any checks on what he does, since re-election is unlikely. I can’t for the life of me figure out why a sick old man doesn’t choose to run out the clock grazing in the tall grass, as old man Gore put it long ago. It’s not like he’d want for attention. And Specter has been a huge dick going back at least to Anita Hill, and voted for McCain/Palin. I give him some credit for admitting it, but that’s pretty stupid, among other adjectives.
I met and talked with Sestak, and he really seems like a decent and earnest guy. Coupled with his record, and Spector’s opportunistic behavior and frequent capitulations (for Clarence Thomas alone he needs to go down), there’s simply no comparison.
As for the gray hair/beard, what would you expect after years of blogging the Ionescosphere? It’s a wonder you still have hair at all.
OT. A word of praise to the FSM for warm and furry beasties who seem to know when you need a friend to snuggle up next to you.
@Brian J: Has she won her primary yet? My fear is that Reid could beat her, but the Republicans nominate somebody even crazier.
Specter lost all of his committee seniorities when he switched parties
@geg6: Excellent. We need to pass that in Connecticut.
@Brian J: Good lord. What kind of services do you have to provide to get a bus in barter?
The Moar You Know
The shitbag “political analyst” – also one of the two main morning reporters – on KNX (Los Angeles) this morning was framing today’s primaries as a “referendum on Obama”.
He’s never quite come out and called the president an uppity nigger, but he would if he thought he could get away with it. The guy is so in the tank for the GOP it’s ridiculous.
KNX keeps wondering why their ratings are dropping. Could be something to do with an overt political bias coupled with a slow but very consistent movement away from hard news, but what do I know?
Early on this year I was hesistant about Sestak, because his campaign seemed to be simply: “I’m not Arlen.”
Based on a lot of what I’ve read recently, and the recent polling, I’m much more comfortable now and will be voting for Sestak today.
I think Toomey has a ceiling, just under 50% of the vote, and if this wasn’t a midterm election I wouldn’t be worried at all.
@Linda Featheringill: Whatever it is, I hope they stay with you all day.
I once met Sestak in a small-group setting during his race against Curt Weldon, and he wasn’t smooth like most politicians are — if anything, he was awkward. I still liked him and have found him to be genuinely progressive (and I especially like the fact that he’s leveraged his military service to lend credibility to DADT repeal). I haven’t followed him closely enough since then to know if he’s become more polished, but I wonder if the suspicions people might have of him come from the fact that he’s not the greatest public speaker.
Obot alert: In the meantime, though, I completely understand why Obama would be supporting Specter and Lincoln like he has. These Senators are mercurial and unreliable, and there’s still a lot of Obama’s agenda to get through the #$% Senate. You can’t afford to have aggrieved prima donnas sticking it to Obama as a result of perceived slights in primary elections. If Halter and Sestak win, they’ll support that agenda out of conviction anyway, so there’s little to lose, especially since diminished Democratic representation next session makes this year more make-or-break on the substance.
I don’t really have a dog in the fight in Pennsylvania, but I do wonder how loyal Specter might be. I am not sure he’d completely undermine the Democrats, because what would be the point? It’s not as if the Republicans would welcome him back with open arms.
I don’t think she has won it. The TPM link says she still has a right-wing opponent who is trying to play this up for all its worth.
If the Republicans nominate someone crazier, wouldn’t that make the race a little easier to win?
I live in CA. My mom has been mostly unemployed for over a year. She’s going to be uninsured at the end of the month – she can’t qualify for any health insurance. She’s always on the phone to various reps – Sestak’s office is always willing to listen, even to someone from out-of-state, and to tell her story.
It’s not Joe himself, but it always seemed like a good sign.
As for Specter, well, I still think he was the rare guy who showed some balls over the last decade. The standard is decidedly low in the senate.
Oh, WAAAAH! I got my first gray hair when I was 13.
By the time I graduated college 10 years later, I was what is usually described as “salt and pepper”. A few years later, I started coloring it so as not to appear 15 or 20 years older than the youthful 25 I was at the time. And in all the years since then, I’ve had to color every 3 weeks so as to avoid the Pepe Le Pew stripe running down the middle of my scalp. I had an agreement with my former stylist that we would “let it go” when I reached 45; he unfortunately passed away before we got there and the new stylist continues to agitate for keeping it colored. But when I turn 50, I’m going white.
Understandably, I have little sympathy for those who complain about a few gray hairs starting to show up in middle age.
I have this same sense. While Specter’s not the best example for a lot of reasons, it would be good if there was a narrative that Dems are truly running the “big tent”.
