Thursday, March 02, 2006

Progressives for Pennacchio, Not Casey

My last post was a little long winded, so I want to express the message in a more concise manner. Progressives and Democrats who vote for Casey in the primary election are making a mistake. Santorum has become so unpopular that any reasonable Democrat can beat him (look at this Zogby poll to prove it). So, why should we support a conservative like Casey when we can vote for someone like Pennacchio who we actually believe in? Any true progressive should feel obligated to temporarily change his/her affiliation to the Democratic Party and vote for Chuck Pennacchio in the primary.

The Democratic leadership might think running to the right is the path to victory, but the more people learn about Casey's conservative positions, the more their support for him dwindles (again, check the Zogby poll). Powerful Democrats anointed Casey before Santorum published his offensive book and before Santorum's involvement in the K-Street scandal really hit the fan. Pennacchio might not have much money now, but if he wins the primary, cash will flood his campaign from the national Democratic Party.

Changing Party for Pennacchio

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I am a registered Green. Beyond that, I discussed my displeasure with the Democrats, and how I don't want to become one.

"The thought of registering as a Democrat makes me feel dirty and slimy."

Yesterday in the comments section of another post, Chuck Pennacchio: Part I; Chuck v. Casey, Charlie Crystle wrote:

"Would you switch your registration to Democrat to vote for Chuck? That is what all Greens should do. He's a green in Dem clothing, which many of us are."

Good question. First of all, I would like to thank Mr. Crystle for posting a comment on (and reading) my blog. It's an honor to have a former U.S. Senate candidate take an interest in The Cajun Jew. To answer his question: yes, I am going to register as a Democrat for the May 16th PA primary election. Now, the issue is why would (should) a Green do this. I have written that registering as a Green is a political statement. That,

"if enough progressively minded folks register as Greens it could send a message to the Democrats that our opinions are relevant and that in order to earn our votes the Dems. must become more liberal."

My thinking has not changed. More progressive Democrats and independents should register as Greens for the aforementioned reason. However, in states like Pennsylvania, which operate a closed primary, members of third parties cannot vote in the primary elections of the two major parties. So, Pennsylvania will not allow me, as a Green, to vote for Chuck Pennacchio. Be that as it may, I hold the power to vote for Chuck Pennacchio--all Greens do--by changing our affiliations temporarily to the Democratic party. We all can vote for Chuck Pennacchio, but some of us won't vote for him, because of our foolish pride. What matters more: having progressive ideals or progressive leaders to enact those ideals? Greens and progressive Independents must not be fooled by loyalty to our party or lack there of. I love being a Green, but frankly, my political beliefs are not beholden to party membership. If the person who I judge to be the most capable candidate is a Democrat, then it is my obligation to vote for that Democrat.

We Greens and Independents often call ourselves progressives, but look at that word for a minute progress-ive. We define ourselves as those moving toward a greater good, but what good, indeed what progress, can be made by not voting for the progressive candidate. Some will vote for Bob Casey Jr. believing that his conservative tendencies will lure moderate Republicans away from Santorum. It would be reasonable to vote for Casey over Santorum in the general election, because Senator Casey would be a minor improvement over Senator Santorum, bringing Harry Reid one Senator closer to majority leadership. But a vote for Casey in the primary election would not produce nearly as much progress as a vote for Pennacchio. If Pennacchio had no chance of beating Santorum, I could understand voting for Casey. However, a recent Zogby poll, shows that both Casey and Pennacchio can beat Santorum. So why should progressives vote for Casey?

There is no Green party primary election for U.S. Senator. In the general election, some progressives will vote for the Green Party candidate, Carl Romanelli. If people truly cannot stomach voting for Casey in the general election, I understand voting for Romanelli but respectfully disagree with it. I want the Democrats to hold a majority in the Senate, because that will give them the power to investigate the Bush administration's illegal and disgraceful actions (e. g. warentless wiretapping). If Pennacchio is not the Democratic candidate in the general election, and that means voting for Casey, then I must hold my nose and do so for the greater good.

Some Greens and Independents will not vote in the primary elections. That is a mistake. Complaining about not having the right to vote in the primary is silly and incorrect. Changing your registration to the Democratic party for one month does not mean sacrificing your progressive beliefs; on the contrary, it more fully expresses them. In all honesty, what do we as Greens and progressives have to lose by temporarily affiliating ourselves with the Democrats so that we can vote for Chuck Pennacchio? If we want Dr. Pennacchio to be Senator Pennacchio, then as good citizens we are obligated to vote for him. It's not hard. Just drop by your local post office (how about tomorrow before work?) and pick up a voter registration form. Fill it out and hand it to a postal worker (make sure you do this by the April 17th deadline). Then show up at your precinct on May 16th and vote for Pennacchio. Afterward, you can switch back to the Green Party or no affiliation. In a choice of pride or progress, we cannot betray each other.


