Thursday, March 13, 2008

There's a competitive race for the Fifth Congressional District of Pennsylvania for the first time in twelve years. It's a heck of a mess over on the Red side of the aisle with nine contenders. Luckily, I got pissed off in the spring of 2003 & re-registered as an ass, er, I mean Democrat. This means that I only have to care about the *Democratic* primaries, and have no say in the other contest, and thus, justifiably, no reason to care until after the primaries are over. I've only got a choice between three candidates. They are as follows:

Mark B. McCracken. The only thing I know about him is what I've read in the CDT, namely, he's a county commissioner from Clearfield, and has an ill-thought-out "bring 'em home now" position on Iraq. I don't think so.

Rick Vilello, the mayor of Lock Haven. Again, never heard of him before now. And frankly? Mayors in Central Pennsylvania are nonentities. I couldn't tell you *Bellefonte*'s mayor without resorting to Google. (I checked, far as I can tell, it's still Stanley Goldman.) The point here, is that it isn't really a serious stepping stone. His position on Iraq is worse than McCracken's - glib, stupid, and dangerous.

Finally, there's Bill Cahir, my carpetbagging Iraq-war veteran neighbor. As expected, his position is solid and uncontroversial - like Hillary Clinton on a very good day, or a typical moderate-Republican office-holder on a terse day. See it through, political goalposts, training, don't leave chaos behind us, etc. Exactly what you'd expect from someone from the O'Hanlon side of the Party.

Oh, would you look at that - somebody's put up wiki pages on the candidates. Here's McCracken's. Hmm. Lots of stupid talk about fiscal responsibility. As if a freshman from the sticks would get on the Appropriations Committee. I mean, Peterson is, but he's been around for a good long while. They don't make you a cardinal during your first term, Mr. Commissioner! And frankly? A Clearfield politician pushing for *ethanol* is just a purblind fool. He should be stumping for coal-to-gasoline if he had his constituents actual interests at heart. Plonk.

Rick Vilello doesn't have a wiki entry, but he does have his own, awful-looking campaign site. He seems to think that lumber is an alternate fuel source. I'm not sure if that means methanol or woodburners. His issues page sounds like bad Obama - all cheap parallel rhetoric and airy assertion. The bottom-most part of the page actually *rolls off the template*. I'm still not sure what exactly he proposes for "Economic Development and Rural Development", except by that construction he considers them distinct and separate items...

Here's Cahir's wiki. Igh, he worked for both Ted Kennedy and Harris Wofford. That's not a good sign. Iraq proposals in detail... what's "Operation Homeward Bound"? That sounds fraught. Google brings up something which I don't think is the same thing, given the internal details. Economically speaking, he seems to be a big "government partnership" guy, which isn't good. I'd hope that we'd all learned better during the Nineties, but I guess statism and borderline corporatism is an occupational hazard among Beltway denizens, and one of Cahir's biggest weaknesses is that he is a Beltway denizen, first as a Senate aide, then as a reporter on the congressional beat. His big-brain interventionist healthcare proposals require serious tax increases, so that's a big "no". But at least there's some details here.

At first pass, looks like I'll be voting for my carpetbagger neighbor in the primaries, but I'd have to be offered a pretty repulsive or lunatic alternative to vote for him in November. He's too statist on taxation & government intervention for me to be happy with him given what I'm seeing, but he seems better than the other Democratic alternatives.

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