Joe Sestak

The Second Debate Mix: What To Expect

The second Democratic Presidential debate will take place on Thursday, June 27 from 9-11 pm on NBC and MSNBC.

It includes the following ten candidates:

Joe Biden

Bernie Sanders

Pete Buttigieg

Kamala Harris

Kirsten Gillibrand

Michael Bennet

Marianne Williamson

Eric Swalwell

John Hickenlooper

Andrew Yang

The group includes the former Vice President and US Senator; four other US Senators; a member of the House of Representatives; a Mayor; a former Governor; and two independent, out of government candidates.

This debate has more of the so called “heavyweights”—Biden, Sanders, Buttigieg, Harris—with the other six candidates seen as much weaker in likelihood of long term survival.

Joe Biden must defend himself as the clear front runner, and avoid any more gaffes, after some controversial statements about his past ability to cross the aisle and work with past racial segregationists, as well as his continued habit of touching and hugging women and children, violating their personal space. He could be harmed by a poor performance, but one must remember how good he was in debates in 2008, and against Sarah Palin and Paul Ryan in Vice Presidential debates in 2008 and 2012.

Bernie Sanders will come across strongly, but has many concerned that he cannot carry the nation in the upcoming Presidential election, with the fact that he embraces the word “Socialist”, which can be abused by Trump and the Republicans against him. He will be engaged in major combat with Biden for sure, as Sanders attempts to overtake him in future polls and fundraising.

Pete Buttigieg has been involved in a major crisis as South Bend, Indiana Mayor, with the recent murder of a black man by city police, and he is under attack for the racial troubles involving the law enforcement community. He should do well in the debate, but can he overcome the massive lead of Biden and Sanders over the rest of the contenders, is the question.

Kamala Harris should come on strong as well, but will need to clarify her stand on the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which she compared months ago to the Ku Klux Klan. The assumption is that she will continue to flourish and possibly grow in support.

Some people think Marianne Williamson and Andrew Yang, outsiders who clearly have great ideas and intellect, might shine, but somehow, this author and blogger does not see it succeeding.

Of the remaining four, it seems to this author and blogger that Eric Swalwell has the best shot of survival, just a gut feeling, but that Kirsten Gillibrand, Michael Bennet, and John Hickenlooper have little chance of lasting much beyond the first couple of months of the debate season.

My gut feeling is that out of this group that Biden, Sanders, Buttigieg, Harris, Swalwell, and possibly Williamson and Yang will survive to go on for another day.

This would make the 20 candidates diminish to 12—-and one can say only possibly Steve Bullock, Montana Governor, who was not allowed in the first set of debates, might still have a shot of those few who are not in this debate, leaving Seth Moulton, Congressman from Massachusetts, and the new announced candidate, former Pennsylvania Congressman Joe Sestak, out in the cold.

So expect out of 23 candidates, 13 will make it to the future debates.

Senator Arlen Specter’s Farewell Speech: Condemnation Of Chief Justice John Roberts And Associate Justice Samuel Alito On Judicial Activism, And Of Right Wing Republicans! :(

Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania is retiring after a distinguished 30 year career, plus having served in local government, and on the staff of the Warren Commission investigating the assassination of President John F. Kennedy almost a half century ago.

Specter, often seen as a difficult man to work with, and possessing a large ego, lost his Senate nomination race to Joe Sestak after switching back to the Democratic Party that he had long ago been a member of, until he converted for a long time to the Republican Party.

Specter was head of the Senate Judiciary Committee during the hearings for the nominations of Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justice Samuel Alito, and today he denounced both Justices for violating their testimony during the hearings, which indicated they believed in precedent (stare decisis), but then proceeding to use judicial activism and violating the separation of powers doctrine, particularly in the Citizens United Case in January of this year, allowing unlimited spending by corporations after nearly a century of strict regulation by Congress of such actions.

So Specter joined the criticism of President Obama, enunciated by the President in his State of the Union Address, which annoyed both Roberts and Alito, with Roberts making a clearcut statement of dissent, amid hints that neither Justice might attend future State of the Union Addresses, which if actually done, would be highly inappropriate.

Specter also condemned right wing Republicans such as Jim DeMint of South Carolina, who worked against moderate Republicans in a number of states, causing the loss of seats for the party.

One thing about Specter–he does not worry what others think of him, and his leaving Congress will make it a less interesting and principled place for sure!

The Major Losses Of The Democratic Party In The Midterm Elections! :(

It is true that the Democratic Party had major losses in the Midterm Elections of 2010, particularly in the House of Representatives, but it is also true that much of the loss in that chamber was of “Blue Dog” Democrats–moderate to conservative Democrats who were afraid to take a stand for the Obama Administration on many issues, tried to act like Republicans, and were rejected by voters who preferred the “real” Republicans to phony Democrats!

So if one looks at who were the major losses for the Democrats, they are as follows:

Senator Russ Feingold of Wisconsin
Congressman Joe Sestak of Pennsylvania, Senate nominee
Governor Ted Strickland of Ohio
Alexi Giannoulias of Illinois, Senate nomineee
Jack Conway of Kentucky, Senate nominee
Bill White of Texas, Gubernatorial nominee
Scott McAdams of Alaska, Senate nominee
Congressman Ron Klein of Florida
Congressman Tom Perriello of Virginia
Congressman John Boccieri of Ohio

At the same time, there were many satisfying victories for Democrats, and the advantage now is that the Democrats who survived or were elected, in most cases, are REAL Democrats with sharply different views of issues than the Republican Party!