You know, I’d be willing to forgive the supporter who gave the bus. I pay a lot of attention to politics, but I am not sure it’d naturally occur to me that it’s unacceptable because it’s an in-kind transfer. But wouldn’t the candidate check with a lawyer or something?
and anyone else feeling a little queasy about Sestak:
I heard him on Talk of the Nation, answering questions from his prospective constituents while in the cloakroom waiting for a vote. He actually ran out to vote, and ran back in to finish the interview, in the space of a few seconds, and never lost his cool. Give it a listen:
I don’t know if that makes him a smooth operator, or passionate and hard-working, or all of the above, but between that interview, his voting record, and the fact that Specter and Toomey are both scumbags, I know I’d be voting Sestak.
Edit: @Riggsveda: just realized that sentence reads poorly. Don’t mean to imply you feel queasy about Sestak, meant it to agree with you, and to reassure the queasy.
But is likely to get much of his seniority back if he wins re-election as a democrat. That particular cat fight in the democratic caucus would be fun to watch.
I am rooting for Sestak.
Don’t count on it. Crazy is an asset with the Republican base.
He was transparently full of shit. I’m not even talking about his personal affairs- he did basically a complete 180 on any number of issues and then was embraced as some progressive every man, and it was blatantly obvious he was just puking up whatever Mudcat Saunders told him to say. That I still agree with some of those views is irrelevant- there is no evidence whatsoever that edwards believed them beyond political expediency.
And then the way he through Marcotte and company under the bus was a real profile in courage, too.
He was a damned phony, and it was obvious every time he opened his mouth.
I have never colored my hair. Of course, it’s less than an inch long, so coloring seems silly since I’d have to do it every other day or so.
I’m proud of my grays (it’s more salt than pepper any more, but I like it). As long as I can keep the wrinkling away (which I’ve done pretty well with as well as having good genes in that area), I’m fine with my wise non-Latina grays.
Who would ever think we are dealing with adults who should know the rules. That sounds far too hard. These are just children who have no independent moral stature.
Never mind that he is a millionaire who owns a casino.
Remember that Henry Hyde’s adultery at the age of 45 was a youthful indiscretion. How old were his children then?
Why would anyone believe Edwards’ ideas were phony just because he voted for Bush’s main agenda when he was in the Senate? Tax cuts for the wealthy, the Patriot Act, No Child Left Behind, and should we mention that he was one of the 13 Senators who actually drafted Bush’s war resolution? No reasons to distrust him at all.
@Lowkey: BAH, linkfail. I lose teh internets.
Doubtful. Lahey is the chairman of the Judiciary committee. If they restored Arlen’s seniority, he would have to get the gavel. Can’t see that happening under any circumstance.
LA Confidential Pantload
Sitting here in Philadelphia, I find Sestak’s Senate run somewhat puzzling – both the president and the governor are supporting Specter, and if Ed’s backing him that means the PA Dem establishment is backing him too. That doesn’t mean that Sestak can’t pull it off, but I think it does mean that he’s finished politically if he can’t. Doesn’t matter – IMO, Toomey will beat either of them like a snare drum. We luv us some wingnuts here in PA.
“I’m not Arlen” is plenty. It’s all I would need, for damn sure.
Yeah, that’s exactly what I said.
I’m confident that either Specter or Sestak will defeat Toomey.
@ellaesther: Thank you.
Well, almost everyone voted for the Patriot Act. Wasn’t Paul Wellstone the only one who voted against it, or was that Feingold? And No Child Left Behind, no matter what you think of it, wasn’t exactly a highly conservative piece of legislation. Ted Kennedy wrote it, or at least helped write it. And which set of tax cuts did he vote for?
I’m not sure what to make of the fact that he helped write the war resolution, however.
I’m with you, John, though I have an actual reason. Maybe it’s the sociaIist class warrior in me, but I’m not fond people who make it a policy to underpay their employees. In the case of federal employees of political representatives, it’s especially egregious, in that it discourages people from poor, lower-class, and middle-class backgrounds from participating in the process of governance. And someone as inethically sensitive to that concern as Sestak leaves me wondering what other ethical stupidities he’s likely to engage in.
So, I’m kind of rooting for Specter. After Anita Hill, he nearly got kicked out of office by his constituents, and he’s moved towards more liberal / moderate positions ever since. My biggest problem with Specter had been that he didn’t vote his rhetoric, but I still respected that he was voicing at least rhetorical opposition to Bush’s policies when hardly any other GOP Senator would go even that far. Now that Specter’s a Dem, he can vote his mind on those kind of issues.
Finally, Specter does work to represent the views of his constituents. Even when I didn’t want him to win, I could understand why he got re-elected, in a way that I could never understand of Santorum.
I won’t be upset if Sestak wins, and I’d certainly prefer Sestak over Toomey. But I have a mild preference for Specter, if only for “the devil you know” aspect.
Edited To Add: For the Specter haters, I simply remind that Specter was going to lose his primary to Toomey due to, among other reasons, his support of the stimulus package and health care reform. Those were principled stands, not mere pandering.
Don’t hate me John, but my problem is not enough gray hair.
