PA’s Rep. Tim Holden, a conservative by any standards, lost last night to a rich guy named Matt Cartwright, who spent nearly $400,000 of his own money in the race.
Alrighty then! A rich guy winning doesn’t warm the cockles of my little black heart, but a Blue Dog losing sure as hell does.
The other PA Blue Dog who became unemployed was Jason Altmire. He was defeated by Mark Critz. Critz isn’t very left of center by any stretch of my imagination, but the labor unions backed him over Altmire who also voted against the HCR Act and with the R’s on many other issues.
A few Blue Dogs lost last night! Yes indeedy!
As change goes, it's not much. I'm not sorry to see either Altmire or Holden gone, but whether their replacements will be anything besides more of the same remains to be seen.
Meanwhile, there was also some bad news from Pennsylvania:
Self-funded coal-mining millionaire Tom Smith won a five-way Republican primary to take on Sen. Bob Casey (D). While the moderate Casey isn’t considered vulnerable, Pennsylvania is a swing state and Smith could force Democrats to spend some money on this race.
Mark Critz defeats Jason Altmire, Matt Cartwright beats Tim Holden
Pennsylvania isn't the most progressive state on the East Coast. In fact, there's reason to think it doesn't get much more conservative north and east of the Mason-Dixon line. Nevertheless, Bob Casey, an anti-abortion, anti-pretty much anything progressive whose principal political asset seems to be the undying support of the Pennsylvania Democratic Party machine, is an example of progressive underachievement when it comes to electing people who represent our values.
Bob Casey is also a prime example of why the idea of mounting primary challenges enough to make Congress more progressive is a non-starter. As a symbolic gesture, it’s great, but as we’ve seen time and again, the machine protects its own. Pennsylvania and DC Democrats are both run by machine politics. The machine in PA loves it some Bob Casey, so Casey will get whatever he needs to get back in office. Any primary challenger, and Casey did have one this time, will be up against the full resources of the Democratic Party. Ask Joe Sestak what happens when the machine doesn’t get what it wants.
Unless progressives can be a somewhat united front that tells these machines that in order to get our support this and this and this will happen, then they will continue to treat us with the contempt we’ve earned by not doing the things we obviously have to do politically to get what we need.
And yes, I mean that progressives have to demand this, which means they'll have to sit out or find alternatives to Democrats when they don't play ball. Until we're as ruthless about this as the NRA or the TEA Party, we aren't going to see anything but more of the same crap we've been getting.
Of course, if you like that, keep voting for it, and keep letting all those "progressive" front groups continue to support it.