Casey called 'Senator Zero'
Political pros on both sides of the aisle say Robert P. Casey Jr. is hard to beat because he is genuinely a nice guy, ethical and has a golden name in Pennsylvania politics. That's all true.
But the namesake of a former governor tends to be liberal, frequently voting in agreement with his friend President Obama. In the year leading up to re-election he cast himself as “independent” and voted sometimes against party wishes. In the Casey family mold, he is pro-life.
At the Democratic National Convention last week you might have missed him. He headed the state's delegation and was front and center on the floor. There was no speaking role for the state's senior senator. But U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz got one. So did Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter.
It defies logic to think Casey, if asked, would have turned down a speaking spot. It defies logic to think a guy who shoots hoops with Obama would not have been asked. It defies credulity to think if Casey asked, Obama would have said no.
But Casey said he didn't speak because he was too busy heading the Pennsylvania delegation. Even though Obama is now leading the polls in Pennsylvania, it appears that Casey wants to distance himself from the president.
Obama might be winning in some parts of the state, like Western Pennsylvania. But campaigning with Obama could be toxic. And why play into the hands of longshot GOP challenger Tom Smith, who is self-funding his campaign and continually links Obama and Casey?
One person close to Casey suggests maybe there was no convention speech because he's not a good speaker. Indeed, it's a wonder the drab and boring Casey was elected to anything. He went only slightly above his usual monotone delivery in complaining to the state delegation about how Republicans plan to dismantle Medicare. He even raised his voice a little.
But it appears that Casey is running from Obama and that he pivoted in Washington so he could not be labeled a 100 percent Obama and party supporter.
That's politics, of course. And in deciding between Casey and Smith, a self-made coal executive who began as a miner, one should consider their stands on issues. Democrats lambaste Smith for being a tea partyer. Thousands of voters would see that connection as a plus.
Smith rips Casey as “Senator Zero” for not getting a single bill passed. Casey shrugs it off.
I would love to have heard the conversation between Casey and Obama where Casey might have told the prez, “I'm with you all the way, but I can't get out front.”
Think that happened?
Brad Bumsted is the state Capitol reporter for Trib Total Media (717-787-1405 or firstname.lastname@example.org).
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- LaBar: Hulk Hogan wants to fight Brock Lesnar?
- Rossi: Time with Penguins taught Bylsma importance of stability
- Pirates’ Axford overcame long odds to reach majors
- New Kensington slaying victims identified
- Tuition pays for this?
- Century-old rivalry ending this season with Kittanning, Ford City meeting one last time
- Will soft foes mean fast start to the season for Pitt football team?
- Led by top QB, South Fayette offense among WPIAL’s all-time best
- Starkey: Stupid Steelers
- Kiss’ makeup has changed, but their impact remains strong
- Police charge Steelers’ Bell, Blount with marijuana possession