I look in the mirror and see a salt-and-pepper beard (mostly salt, in my opinion) and sideburns that are almost completely white. But no hair loss on top, and the stuff on top is still mostly black. The stuff on top is apparently what other people see. I have a very hard time convincing people I’m in my 50s and this in many situations is not an asset.
As for body parts, they are DEFINITELY in their 50s. I don’t want to go into my cliche’d old-curmudgeon intestinal complaints. Suffice it to say I’ve got ’em. I’ve been wearing graduated lenses for close to 10 years now I think, and on some days I contemplate what blindness would be like because that is a distinct possibility due to a retina issue.
@LA Confidential Pantload: Be puzzled not. Specter wouldn’t have flipped without the Donks’ promise of political support: why flip if they’ll just run you out in a few months anyway? Plus, he kept a gun to the DNC’s and the President’s head with his votes. Of course, the DNC kept a gun to his head with their money and operation, too. Anyway… observe Specter achieve super-hot rock status the very instant if and when Sestak looks like he’s won.
RE: Edwards: he was always smarmy. I always considered him the political equivalent of John Davidson (remember Mr. “I’m Famous Because of a Few Episodes of ‘Love, American Style’ and ‘Hollywood Squares'”?). He was good at reciting the lines while looking handsome, but his delivery was not particularly convincing, IMO. I agreed with quite a lot of what he said but was never convinced that he did.
Again, what issues did he flip flop on and/or believe only because it was politically easy?
As far as dumping the bloggers like a hot potato, I’m not sure I would have acted any differently. It’s nice to think that I would have, but considering that they didn’t bring any sort of campaign expertise with them, it seemed like a no brainer. (I’d say he’s an idiot for not checking their archives, but that can be excused as a generational slip.)
@Toast: He might, but it won’t work. The teabaggers will vote for Bizarro World Toomey in the general, and the dems will vote for whoever wins the primary. And Arlen would look really slutty if he went that route. Just think, if enough dems hadn’t supported Lieberman in the general, we might very well have Medicare for All or a public option. I’m hoping we’ve learned our lesson.
That being said, I don’t have anything against Arlen, and I know what you mean [ETA @ John at top] about not trusting Sestak. My initial reaction to him was kind of a gut-level mistrust. I am wondering if at least part of his poor first impression is that he’s not very good on TV. Nancy SMASH for example, seems pretty loopy when she’s being interviewed but is pure gold as a leader and a progressive. So I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt.
I know it’s a plus for the base, but is that enough for him to have a fighting chance? Nevada isn’t Vermont, but it’s not Idaho, either.
Jim, Foolish Literalist
I’m just the opposite. Maybe I’m a purity troll, but I was disgusted by the way Specter (and Lugar, and Snowe, and Warner, and …) would all occasionally voice their objections to Bush/Cheney, but would then timidly fall back into line when the votes were actually counted. The fact that Specter voted for McCain/Palin is telling. It was nothing the national GOP did that drove Specter across the aisle, it was all about Toomey and saving the title of “Senator”. I actually have more faith in Charlie Crist, because I trust his hatred the people who supported Rubio to keep him voting against the GOP, if only collaterally for the Dems’ agenda.
I frankly don’t understand the attention Halter is getting. I have no brief for Lincoln whatsoever, but Halter is a state-wide politician from Arkansas just like her, and he’s pretty much outright refusing to take a position on EFCA. There’s nothing to make me think he’ll be to the left of the median Senate Democrat, much less a great progressive champion. And, of course, that’s putting aside that Republicans will probably win that seat either way. I just don’t understand why he’s getting so much attention paid to him from the so-called base than, say, Jennifer Brunner in Ohio. I dare say it’s almost as if the netroots cares more about playing the victim-card and taking on “the establishment” than they do about actually electing more progressive members of Congress.
No, PA has a “sore loser” law that prevents primary candidates from running in the general.
I’m not entirely sure that’s constitutional, mind you. It seems to present some pretty glaring first amendment, and possibly Article I and 17th Amendment, issues. But it’s the law in PA, and he’d probably have to go to the Supreme Court to change it – which he won’t do. So, no, Specter will not pull a Lieberman.
@geg6: Wish the same had been true for Connecticut.
Thank you! (I thought it was just me.)
I remember thinking in 2006 that people in Connecticut would be foolish to throw Lieberman under the bus because he had so much seniority. Clearly, that was the wrong way to think about it. I don’t get the same vibe from Sestak that John does, but my beard and hair are gray in about equal proportions, which perhaps indicates a lack of bullshit perception on my part.
@Jim, Foolish Literalist:
Yes. This. That’s exactly my problem with Specter.
I moved to PA in 2001, and my first impression of Specter was positive, from these statements to the press where he’d seem to be on the side of the constitution. Then I realized he’d go ahead and line up behind Cheney/Bush anyway. His statements were pointless. Just a way to look good to the folks back home.
I voted for Sestak this morning.
