Thursday, March 16, 2006

Chuck Pennacchio Radio Interview

Chuck Pennacchio is giving an hour-long radio interview today (Thursday, March 16th) at 10 AM on WHYY in Philadelphia with Marty Moss-Coane on her program Radio Times. If your in the Philly area give it a listen on 91FM. If your an out-of-towner, you can stream the interview live on the internet here [old link--see update below]. This is a great opportunity to learn more about Chuck and hear for yourself what a tremendous candidate he really is.


I listened to the whole interview this afternoon archived on the "Radio Times" site, and it is exceptionally good. If you have any interest in Chuck Pennacchio, you need to listen to this. Hell, If you have no idea who Chuck Pennacchio is, then you definitely need to listen to this. Believe it or not, you will believe in Chuck Pennacchio after listening to this interview.

You can listen to the archived interview here, just be sure to select "March 16th, 2006" in the drop down boxes.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Chuck Pennacchio and Alan Sandals: Splitting the Progressive Vote

So, there are officially three U.S. Senate candidates in the PA Democratic primary: Chuck Pennacchio, Bob Casey Jr. and Alan Sandals. Casey, is too conservative to appropriately represent the actual interests of most Democrats.

Bob Casey, Jr.
On abortion – pro-life
On stem cell research – opposed
Accepts PAC money – yes, but not corporate or industry
War in Iraq – supported
Troops in Iraq – stay the course
National Health Care – opposed
Raising the minimum wage – supports
NAFTA/CAFTA – opposed both
Alito confirmation to Supreme Court – supports confirmation

Unfortunately, Casey has enormous name recognition, because he is the son of PA's former two-term governor Bob Casey Sr., which makes him the front-runner. Chuck Pennacchio, on the other hand, is a Democrat who actually represents Democratic interests.

Chuck Pennacchio
On abortion – pro-choice
On stem cell research – supports
Accepts PAC money – no
War in Iraq – opposed
Troops in Iraq – out as soon as safely possible
National Health Care – supports
Raising the minimum wage – supports living wage with different levels depending on where the worker lives
NAFTA/CAFTA – opposed both
Alito confirmation to Supreme Court – supports a filibuster

Alan Sandals is also more progressive than Bob Casey Jr., but is not preferable to Pennacchio, as illustrated in my previous post. See Sandals' positions here.

The matter of concern becomes the splitting of the progressive vote in the Democratic primary. What happens if the vote tally ends as such:

Casey 49%
Pennacchio 30%
Sandals 21%

Because Pennsylvania does not has a runoff primary election, this could be an actual outcome of the race. In this case, if either Pennacchio or Sandals had dropped out of the race, the progressive candidate would likely have won the election. Who knows if either Pennacchio or Sandals will garner this much of the primary vote--I believe that Pennacchio can--but the already arduous task of beating Casey in May is made twice as difficult when both Pennacchio and Sandals are fighting for votes from the same subset of PA Democratic primary voters.

When two people are running as the anti-Casey, progressive efforts are spoiled. Pennacchio or Sandals (preferably Sandals) needs to drop out of the race if Bob Casey Jr. stands a chance of being defeated in May.

Chuck Pennacchio v. Alan Sandals: What's the Deal with Alan Sandals?

What is the deal with Alan Sandals?

In case you were unaware, Bob Casey Jr. is running against two primary opponents: Chuck Pennacchio and Alan Sandals. While I've made a great deal out of Chuck Pennacchio, I have not really mentioned Alan Sandals. In fact, I've had a hard time finding much info on Alan Sandals outside of his own website. In the Blogosphere, there is a mixed reaction to Pennacchio. Many bloggers, like myself, fervently support Pennacchio. We loathe Santorum and find Casey too conservative to be a real Democrat. Others, like Kos, don't think Pennacchio is viable and will countenance Casey thinking he can beat Santorum. But what about Sandals?

After searching the Google's "Blog Search" and diaries from Daily Kos and MyDD, I found hardly anything written on Sandals, other than his being a candidate in PA's Senate race. Granted, there are a decent number of hits when searching for "Alan Sandals" on Google, but that does not address his lack of blogger support. Many of Sandals positions are quite similar to Pennacchio's positions, and he has raised more money than Pennacchio, so why does he almost entirely lack netroots support?

Here are some possible reasons why the Blogosphere prefers Pennacchio to Sandals.

  • First off, Pennacchio has charisma and is believable. When I met him at a rally in State College, Pennacchio wasn't just captivating; he made me want to get off my ass and help him fix this country. Pennacchio made me believe in a politician, which is a rare thing. I can't say whether or not Sandals has the same personal magnetism, as I have not heard him speak. However, such an affecting personality is rare.
  • Pennacchio seems to have a stronger grassroots following. Sandals submitted over 5,000 signatures and Pennacchio submitted over 4,200 signatures. However, Sandals' signatures were collected by paid supporters, while Pennacchio's were collected entirely by volunteers. If Pennacchio can petition just as well as Sandals without having to pay his people a dime, Pennacchio's followers must really believe in him.
  • Pennacchio is a history professor who studies diplomacy and national defense, while Sandals is a well-regarded lawyer specializing in pension, healthcare, and retirement issues. There are lots of lawyers in the Senate, but Pennacchio offers something unique while Sandals does not. Frankly, this country is desperately in need of leaders with a historical perspective.
  • Sandals dumped a lot of his own money into his campaign. Sandals is better funded than Pennacchio because he was wealthy to begin with. Almost all of Pennacchio's money has come from individual donors. While Sandals believes in public funding of elections, Pennacchio has sworn not to take any PAC money, thus actively practicing what he preaches.
  • Pennacchio is more progressive than Sandals. Both men agree on abortion, stem cells, the environment, election reform, etc. However, unlike Sandals, Pennacchio supports living wage legislation (raising the minimum wage to $9.00 so that people can get out of poverty), rapid withdrawal from Iraq, and fair trade with the rest of the world.
  • Pennacchio has been campaigning for far longer than Sandals. Sandals formally entered the race on July 15th 2005, while Pennacchio's campaign began in November of 2003. This is actually a little depressing. I'm not sure why Pennacchio doesn't have higher name recognition if he has been pushing this for so long.
Clearly, Pennacchio is the better candidate for Pennsylvanian progressives. However, both men are good candidates and Senator Sandals would be preferable to Senator Casey. I'm not as convinced that Sandals has what it takes to beat Santorum, but if he becomes strong enough to beat Casey, then all bets are off.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Chuck Pennacchio Interview on KDKA Pittsburgh

FINALLY the media is starting to mention the Pennacchio campaign for U.S. Senate. For months, all I've heard has been "Bob Casey, the Democratic challenger from Pennsylvania," with no mention of the Democratic primary. Just because Chuck Schumer, Ed Rendell, and Harry Reid anointed Bob Casey as the golden boy to beat Santorum this fall doesn't mean that he actually is the Democratic candidate. On May 16th Pennsylvania's Democrats with chose Santorum's challenger among Bob Casey, Chuck Pennacchio, and Alan Sandals. How frighteningly undemocratic is it that the powers that be have tried to chose our Senate candidate without our input! Punks...

Anyway, the point of this thread is that KDKA Pittsburgh's CBS affiliate aired segments of an interview with Chuck Pennacchio on March 10th. Chuck comes off as fiery straight-shooter who knows what he is talking about. He's fed up with the status quo and wants to change people lives, not his career. Finally, we have a Democrat with passion and a brain. The links to the full 19 minute interview and the abridged news segment are posted below. Spread the word!

Full 19 minute interview

Abridged news segment