So yeah, Joe Sestak's win over Arlen Specter is pretty exciting. But it wasn't all good news for progressives this election season. Some of us Joe Hoeffel supporters, for example, are smarting over the epic fail of his gubernatorial campaign.
I mean, I think we all knew Joe wasn't going to win, but fourth place? It hurts.
So by way of a consolation prize, here's the wit and wisdom of Bill Peduto on why the Hoeffel campaign wasn't a total waste of time -- a recording made Tuesday night, just a few minutes before Hoeffel formally threw in the towel.
Hoeffel, Peduto argues, helped bring Dan Onorato and Jack Wagner towards the center on social issues. And for progressives in far-flung outposts like Erie and Scranton, he's a reminder that they aren't alone. (They just don't have enough friends yet to do better than fourth place in a statewide race.)
Oh, and as a bonus, listen to the last few seconds, where Peduto -- who's taking some grad school courses these days -- discusses how hard he'll work for Dan Onorato's election this year.
Still not feeling upbeat enough? Let's consider the bright side of the outcome in state House district 20, where mayoral brother Adam Ravenstahl beat a splintered field of challengers, and blogger fave Tim Tuinstra finished last.
The upside here? Down the road, this outcome may allow the House of Costa to avenge itself on Clan Ravenstahl.
Remember that after the 2010 Census is compiled, population shifts are likely to cost Allegheny County one or two seats in the General Assembly. As Chris Briem pointed out some time ago, district 20 is on the short list of districts that could end up on the chopping block. If that happens, the district would be merged with its neighbors, with their representatives potentially fighting over the newly consolidated territory. And guess who might end up pitted against Ravenstahl?
None other than ... Dom Costa, the former city police chief whose 21st district borders Ravenstahl's.
Costa, of course, is a distant cousin to Guy Costa, the former city Public Works head who had a major falling-out with his former boss -- Adam Ravenstahl's brother, mayor Luke Ravenstahl. Not surprisingly, Guy's been keeping somewhat different company since then.
As for Dom Costa, he resigned as police chief in 2006, citing health concerns. But it later came to light that Costa felt pressured to promote a politically connected cop by Dennis Regan -- a powerful figure in the early days of the Ravenstahl administration. I'm guessing he wouldn't object too strongly to a chance at putting some pressure on the mayor's brother next time around.
Did I mention Regan lost his own election battle this week? Oh, I did. Something else for progressives to celebrate!
And if you still don't feel better, take a cue from the Tea Party folks: Just declare victory and depart the field.
The emerging consensus is that Tuesday wasn't great for Tea Partiers. Democrats won a highly watched special election in Pennsylvania's 12th Congressional District, and Tea Party faves like gubernatorial candidate Sam Rohrer didn't impress voters.
But the Tea Party sees the silver living. (These folks are big on precious metals, after all.) A Philly branch of the movement, the Independence Hall Tea Party PAC, has sent out a press release announcing that it "has claimed victory in Tuesday's Pennsylvania Primary for its endorsements of Pat Toomey and eight other winning Congressional candidates."
Uh, okay. Given that Toomey was up against only token opposition -- anti-choice extremist Peg Luksik -- claiming that the PAC's support helped him secure victory is like claiming that your prayer to the Sun God helped usher in the dawn. What's more, Tea Party head Sean Carpenter asserts that Toomey "should also be given credit for Arlen Specter's defeat" becuase he "literally chased Specter out of the US Senate" by compelling Specter's party switch.
Uh, guys? Joe Sestak might deserve a BIT of credit for Specter's loss, doncha think?
Similarly, the PAC boasts that of the 11 Congressional candidates it backed, nine (including Toomey) won. But most of those races weren't competive. Four Tea Party-backed candidates -- including two incumbents -- were facing no primary opponent at all. Another two Tea Party choices were incumbents who, like Toomey, were facing only token opposition at best.
That leaves four races which at least look competitive on paper ... and the Tea Party got only half of those. To me, that's a draw rather than a victory. But whatever. The larger question is: Why are Tea Partiers -- the ultimate throw-the-bums-out voters -- supporting incumbents in the first place? Hell, the Indpendence folks backed Charlie Dent over another Tea Party challenger, Mat Benol.
"If we really mean what we say, we have to endorse candidates who can win in November, candidates of principle," Independence Tea Party President Don Adams has explained.
I hate to be the one to say this, but ... this is the first step in the process by which RINOs are made, friends. Such thinking almost made Arlen Specter the Democratic nominee in November.
Though I guess somehow, it's all thanks to Pat Toomey that he isn't.