Nope, we just don’t bounce back after 50, which husband & I both are, vs when younger. My husband is obsessed with planting trees on our property. A couple of years ago, he planted 500 Norway Pine trees in one day just using a shovel. His body paid him back with horrible muscle spasms mainly in the leg most used. Then we got smart & found out what the Forest Service people use, a nifty tree planting tool called a dibble. He has planted 500 trees each spring since & doesn’t even suffer a twinge.
Speaking of hair changes as we age, how about those eyebrow & ear hairs that plague men & deviant chin hairs for women? Those hairs are diabolical, with the ability to grow an inch or more overnight often in reverse directions than nature intended.
For my own part, I never really disliked Edwards himself. I just disliked a particular species of his supporters who dominated his campaign during the primaries and insisted that every other candidate was not a real Democrat. Particularly the candidate who was polling ahead at any given time.
Considering they supported a guy who spent the majority of his campaign apologizing to liberals for virtually every vote he cast as a Senator, I didn’t take too kindly to that.
Well, I got fooled by Edwards. I thought he was the real deal. (Contrary to the dictates of popular culture, I’ll probably get fooled again.)
Also, you should work out some kind of emergency signals for your neighbors, because at some point you know the Jack Russells are going to tie you up with their leashes, and wackiness will ensue. Lily will fall for their fast talk, and if you have no way to signal for help, you’ll have to depend on the benevolence of Tunch.
Also too, I don’t mind gray hairs – except in my darn eyebrows. Those gray-white eyebrow hairs don’t even feel like actual hair any more. They’re like fishing line or Dynel or something.
Except for his personal life John Edwards was a good candidate? Really?
With the best shot for the dems in years at winning the presidency, had Edwards had won the nomination, and that was possible, that fucker could have taken the whole party down when his affair became known, AS IT WOULD HAVE
We would have Dead Man Walking and Moosey Palin holed up in the White House while the life blood of the country trickled down the drain.
Fuck Edwards, selfish bastard and prima dona,
@Jim, Foolish Literalist:
I honestly respect that position. I disagree that it was as timid as you say, but it’s one of those things we can agree to disagree on. I just trust Specter a little more than Sestak, at this point.
The pay issue seems like a real ethical no-brainer to me, and it sends up, again for me, a real red flag regarding Sestak. (For the record, I’m not judging the allegations about Sestak putting relatives on the payroll – I don’t know the context there – I’m just concerned about his underpayment of other employees.)
That’s a reason to hate him. It’s certainly why I don’t like him.
Arlen Specter is a good example of everything that is wrong with the Senate. He thinks, just like Lieberman, that his Senate Seat is a birth right or something. I can’t wait to see him lose.
Because I don’t watch TV, I’ve been insulated from the campaign ads.
Last night I was in front of a TV long enough to see a couple of Specter ads. The pay off line? Sestak is a… politician.
That’s the worst you can say about him? And we’re supposed to believe Mr. Senator-for-life is not a politician?
That just confirmed my conviction to vote Sestak.
The ads contained two accusations, one about the pay thing, the other about absenteeism. I’m skeptical. I noticed that pay thing was artfully phrased “He paid his relatives thousands. He paid some people on his staff minimum wage.” It completely left open the possibility that non-relatives also got thousands. And the absenteeism claim (“he’s missed more votes than anyone else in the PA delegation”) rings hollow too. It strikes me as standard Republican campaign-ad distortion, like “he voted to raise taxes 43 million times”. Remember when Cheney made the absenteeism claim about Edwards, and we found out later Edwards had been present far more than Cheney?
@Bill H: It’s basically all I needed, but it didn’t make me feel comfortable, about Sestak’s ability to campaign in the general… etc… because the only thing worse than Arlen is Toomey…
Aging is the strangest thing in the world. Once you start noticing it that means the dam has officially busted. I started not recognizing the guy in the mirror when I was about47. I stopped looking in the mirror when I turned 50.
Age is my biggest problem with Arlen. 80 years old is too god damned old to be elected to anything unless it is nursing home king or queen.
I couldn’t vote for Sestak after he blurted out that the Obama Admin offered him a job not to run.
That was not smart since Issa is demanding a special prosecutor now loudly to anyone who will listen. Politico loves the story. This will set up Obama perfectly for impeachment when the Dems lose the House.
He’s an idiot.
comrade scott's agenda of rage
Having worked for a crapload of J2s over the years, Navy Admirals who aren’t bastards to their staffs are looked upon with suspicion. That kind of behavior is considered a feature, not a bug.
My sideburns keep getting shorter and shorter. For some reason, my facial hair – which was always a deep auburn contrasting with the dark brown coif on top – turned grayer faster than I would have thought possible. It is now almost solely gray so my sideburns are shaved higher as the gray creeps upwards. And, although I am told constantly by barbers that it is the way I comb my hair, I swear there is much less hair on my crown than there used to be.
In the first half of my fifth decade and this is happening already?
