No Primaries? Follow-up

Monday I wrote a piece entitled “Democratic Politburo Makes a Decree – No Primaries!” which stirred a great deal of sentiment from throughout the lefty blogosphere. The biggest criticism I have received about this piece regards the last two words of the headline, “No Primaries!” From KOS, MyDD, the Democratic Underground and elsewhere people have come out of the woodwork to attack the idea that what Schumer, Rendell and the DSCC have done is declare that there will be no Democratic primaries. The argument seems to be that what Schumer SAID was “We are no longer letting Democrats get in a circle and shoot each other” therefore what he meant was that he and DSCC would only step in IF and WHEN they see two Democrats attacking each other. I agree, that is what he said but I do not agree that that is what they are doing.

Let me just say briefly that I recognize this is a strategy the DSCC believes will help them win back the Senate in ’06. They truly believe that if they find the right candidates and back them while avoiding heavily contended primary battles they will not only save money for the general election but they can avoid “soiling” their candidates and giving the Republicans ammunition to use against them. I respect the DSCC for at least having a plan I am just not convinced that the plan is a winner. There is no evidence that candidates who faced little to no primary fights have done better than those that fought hard for their nominations. It is my opinion that the primary process allows the candidates to prove to the electorate that they are indeed the most qualified to win the general election.

Back to Schumer’s comments, right after saying “we are no longer letting Democrats get in a circle and shoot each other” Schumer brings up the Tennessee Senatorial race for Majority Leader Bill Frist’s seat, where there are two Democrats vying for the nomination, Harold Ford and Rosalind Kurita. What Schumer says is the following, “(there is) a nice woman running against him but everyone says she is going to attack him.” He did not say she is attacking him or that she has attacked him in the past, he says everyone says she is going to attack him. Fine, if this is the case then Schumer, Reid and the like should pack their bags and head down to Tennessee to do their best Mills Lane impression. “No rabbit punches, no hitting below the belt…” I agree with this way of officiating the race but I not sure that is what they have done. We will see.

In the race that is most important to me and they majority of my readers though things are a bit different. There is no doubt that the number one priority of every Democrat in state of Pennsylvania is to defeat Rick Santorum in ’06. So it is understandable that the DSCC wants to ensure they have the best candidate to make this a reality. Unfortunately what they have done in my opinion does to guarantee anything. From my brief experience inside the Pennsylvania Democratic machine I have learned at least one thing, the person with the endorsement of the party leadership is most likely the going to win. This is not always the case but it certainly happens more often than not.

By stepping in a full year before the primary – and a month AFTER Chuck Pennacchio had declared his candidacy – and hand picking and then immediately endorsing Bob Casey Jr. what the Party leadership has done is ensure that all of the party insiders immediately got the message. Casey is the guy you will support. This means that a few thousand State Committee people got this message and therefore as a result so did any and all organizations they belong to, support, etc. Does this mean there will be no primary in the state of Pennsylvania? No, it means that there will be a primary but that the result is a foregone conclusion because any efforts made by any other candidate to gain support in the form of donations, volunteers, whatever immediately must discount those people who are either party insiders or are afraid of pissing off party insiders.

Top this off with the fact that the DSCC’s own website makes absolutely no mention of any candidates other than Casey…

Race Profile

Republican Senator Rick Santorum is considered by many to be far outside the mainstream of Pennsylvania voters. Democratic strength in the Keystone State-which has voted blue in the last four presidential elections and has a Democratic governor-combined with Santorum’s conservative record, make the two-term Republican a leading Democratic target in 2006.

Popular state treasurer Bob Casey Jr. is set to run for the seat, and a recent Quinnipiac poll shows him leading Santorum 50%-39%. In more bad news for Santorum, 27 percent of voters have an unfavorable view of him, while only nine percent of voters view Casey unfavorably.

Santorum’s rigid and extreme views make him ripe for a challenge. Early polls suggest that Casey, who in 2004 was elected as treasurer with the most votes of any candidate in Pennsylvania history, could be the man to deliver him a defeat.

…And you can see what they are doing. Yes there will still be a primary but unless something drastic happens it will be nothing but a show.

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