Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Line 'Em Up, We'll Knock 'Em Down

The race for Congress in the Pennsylvania 18th district is really heating up -- or getting even more boring, depending on how you look at it. Yet another candidate who will never receive my vote has declared her candidacy. So far, the Democrats have a fishmonger, a legacy candidate, a cipher, and a bitch vying to run against Tim Murphy. (There's an Allegheny County row officer looking for new work, but he hasn't declared yet, so we'll ignore him for now.)

The newly declared bitch candidate is best known for conducting a one-woman war against Rick Santorum over the infamous residency issue. If you recall, Rick purchased a house in Penn Hills as his primary residence, but spent most of his time living in another house in Virginia so he would be closer to work. (For the geographically ignorant, Virginia is across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C., where Rick Santorum was employed as a United States Senator.) Not only did he want to have a home close to work, but he wanted to be close to his family. Where he went, so did his family; thus the reason that he purchased a second home in Virginia rather than renting an apartment as many federal officeholders do.

There were a couple of issues at work here. One was the question of Santorum's primary residence: If he and his family spent most of their time in Virginia, and rarely set foot in the Penn Hills house, was he actually representing the state in which he lived? This was a valid question, because he won his first campaign for Congress in 1990 by running against an incumbent on this very issue. Most Democrats and even a lot of Republicans had a big problem with Santorum's ostensible Virginia residency in 2006.

The other big issue became the pet cause of the aforementioned bitch candidate. Rather than sending their kids to the local public school, or to a private institution, the Santorums chose to educate their kids through an online cyber charter school. Home cyber-schooling is a great option to have. My kids have been in cyber school for the last couple of years. It combines the best aspects of the public school system (there is a certified educator who oversees each grade level) with the freedom of homeschooling. Parents take a more active interest in their children's education, instead of leaving them in the hands of total strangers five days per week.

In the case of the Santorums, cyber schooling allowed the children to proceed with their studies while staying at the Virginia residence, hence the public outcry. Cyber schools are public schools, and receive funding from local school district taxes. Each child who studies online takes money away from the brick & mortar schools. The local Dems raised a fuss: if the Santorums aren't living in Penn Hills, then they should not avail themselves -- indirectly -- of local funds to educate their kids online. Eventually, it was dealt with; the state paid for whatever cyber school tuition Penn Hills refused to support, and the Santorums switched over to regular homeschooling. The matter was closed -- but some fallout lingered.

Now, while I don't entirely disagree with the people who protested the residency and school funding issues, I have a big problem with the fact that the Penn Hills Dems were motivated to use these issues against the Santorum family for political as well as personal reasons. The school board is controlled by Democrats. A leading board member is also head of the local Democrat party organization. These Dems hate Rick Santorum. They hate anything smacking of school choice, even if it's a public school option. Why not make an example of Rick Santorum over it? I'm sure there must be other parents who travel and have to take their children's cyber education on the road with them for long periods of time. Why not seek out and go after some of them, too?

You wouldn't see it reported this way in the paper, but it was pretty obvious that the bitch lady was trying very hard not only to take down Rick Santorum but also to discredit public school alternatives. She succeeded in doing the former; as for the latter, that's another matter. The public flap over the cyber schooling made more parents aware of it than if no one had stepped forward to make an issue out of it. My family might not have considered this alternative if it hadn't been for the publicity it received in Penn Hills. No such thing as bad publicity, after all.

Speaking of which, the extended controversy put the bitch lady in the news both locally and nationally, including the dreaded Fox News. She is famous, and not just for fifteen minutes. I saw one picture of her in the paper a couple of years ago; she looked nice and pretty, but when you heard what she had to say, all that sweetness turned sour. Not content with bringing down one of the top Republican senators in the country, she wants to move up in the world by running for Congress. I can't help wondering what kind of shit she is going to bring up to hold against Tim Murphy, assuming she gets past the four or five other Dems in the primary. She likes personal attacks, so if nothing else, she will make the race more entertaining than the one last year.

As for what's wrong with her, she is quoted in the Psychosis-Gazette article (linked at the top of this post) as saying, "We're not getting the federal funds that we deserve". Cripes. Does every Democrat running for Congress in this neck of the woods have to come on like John Murtha? I'd like to know exactly what she wants federal funds for. Or, more to the point, what she wants money stolen by the federal government from private citizens for. Vote for me, and I'll come back from Washington with buckets full of money!

Another quote from her: "I believe that I can make a difference because I am middle class, I'm a working person and I know what working people need." It pisses me off when someone uses this kind of rhetoric to bullshit their way into the public trust. Let's analyze. She has a belief. This tells voters that she isn't lecturing to them. That's a good way to start; most politicians do that. Next, she can make a difference. Of course she can -- she belongs to a different party than the sitting Congressman. Meaningless. That brings us to the "because": She's middle class. So am I. It doesn't mean I relate to her in any way, shape or form. Hell, she's probably better off than I am. Then, she's a working person. So am I. I spend 37.5 hours per week at my job, where I do paperwork, data entry, tinkering and other manual labor. What does she do? The only thing we know about her "work" is that she's a school director, which is a part time job that requires you to spend a lot of time sitting down talking. But that's irrelevant, because she knows "what working people need". I call bullshit on that as well. Nobody knows what I need. She certainly doesn't. Sometimes I don't even know what I need. A true representative should listen to the voters, not tell them that she already knows what they need. In just two sentences, she has effectively convinced me that voting for her would be a terrible, terrible idea.

She's the kind of Democrat that makes me glad to be a registered Republican.

1 comment:

jipzeecab said...

hehe, Thanks for letting us all know how you really feel about this unnamed politician who happens to share a first name with a niece of mine..