I’m waiting for my wife to sneak in like some mad chemist while I sleep with a bottle of Rogaine in one hand and a bottle of Just for Men in the other…
Isn’t Issa the sort of guy who demands a special prosecutor to find out of Obama hangs the toilet paper the right way?
@Randy P: Yeah, the absenteeism charge used to be something that was politely off-limits, because everyone understood that reps running for higher office were going to miss a lot of non-critical votes. Cheney’s lying use of it was yet another scorched-earth tactic and was a bit shocking even to the Village, but before long it was completely forgotten, and the “decline in civility/rabid partisanship” was equally the fault of both sides.
I’m with you on Specter’s behavior during the Anita Hill hearings. Another thing that bothered me about his alleged “principles” was when he invoked that obscure Scottish way of voting during the Clinton impeachment. What was that all about?
comrade scott's agenda of rage
Same here. I’ve still got the big hook scar in my cheek to prove it.
And this was after being told by one of the WH reporters that he really was a transparent douche. Turns out said reporter was spot on. I’ve never lived it down.
@Jim, Foolish Literalist:
Wasn’t the term “Specter-ing” coined for just this sort of thing?
Yes, he got Holder yesterday because he hadn’t answered his letter yet so he’s already sent the proper letters and offering a job is a Felony. Just, swell. Holder said something about I can’t tell you what the Justice Dept is doing about the case, etc. because of rules & all, etc. All the wingnut blogs are hot for impeachment now. The WH or Justice dept will have to address it in someway. Morning Ho was screaming this morning that Obama tried to bribe Joe Sestak, so it is on for them…….
no greys yet, but i’m sure they’ll show up in the beard first. not sure why that is.
And that’s why I enjoy that Sestak ad so much where he shows a half smarmy/half cunning looking Specter saying “will allow me to be re-Elected”
Just an awesome clip if you already didn’t care for him.
Did you find the JRT’s website?
At least you don’t have to worry about a bald spot …
I can’t see or say the name, Sestak, without always wanting to say Sleestaks, those lizard-like creatures on the old tv show ‘Land Of The Lost.;
Can one of you progressives back up/defend this statement by Joe Sestak where he repeats a bogus feminist talking point during his debate with Specter at 3:39?
“1.5 woman out of 5 in the first year on a campus will have rape attempted against them or actually been raped.”
Also why couldn’t he say 3 out of 10 women or a 30% chance?
The Campus Rape Myth
Funny that the crime rate is going down but feminists have been working on this “problem” since 1987 and rapes on campus have increased from 1 in 5 to 1 in 4 to 1.5 in 5.
I suspect the the definition of rape includes any sex that the woman regrets.
@comrade scott’s agenda of rage:
In the Navy. In the political world, where pay and politesse are useful tools in encouraging people below the upper-middle class to participate in the process of governance, being a bastard to your staff isn’t so much a “feature”.
Blah blah blah. Paging Tunch. Come in Tunch. I has assignment for Tunch.
The best reason I can think of for voting against Specter is…
He’s 80 years old.
In my mind that’s just too damned old to put up as a candidate for another 6-year term.
comrade scott's agenda of rage
I’m not defending it or attacking it, it’s simply the culture.
The one J2 I worked for who wasn’t a bastard to his staff (of which I was one) was the only flag rank officer I respected and would “go to bat” for. The others were detested, not that that made any difference to them or to us in terms of how we performed our jobs. It had everything to do with our day-to-day miserableness quotient.
And there are more than a few elected people on the Hill who are bastards to their staffs. I’m guessing they’re not liked either. How it impacts their abilities to the country and their constituents may or may not factor into this, thus, the fact that “some people say” Sestak is a bastard to his staff is immaterial to the decision about voting for him.
I’m guessing any woman who made the mistake of sleeping with you has more than a few regrets. How many rape charges have you endured?
@Larkspur: can this be a ban offense? WTF, Paul L?
I hope your father’s surgery is successful and without problems.
@arguingwithsignposts: This! Paul L WHAT are you thinking? Or perhaps you are not.
On a lighter note, I found this item about a worker’s compensation after a grizzly mauling to be quite amusing.
I’d rename them “Jack Wrestle Terriers”. since they expect you to do that with them 24.6 hours a day.
Been wondering that too, but as someone else noted, you can’t do that in PA.
Look John, I get a similar feeling from Sestak–and you put your finger on it when you described it as a “John Edwards” feeling, because I got a very similar feeling from Edwards too.
But there’s just no choice when you compare the two of them directly. We may or may not get a trustworthy Democrat in Sestak. But it is for goddamn certain–certain out to five nines–that we won’t get one with Specter. And even if Specter somehow manages to pull off a win against Toomey–something I doubt, as I’m not inclined to believe in miracles–I will guarantee you that he will hop the fence back to the GOP the very moment he thinks its in his best interests.
