Tags: Democrats | Play | Hardball | Pennsylvania

Democrats Play Hardball in Pennsylvania

Wednesday, 09 March 2005 12:00 AM

On March 3, she was being quoted in the newspapers as saying, "We are in it." Then Schumer, liberal stalwart of New York, this year's leader of the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee, informed her that they preferred her successor, Bob Casey Jr., conservative Democrat, better vote-getter, against Rick Santorum. And now that he had finally yielded to the entreaties of various senators and agreed to run, could she please step aside because she would lose and it would not be pretty, and he would be the better candidate. And she tried to fight it for a minute, release her own polls, point out that she would be publicly humiliated perhaps, because she was already in the race, but it was too late. There was nothing in place. So out she went, and in came Casey.

Ellen Malcolm, the head of EMILY's List, got tipped off that it was coming. Women got calls. Pro-choice women were angry. But what are you going to do? It was, as they say in politics, a done deal. Besides, these are the good guys, from the point of view of the people complaining. What do you say when the henchman is the mensch from Brooklyn, and Ellen Malcolm, the head of EMILY's List, gets tipped off in advance?

Two years ago, or 10, even Chuck Schumer wouldn't have pushed the woman out of the race to give the man the clear shot. Is that progress? You don't have to be politically correct, you have to be tough. We've already proved we're pro-choice, now we have to prove we're not dogmatic.

Of course, women don't actually have equality – but it's a measure of the Democrats' determination right now that no one has spoken up very loudly in protest, notwithstanding the transparency of Hafer's exit from the race.

The danger for women, of course, is that the minute you get into the game, the rules change. Pro-choice women increasingly are running, just as the Democrats discover that choice is a big-tent issue again. Who knew?

It all makes sense from Chuck Schumer's point of view, as a way to maximize the likelihood of winning. But if you're a pro-choice voter in Pennsylvania, or a woman trying to break in, you hit a brick wall the minute you look up. In Pennsylvania next fall, you get a choice between a conservative Democrat and a very, very conservative Republican. Now, if you're a liberal pro-choice woman, what are you supposed to be excited about?

I don't know if Barbara Hafer said she was getting out for the proverbial family reasons, but in the exchange of the polls, she tried to make clear that Pennsylvania could be a pro-choice state – and that was getting sacrificed in the process. Among women in Washington, the tradeoffs were clear ... and Hillary's support keeps growing.

COPYRIGHT 2005 CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC.

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On March 3, she was being quoted in the newspapers as saying, "We are in it." Then Schumer, liberal stalwart of New York, this year's leader of the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee, informed her that they preferred her successor, Bob Casey Jr., conservative Democrat,...
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2005-00-09
Wednesday, 09 March 2005 12:00 AM
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