What the country does not need are TWO Republican parties, one “real” and one phony! 🙁

The Contrast Between Rand Paul And Joe Sestak

This past week, two names became large factors in politics.

In Kentucky, libertarian Rand Paul, the son of Texas Congressman Ron Paul, upended the Republican establishment by soundly defeating Trey Greyson, the establishment Republicans’ favorite, backed by Kentuckian and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell.

In Pennsylvania, Democratic Congressman Joe Sestak defeated the administration backed candidate, Senator Arlen Specter, for the Democratic nomination.

Paul, a newcomer to politics backed by the Tea Party Movement, proceeded to self destruct when he made controversial statements about the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 on various interview shows. He then blamed the “liberal” news media, complained about not having a “honeymoon”, claimed “exhaustion”, and canceled an appearance for today on Meet the Press, becoming only the third person in the 62 year history of that news show to cancel after accepting an invitation to appear!

One has to say that if he has “exhaustion” from just having to defend his libertarian views after winning the nomination, and if he cannot handle the stress involved in running for office, then you have to wonder if he stable enough to be a United States Senator or, imagine this, become a candidate for President of the United States! 🙁 As Harry Truman once said, “if you can’t stand the heat, then get out of the kitchen!”

Paul is obviously a gift that keeps giving to Jack Conway, his Democratic opponent, and the likelihood of Paul “crashing” may very well take the Tea Party Movement and the libertarian view of government down with him!

At the same time, Joe Sestak, who had a 30 year career in the US Navy and reached the level of two star Rear Admiral, and is the highest ranking former military office currently serving in Congress, proved he was able to overcome the Democratic “establishment” and the Obama Administration, which favored Specter and gave no aid to Sestak.

Sestak has reveled in his victory and is constantly seeking publicity and interviews, and with his naval background, he seems on paper to be an excellent choice to defeat former Congressman Pat Toomey, a favorite of the Tea Party Movement, for the Senate seat.

The contrast between these two victors last Tuesday could not be more different, and indicates the likely future of both in the fall campaign! It will certainly be interesting to follow these two Senate races!

Who Gained From The May 18 Primaries? The Democrats And Progressives!

It is interesting how many see the results of yesterday’s primaries as a defeat for President Obama!

Since Obama supported Senator Arlen Specter, because he helped the Democrats on important legislation after switching parties last year, it is argued that Obama lost! But actually, he gained in the long run by having the more “progressive” candidate and a “true” Democrat, Congressman Joe Sestak, defeat Specter!

Obama may have backed Senator Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas in a party loyalty way, but the fact that the more “progressive” opponent, Lieutenant Governor Bill Halter, forced Lincoln into a runoff primary for June 8, by her failure to win a majority of the vote in the the three way race, is seen as leading to the likely nomination of Halter in the final two candidate election in three weeks!

The fact also that the moderate to conservative Democrat in the Pennsylvania district long represented by the late John Murtha, a former aide to Murtha, won the congressional seat by almost ten points over his Republican opponent, despite a large investment of money and advertising by the GOP, is also seen as a major Democratic win!

And although the Tea Party people feel they have accomplished a great victory with their libertarian candidate, Rand Paul, son of Texas Congressman Ron Paul, over the “establishment” Republican candidate in Kentucky’s Republican primary, it will likely be a mixed blessing as the attack against the extremist views and statements of Rand Paul will be one of the highlights of the 2010 Congressional elections! This is NOT a great moment for the “Establishment” Republicans or Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell! Rand Paul represents an attack on just about everything that most Republicans profess in domestic and foreign policy!

It is noticeable that neither House Republican leader John Boehner of Ohio, nor Republican National Chairman Michael Steele, had much to say today about yesterday’s election results! It is obvious that they realize their party is being marginalized, while the Democrats have seen a swing to the left, but not a move toward anarchism, which will never solve the problems this nation faces!

Arlen Specter’s 30 Years In The Senate Come To An End!

Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania has had his distinguished 30 year career in the Senate ended by Democratic primary voters, who elected Congressman Joe Sestak as a sign of change that they see as necessary!

Specter, who only switched to the Democratic Party last year, failed to accomplish his goal to have a sixth term in the Senate, but it is clear his time was up, as there was no realistic way that he would have been renominated if he had remained a Republican!

Always an individualist and maverick with the tendency to be moderate to liberal, depending on the issue, Specter often showed courage in his years in the Senate, and his willingness to back President Barack Obama on the economic stimulus and health care legislation was crucial to the passage of both bills!

For that, of course, Tea Party people and conservatives hated his guts, but Specter will go down as a man of great ambition and ego, and often demonstrating a difficult personality, but also at key moments doing what many would term the “right” thing to do!

His career was distinguished enough, and he dealt with enough controversial issues over three decades, that we can see that he will be well remembered, and will have historians and biographers want to research and produce scholarly works on the impact he had on American history!

Being already 80, and having survived two bouts with cancer, Arlen Specter can be described as a “profile in courage”, who will not be forgotten when the history of the last thirty years is written! May he enjoy a retirement that he deserves!