The only thing that’s gotten Specter to behave like a good Democrat is Sestak’s challenge from his left. Before then he was acting the same way he always has, even after the party switch–then Sestak appears and suddenly Arlen discovers he has a progressive heart.
Bullshit. The second he no longer has to answer to voters for another six years, he will go right back to doing what he has always done, regardless of which party he’s been in: straddling the mythical center and fucking over both parties in whichever way maneuvers him into the position of maximum influence over the process.
comrade scott's agenda of rage
Follow his link. He’s a wingnut so this kind of mysogonistic “keep em barefoot, pregnant, and chained to the bed with just enough slack to get to the kitchen” attitude toward women is to be expected.
Its not about politics with Sestak-talk to anyone who knew him in the Navy. He’s just a world class jerk. The list of people he drove out of the Navy is long and distinguished. The guy is lying when he says he is a retired Vice Admiral-he’s not. He was publically fired by the Chief of Naval Operations in one of Admiral Mullen’s first acts when became CNO. Publically-to make a statement about what a bad leader he was and is.
I support most of what is published here on Balloon Juice but I will never support Sestak for any position save for bent over a bench and beaten with a baseball bat.
You are right not to trust him.
@comrade scott’s agenda of rage:
I follow the Sadly, No! policy of not getting out of the boat, but duly noted.
comrade scott's agenda of rage
I’m taking a shower as we speak. I feel…oily, dirty, contaminated.
Randy, I’m not basing my concerns on Specter’s ads. That’s why I specifically noted that I’m not making a judgement regarding the accusations about relatives on staff.
There are plenty of stories in the blogosphere from consutants and ex-staffers regarding Sestak’s employee issues.
Because Sestak hasn’t been in the political spotlight for long, I don’t have a lot to judge him on. And because I grew up lower-middle class, how he treats his employees is potentially an indicator of other attitudes that I’m not fond of in a politician. I also think it’s ethically bone-headed; and, yes, I think how people treat their employees is an ethical issue. Thus my concerns. I’d still support Sestak in the general, but for the primary I mildly prefer Specter.
Good flag officers are not bastards to their staffs-they may be demanding, but they also are loyal to the people that work for them.
Sestak was neither. He was just an asshole. I worked with plenty of people who worked with and for him. He was a lousy battle group commander , a bad DESRON commander and a disaster as a three star.
And that is why he is only a two star retired admiral. He should have been booted from the navy a long time before that.
It’s interesting about Sestak being a bastard to his staff, because here in DC Specter has the worst reputation among any Senator I know of for his staff treatment. Is it a Pennsylvania thing?
@comrade scott’s agenda of rage
those mangoes weren’t worth it, were they?
If Diogenes were alive today, he’d be wandering the earth in search of a wingnut who wasn’t in some way fucked in the head.
I was wondering the same thing, based on his obsession with the Duke lacrosse team bogus rape charges.
Good Grief John. You get a bad “Edwards” like vibe from Sestak, so you couldn’t vote for him? Have you ever met either candidate? Have you ever attended an event for either candidate? NO. Your impression is founded completely on edited television appearances and sound bites.
I haven’t met either nor do I live in PA. But I do follow national politics. I do know that Spector changed parties because he was being thumped in the polls by Toomey. No primary challenge, no party switch by Spector, its that simple. The guy is a weasely opportunist who is puts his own self interest first at all times. If Spector thought it was in his best interest to switch back to the Republican party in the future, he would do it in a heartbeat.
Been there. Try to think of it as a transitional stage leading to full Silver Fox-hood.
@cat48: Yeah, the fact that Sestak went public with that really gave me the impression that he’s a petty jackass. Why am I supposed to care that Obama offered him a job to stay out of the race? That sort of thing isn’t exactly uncommon in politics.
But eh, I can’t find myself to care enough. Not my vote, and as long as whoever survives can defeat Toomey, it’s all good as far as I’m concerned.
A few years ago, unkown to me, a friend took a pic of me from behind. So, he’s showing me this pic and I see this grey haired dood and asked, ‘who’s that guy’?
It only gets worse. I really, really hate getting old.
@Larkspur: Definitely a job for Tunch.
And if Tunch needs any help, just let me know.
Me too. Imagine what it must have been like for any Sestak kid growing up in the 70’s.
“It only gets worse. I really, really hate getting old. ”
There is the alternative.
I got my first gray hair when I was 16. My first thought was that I was going to end up like my grandmother, who has had white hair since she was 19. And the though that ran through my pea brain was “Cool– I’ll be able to get into BARS!”
(Now I’m happy my hair didn’t go white, because I still get carded occasionally at the ripe age of 39 1/2.)
I’m 53 and have been goin gray for about 10 years. The last couple of years I’ve let it grow long. About a year ago I started going out with a cosmetologist. When I asked her if she’d like to cut my hair, she suggested coloring it. It’s been three different shades of brownish-red in the last year. No one has made fun of me, to my face, anyway. I’ve gotten some complements and I don’t feel like I look like an old man. If you can accept the gray, more power to you, but there’s nothing wrong with doing something about it.
