Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Santorum, Casey, and the Religion Issue

This morning's Tribune-Review has an insightful article that looks at the role that religion may play in next year's U.S. Senate race in Pennsylvania between incumbent Republican Rick Santorum and Democrat challenger Bob Casey, Jr. On the surface, there is not much of a contrast. Both candidates are adherents of the Roman Catholic faith, and the Trib's comparison of their respective positions "on key issues with religious connotations" reveals very little that distinguishes one from the other. No matter. A race for federal office should focus on key issues with constitutional implications. This is more important to Republicans than it is to Democrats, and is going to be the biggest problem that Santorum will have with his base in this campaign. Just look at the comments section in just about any Santorum-related post at Grassroots PA to see what some Pennsylvania conservatives have to say about the Senator.

Now let's see what we can glean from this article:

Santorum, 47, a Penn Hills Republican, has long championed faith-related initiatives in his rise to national prominence. But Democrats point to Casey, 45, of Scranton, as the party's poster boy for a new faith in some of that old-time religion.
Casey is two years younger? He looks old enough to be Rick's, uh, "older cousin", as Mr. Kotter would say. If this race turns into a beauty contest, Bob Casey is in serious trouble.
In July, Senate Minority Leader Harry M. Reid, D-Nev., launched a new Web site aimed at religious voters, titled "A Word to the Faithful." One picture shows Reid and others, apparently in a Senate office, with their heads bowed in prayer.
Hah. Senator from the Planet Brothel. Were they praying, or preying?

In November, Democrat Timothy M. Kaine won the Virginia governor's office by talking on evangelical Christian radio about faith in politics, running television ads that highlighted his Christian missionary work in Honduras, and handing out red, white and blue "Catholics for Kaine" bumper stickers.
This is a switch. Democrats usually unite evangelicals and Catholics against them. I worry anytime religious types vote left. It usually means that they've thrown the Constitution out the window and decided that the US Treasury is the world's greatest charity.

Santorum said he's comfortable talking about his faith, although he doesn't anticipate religion becoming part of the campaign.

"I'm not running for bishop. I'm running for the U.S. Senate," he said.

I certainly hope it stays that way. If this race turns into a contest to see which guy is more Catholic than the other, I'm voting third party.

2 comments:

jipzeecab said...

It amuses me that 17 years ago the national democrats wished that Casey's dad would just go away when he wanted to make a pro life speech at their convention. Now they find themselves desperate to wrap themselves in religious cloaks and the only one who legimately can do it is Casey, Jr.
I always heard that Rick was from Mount Lebanon until he suddenly needed Penn Hills property for his online school..

Nicko McDave said...

Yeah, the old Congressional district that Rick Santorum won in 1990 made it easy for him to shuffle across town like that. It was a strange alignment of communities, which one teacher of mine described as looking like a donut with a bite taken out of it, surrounding Pittsburgh. I repeated this description to a friend of mine while in college, when Doug Walgren was the local Congressman. "That's perfect for that cake-eating Democrat," was hs reply.