Monday, March 20, 2006

Pro-Casey Fools in the Blogosphere: Part II

My criticism of the blogger at YoungPhillyPolitics was met with a lengthy, well-written retort. It's always refreshing to have an intelligent critique. Regardless, I still think that the original author was way off base in his attack on Chuck Pennacchio. Here is the response by DanielUA:
First, you know, Alex was over the top here. He actually said so in this post. But, you know what else what [sic] that post pointed out? That Chuck's little ode to Santorum was completely stupid. The very next day, GOP lawyers kicked Featherman off the ballot. How honorable! I know that Chuck does not like Santorum, but when he says things like that, he is feeding into the BS frame that Santorum is principled, when he is anything but. It was a really dumb thing to say, made to look even sillier by what Santorum did to his opponent the very next day.
In my estimation, Chuck's first words to describe Santorum would not be "honorable" and "principled." Just because a person (Santorum) is corrupt and shameless, does not mean that he cannot, from time to time, do something respectable. Frankly, Santorum's extending a debate to his challenger was the right thing to do. Yes, GOP lawyers pressured Featherman off the ballot, but challenging the signatures of someone who barely made it onto the ballot is not abnormal. As much as we loathe Santorum, he is not a hideous demon sent from the depths of Hell. Even the worst person can do something right now and again. Besides, Chuck was criticizing Casey more than applauding Santorum. Here is how I responded:
I don't understand why Alex had to spew so much vitriol toward Chuck. If you claim to be a progressive and don't think Chuck's candidacy is viable, that's fine. Be that as it may, an angry, childish rant about a fellow progressive does little to help the cause, especially when it is picked up by Santorumblog. I did read Alex's statement about being "over the top," but I remain displeased with his original post, which was rather unbecoming of anyone claiming to be a progressive. What is the point for progressives to attack Pennacchio?

To be honest, I don't see how Chuck's post can be described as a "little ode to Santorum." More than anything, it was a criticism of Casey for being unprincipled and lacking the chutzpah to debate Chuck. I think that you, Chuck, and I agree that Rick Santorum is a horrible Senator. Yes, he is corrupt and unprincipled, but at least he had the courage to offer Featherman a debate. Chuck was not calling Santorum an honorable person overall; rather, he was reflecting solely on Santorum's willingness to debate Featherman in contrast to Casey's discourteous behavior. Regarding the GOP lawyers: if Pennacchio had submitted the bare minimum number of signatures, don't you think Casey would have had the Democrats' lawyers involved?

DanielUA continued:

Second, I have 1)spoke with Chuck on a conference call, 2)heard him speak in person, twice, 3)watched the whole TV interview he has posted on his site, 4) listened to the entire radio times interview. I have also read his blog regularly, promoted Albert's post to the front page here about Chuck, been interviewed about his candidacy by the print media multiple times. So, you know, I think I am pretty well informed. I am also a pretty progressive person. And, you know what? I cannot take Chuck seriously, period.

Take the radio interview as an example. Chuck was asked about his position on Iraq (that we should withdraw within 10 to 12 weeks). He said, in a moment of bizarreness, that Jack Murtha, when coming out strongly against the war, was "following" his lead. Jack Murtha was following Chuck? Really? Do you think Jack Murtha had ever heard of Chuck? Do you think Jack Murtha had ever been influenced by Chuck? Hell, I think we should withdraw from Iraq, and I thought the war was a terrible error. Maybe Jack Murtha is following my lead!
I'm glad to hear that DanielUA is so well-informed about Chuck Pennacchio. It's too bad that he is also vehemently opposed to Pennacchio's candidacy. I find it odd that fellow progressives feel the need to attack Pennacchio. In other words, what good is produced by ridiculing someone who shares your own beliefs? If they choose to believe that Pennacchio doesn't stand a chance against Casey, that's fine. Pennacchio is standing up for progressive beliefs because Bob Casey will not. Perhaps the Murtha comment was kind of odd, but what's the big deal? At least Pennacchio wants to get out of Iraq ASAP unlike Casey. Furthermore, Pennacchio doesn't have paid speech writers and political consultants, so occasionally he will say something peculiar. If saying weird things kept people out of office, someone else would be in the White House.

Then DanielUA wrote:

What Chuck does not seem to get is that just saying that you have progressive positions has never, ever been enough to get someone elected. EVER. You are probably progressive, right? If you declare for Senate next time, should I vote for you?The blunt reality is that as nice and principled as Chuck and Alan Sandals are, they would not likelly [sic] win a race for City Council. Assuming they can go straight to the very, very top without millions upon millions of dollars is a little off.
DanielUA is pretty down on Chuck Pennacchio. I don't deny that the odds are against Pennacchio. That, however, doesn't change that I believe in Pennacchio. Nor does it change the fact that Pennacchio's platform is far more in line with my own beliefs (and those of most Democrats) than Bob Casey's. I think it's pretty sad when a liberal blogger writes off a candidate because he doesn't have much money. I'm not going to support Bob Casey in the primary just because he has lots of money. The conclusion of my comment to DanielUA was a follows:
Let me ask you: what precisely should Chuck do, besides have progressive values, to get elected? I get the impression that, in your eyes, money is more important than values. Are you suggesting that a candidate needs millions of dollars to be worth our time? That sounds rather antithetical to the grassroots movement. I for one am not going to support a candidate with money and no values. I respect Chuck Pennacchio's positions and will vote with my conscience.

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