Sunday, July 03, 2005

Here She Comes Again

In politics, there are a lot of people who make you just wish that they would go away and never come back. Some of them seem to go away yet keep coming back anyway. Barbara Hafer is just that sort of politician.

Over the past twenty-five years, Hafer rose from serving as an Allegheny County Commissioner to Pennsylvania Auditor General and Treasurer. In 1990, she ran for Governor of Pennsylvania. Her pro-abortion campaign went beyond obnoxious to the point that I half expected her to start ripping open pregnant women's bellies and eating the babies. And she was the Republican candidate! Her opponent, incumbent Governor Bob Casey, was very level-headed and provided quite a contrast to his bombastic challenger in the televised debate that I saw. For perhaps the only time in my life, I decided to cast my vote for a Democrat. I still do not regret it. Hafer should have never been elected to public office in the first place.

The only reason that I voted for her each time she ran for Auditor General and for Treasurer is that sometimes you need a rabid bulldog to guard the farm.

She's been off the farm for a few years now. After failing to obtain Republican Party support for a second run at the Governor's office in 2002, she switched party allegiance to the Democrats and supported Ed Rendell. Did I say "switched"? More like she settled in where she belongs. Seeing as how her abortion rhetoric could be summed up as "kill babies, not women", she would have been welcome in the Democrat camp at any time.

She wasn't as welcome as she might have liked to be. Hafer expressed an interest in running for Rick Santorum's US Senate seat in 2006, but the PA Dems chose Robert Casey, Jr., the son of Hafer's former rival, as a candidate more likely to do damage to Santorum's base. Not to be completely shut out, Hafer continues to weigh her options.

This time, she is looking at the 18 Congressional District seat currently held by Dr. Tim Murphy. This would not bother me except for the fact that I LIVE IN THIS DISTRICT. I don't expect her to win, but I will still have to suffer through several month's worth of her presence on my TV screen, in my US Mail, and in my internet news. Why won't she go away? Because her party doesn't want her to:

"[Rep.] Mike Doyle called me and said, I want to show you something," Hafer said, referring to the Democratic congressman who represents the adjoining 14th District. "When a politician says he wants to show you something, that always means a poll."

"I'm not a candidate but I haven't ruled it out," Hafer added. "I need to talk to the governor; it's easy to get into a race but it's tough to get one up and running."

Notice the difference between this race and the last two races she was interested in. The Republicans in the 2002 Governor's race and the Democrats for 2006's Senate race told her "thanks, but no thanks" when she announced her intention to run for those offices. This is different. The party wants her. Perhaps they need a bulldog this time.

Look for this race to focus on Health Care. Incumbent 18th District Rep. Tim Murphy is a child psychiatrist by vocation. Barbara Hafer was a nurse in a former life. That was over a quarter of a century ago; Murphy was still a practicing psychiatrist until about nine years ago, but keeps abreast of happenings in the field of health care and keeps constituents informed via his regularly distributed "Healthcare FYI" reports. If Hafer does indeed decide to enter the race and defeat the field of no-name challengers in the Democratic primary, it should be a very interesting race indeed.

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