I encourage you all to read Chris Bowers' excellent post on MyDD entitled, "The Ultimate Validation of Progressive Ideals." It's a marvelous essay on the meaning of being progressive, defining progressivism through actions rather than words.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Fat Tuesday

Well it's Fat Tuesday or Faschnat Day if you are Pennsylvania Dutch. Being employed at a Cajun restaurant--seriously, I'm not lying about this Cajun Jew thing--means I'll be working a double shift today (9am-midnight), so I don't expect to post until late tonight or early tomorrow. Sorry folks. I've got a good post brewing, but will have to hang onto it until tomorrow.

If only I didn't need to sleep I could post all night...drat.

Monday, February 27, 2006

New Interview with Pennacchio

Natalie Davis of All Facts and Opinions just posted a spectacular interview with Chuck Pennacchio. This is a MUST READ for anyone who wants to know more about Pennacchio and his positions. Read it and spread the word. Hell, print it out and post it in your office. Here's the link.

Fun Exercise:

Compare Chuck Pennacchio's capacity for the spoken word with that of President George W. Bush. Grab some crayons, paper plates, and rubber bands to make cool Bush and Pennacchio masks. Then try having a conversation by reading quotes from both men. See whose head explodes first!

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Pennacchio v. Bloggers

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I heard Chuck Pennacchio speak last week in State College. After the speech, I asked Pennacchio a question that had been bothering me for the past few weeks:

"Progressive blogs like Daily Kos and MyDD have had a serious impact on the fundraising efforts of progressive candidates like Ned Lamont in Connecticut, Paul Hackett in Ohio, and Ciro Rodriguez in Texas. I have not noticed a lot of support for you on the blogs. In fact, Daily Kos has called you 'not a viable candidate [link2].' Why do you think this is the case?"

Before Pennacchio could respond, a women in the front of the room, who I believe was affiliated with the Pennacchio campaign in Centre County, belligerently interrupted

"But they lost, they lost THEY ALL LOST. Every one of Kos' candidates LOST."

This was a statement of fact. Each of the 15 candidates that Kos raised money for in 2004 lost their respective elections. However, these candidates were progressives who were not expected to win and would probably not have come close to victory were it not for Kos). To the woman I responded,

"Be that as it may, wouldn't someone (gesturing toward Pennacchio) with very little cash on hand like $100,000 from progressive supporters?"

Again, she exclaimed,


Clearly--at least in my estimation--this is a moot point. It is not as though Kos and other bloggers cursed the candidates to which the directed reader contributions. Pennacchio is sorely in need of any money that he can get. I love that he only accepts ethical contributions, but when his campaign organizers shun money from the very people who ought to support him, something is amiss. In any event, Pennacchio decided it was time to interject (this is a paraphrase of his response):

"I think that I have had success with many bloggers. I have received endorsements from Chris Bowers at MyDD, and the Booman Tribune, among others. The reason that some blogs don't support me is because they are influenced by push polls showing Casey in the lead based on name recognition. I also don't think a lot of what Daily Kos writes is very insightful." Pennacchio then looked at me and with the most honesty I have ever seen in a politician's eyes and said, "But write to them. Let them know."

I was not aware that Bowers had supported Pennacchio, but I don't think that all of MyDD has--correct me if I am wrong. Pennacchio's response seemed like a good one. His biggest problem is name recognition. According to Zogby, most of those who hear what Pennacchio has to say would vote for him. However, I do think that much of Kos' writing is insightful, and I doubt that Kos has not heard about the aforementioned Zogby poll. I can forgive Pennacchio for not being a huge Kos fan, especially when Kos has the power to fundraise for him but refuses to do so, but clearly Pennacchio needs to actively pursue the netroots if he wants to earn our contributions.

Pennacchio asked me to write, so that is what I am doing. I support him tooth and nail, but if Pennacchio wants solid netroots support he will need to pursue it himself. So, here is my suggestion to you Dr. Pennacchio:

Write an open letter to Daily Kos, Mydd, Americablog, Eschaton, Crooks and Liars, and all the other popular progressive blogs. Explain who you are, what your fighting for, and why Pennsylvanians will support you over Casey and Santorum. Ask for their support. Indeed, actively pursue it. You challenged me to become an active citizen, and I challenge you to become an active candidate. Matt Brown, a progressive candidate for Senate from Rhode Island, recently held a conference call with bloggers discussing his background and politics. He even wrote a diary for Daily Kos. I implore you to do the same.


Pennacchio held a conference call with 10 Pennsylvania bloggers [listen here] exactly one year ago today according to Young Philly Politics. I think it is imperitive that Pennacchio try again. This time he also needs to go after the national blogs as well.