When I grew my beard in ’76 @ 23 it had white mixed in it. Those certainly didn’t get fewer over the years and it is now almost all white. My hair, which is thinner than it was and still more than most have, is probably 80-20 silver-brown. I don’t really care one way or the other about it and I seem to be flat out healthy so that’s good.
I don’t know why it seems to matter but it does to many but then I suppose I’ll grow up one day…some day…
@comrade scott’s agenda of rage:
@Skippy-san: Great handle. Reminds me of my father (22 yr army vet) who after being in the far east, called us all [insert name]-San.
ETA: @Yossarian: Another great handle. Without googling – isn’t that a character in Catch-22?
@Paul L.: Rape statistics are difficult, especially campus rape which is often unreported for the same reasons most rapes go unreported (victim knows the assailant) in addition to the fact the campus environment is an ideal hiding place for a serial rapist (lots of date rapes going on, lots of high profile false accusations (Duke Lacrosse), etc.).
Most conservative estimates peg the number at 1 in 10 though. A DOJ study in 2000 pegged the number as high as 1 in 5. I’ve seen some people say 1 in 4 in the news. Even if we take the conservative number, it is a number so obviously bad as warranting action.
(By the way, I’ve never seen the number as being 1 in 5 freshman. Rather it’s 1 in 5 during their entire time in college with the most vulnerable group being freshman—because many, despite the belief that those liberals are promiscuous, are virgins when entering.)
As for the reason why 1.5 in 5 instead of 3 in 10, the answer is obvious: the person is comparing it to the DOJ report (1 in 5). It’s difficult for people to do ratios.
The number (1 in 5) seems a bit high to me. But I was pretty insulated and still know of a few incidents that went on in my college experience that would definitely be rape (some were statutory so there is no ambiguity). In one case, the assailant was most likely a serial rapist (had a reputation for going after virgins). I’m not including the rumors where I didn’t know the people involved.
I also suspect the 1.5 in 5 is wrong, even if the 1 in 5 is right. The reasons are: rapes across the country have been going down in the country; campuses are much better at informing the student population since I went to school in the early 90’s; and finally, it is very common for type II error (the tea party movement, Proposition 8, Duke LaCrosse) to rear its outlier head when something is actually on the downswing (the Republican Party, opposition to gay marriage, and campus rape).
(I suspect it is very possible that reporting has gone up due to aggressive education and someone is taking those numbers and applying it to previous estimates of the underreport rate for campus assaults (which was like 9 in 10).)
I probably shouldn’t respond to this obvious flamebait. It’s just that I thought it was a mildly interesting misdirection. Just because both sides exaggerate, doesn’t mean that one side isn’t very wrong. I suspect, that Paul L’s attack says a more about the sort of person he was in college (if he went to college), than it does about Sestak.
Glad to hear it. And also glad that we seem to be on the same page regarding the other ethical and leadership issues that poor treatment of underlings may indicate. It’s obviously not a progressive value.
@Chuck Butcher: Don’t you have an anniversary this month? 12? :)
I was voter #2 at my polling place in suburban Philly. Just made up my mind in the past few days, as I really didn’t have strong feelings about this race–as as people do when they don’t have strong feelings, I was looking at things like electability. The last bit of polling convinced me that Joe is viable, so he got my vote, largely because of the age thing and the fairly high probability that we might end up with a Republican governor. Also, who knows what Arlen will do when he’s not facing a primary, but I’m actually less concerned about that. Sestak is not exactly a flaming liberal, by any means.
A lot of people have been commenting on how this hurts Obama somehow. I don’t see that at all. You’re a president trying to get your ambitious healthcare bill through an obstructionist congress and you suddenly find a vote in your lap, as it were, and all you have to do is say you support the guy. Meanwhile, you have a sure vote for several months while you’re trying to pass big legislation left and right by the narrowest of margins. If Sestak wins both the primary and the general, you STILL have a moderate dem from Pennsylvania on your side. It seems a no brainer to me.
Even if Sestak ends up being bad underneath his cloak of progressiveness, he will be easier to remove than Specter. Additionally it sends a signal that moving to the left is a valid and workable tactic. That is a signal we want to see out there.
In my mind it is a win win for Sestak to take out Specter. It is good progressive messaging and it makes this seat more responsive to activism in the future. So even if we end up having to organize against Sestak in the future progressives still win.
Mrs. Luke Ravenstahl
Edwards impregnated his mistress and put the entire Dem party in jeopardy should he have won the nomination. Meanwhile, Joe Sestak got into politics four years ago to provide America with the same nationalized Health Care his young daughter received when she was diagnosed with brain cancer. Surely there is a difference.
Toomey will beat Specter, Sestak will beat Toomey, which is all one needs to know before you pull the ballot lever.
My biggest source of suspicion with Sestak has been his ongoing confusion of Stephanie Miller and Randi Rhodes; he regularly makes reference to Stephanie Miller’s (nonexistent) military service during phone-in interviews. Makes me wonder just what sort of an egomaniac he might be.
licensed to kill time
This is pretty common, in my experience. You often see guys with color in their hair still, but completely white/gray mustaches and/or beards. What I think is interesting are the ones with those white stripes in the beard – something strange going on in the ol’ hair genes, I guess.
@terry chay: Wow, that what I call wringing good lemonade from the sour grapes of a troll comment.
@Pennsylvanian: Specter needs to go by-bye. He’s arrogant and owned by Comcast – his # donor in 2010 – goodbye Net Neutrality vote!
I am voting for Sestak soon – on my way to work. That “heard” thing about Sestak and his staff – is wrong or mostly rumor – I have met some of his staffers – they do work hard (maybe harder than others) – but they really like his integrity – and he treats them well.
Sestak is the only choice for PA – Specter is never to be trusted to be a vote for Dem policies.
That Specter/Bush kissy-kissy ad says it all.
Arlen Specter insisted that Alberto Gonzales didn’t need to testify under oath to the Judiciary Committee about the NSA’s spying on American citizens without the required warrants.
Specter’s spotted history easily outweighs any “uneasy vibe” that Sestak’s mannerisms might conjure up.
Isn’t Specter the guy who first proposed the ‘magic bullet’ theory in the Kennedy assassination investigation?
Markos’s obsession with Lincoln on Twitter is rather pathetic.
Johnny Gentle (famous crooner)
Because that’s what was promised to Specter when he changed parties. A guy doesn’t just switch parties (thus becoming the 60th vote on the Senate healthcare bill) without something being offered in return.
This year for the first time in my life I was able to grow a real beard. Unfortunately it’s white as the driven snow.
It only gets worse. I really, really hate getting old.
Consider the alternative.
It’s what keeps me going.
ETA That and the fact that I’m still trying to be first at anything.
@Mrs. Luke Ravenstahl: Fair point.
Bruce (formerly Steve S.)
I’m with you on this one. He’s been hitting the airwaves pretty hard in the last few months and he always struck me as a typical political sleazeball with that distasteful air of the used car salesman. That said, if I were a Pennsylvania Democrat I’d probably hold my nose and choose him over Specter.
I hear ya John, I don’t believe that Sestak will be the progressive vote that some think he will be. He will be eons above Spector, which is great.
If Sestak wins, and begins to vote, I’ll bet we’ll see a beaucoup posts about Sestak not being as progressive as he campaigned, same as with Obama.
I also suspect the same thing to happen with Halter.
Still Halter and Sestak, much better than Lincoln and Spector.
I know exactly what you mean about Sestak, John. I don’t trust him, either, but I voted for him this morning. In the end, it came down to the realization that although this was a choice between two candidates likely to move to the right after the primary (and, if applicable, election), one of them had actually done several terrible things during his several decades in power and I couldn’t reward that.
I just couldn’t vote for Arlen Specter in good conscience. Maybe against Toomey, but not today.
@Duncan Watson: Really excellent points. I agree.
@Paul L.: You are misinformed. From the article you link:
In fact, that is not at all unusual. Particularly when the rapist is the victim’s boyfriend. Even people in a committed relationship can rape their partners.
@Jennifer and @John up top there:
The best word to describe my hair colour would be “tweed.”
5/12/88 so 22.
@Chuck Butcher: Even better! CONGRATS! Especially since it hasn’t always been an easy path, eh?
Well, life will just insist on being life … and all that.
If I lived in PA my choice wouldn’t be that difficult. I understand John’s mistrust of Sestak, but unfortunately only time will reveal the true nature of the retired admiral. I am a veteran and I have no particular respect for military careerists. The US Army was the worst organization I’ve ever been a part of and its career NCOs and officers were, in general, among the worst people I’ve ever known. I can’t see any reason why any of the other branches would be significantly better (or worse — except perhaps the Marines, who seem to have an extra dollop of BS machismo). So Sestak starts with a sizable deficit. On the other hand, I did encounter a few careerists whom I respected. Maybe Sestak will turn out to be one of them.
But the jury is already in on Specter. I know from experience all I need to know about him to know I simply wouldn’t vote for him if there were any other choice (a Republican today is not a choice). My feelings about Specter are sufficiently negative to cast doubt on my ability to vote FOR him even against someone like Toomey. Since I would never vote for Toomey, that would leave me with a write-in vote or abstaining altogether.
In the primary, I’d vote for Sestak — with reservations and with the hope that over time he would exceed my expectations, which aren’t any lower for him than they are for numerous other 2010 Democrats. Should Sestak win and then turn out to be a disaster, I’d chalk it up to a learning experience, but I wouldn’t regret not voting for Specter.
Fortunately, I don’t live in Pennsylvania.