The LuLac Edition #82, Nov 5, 2006
PICTURE INDEX: 11TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT CANDIDATE JOE LEONARDI WITH LTN. GOVERNOR CONTENDER JIM MATTHEWS, THE LATE FRANK RIZZO, CONGRESSMAN PAUL KANJORSKI AND THE LUZERNE COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS, STEVE URBAN, GREG SKREPENAK AND TODD VONDERHEID.
DAYS TO ELECTION
THE RIZZO FACTOR
Again, I bring this up as election day draws near. The late Philadelphia Mayor Frank Rizzo provides a political lesson long after his death. Rizzo always was underestimated going into elections. He was trailing or not doing as well as he could have according to the polls. But once the votes were counted, Rizzo appeared stronger than indicated. Reason: voters lied to pollsters. Anytime a polarizing candidate is on the ballot like a Senator Santorum, there is sometimes a reluctance to share the information with a pollster. Look out for the Rizzo factor in a few races. The polls might say one thing, the voters quite another.
CONGRESSMAN KANJORSKI’S DAY AT SCHOOL
We referenced a talk Congressman Paul Kanjorski gave to students at East Stroudsburg State College. Here is an account on that visit from the Pocono Record:
Kanjorski tells students to take up civic life
Dan BerrettPocono Record WriterNovember 01, 2006
EAST STROUDSBURG — Rep. Paul Kanjorski wants college students to cast aside easy entertainment and take up the cause of civic life.Rather than playing fantasy football on the computer, students should help to build a library or hospital or fight for social justice, Kanjorski said during a lecture at East Stroudsburg University on Tuesday. "That's gutsy," he said. "That's fun. That's real."Kanjorski, who is in his 22nd year representing the 11th Congressional District of Pennsylvania, is running for re-election against Dr. Joe Leonardi, a Dupont chiropractor."We need your leadership," Kanjorski told the nearly 100 political science students during his talk on student activism and civic engagement. "You may think of politics as a dirty word. It's not. It's what moves people, what gets things done."He began by telling stories from his childhood, when he suffered from dyslexia. Kanjorski said he'd advanced through the third grade without knowing how to read. But he'd made up for the gap with a prodigious memory. "What weakness you have, you have a countervailing strength," he said.As he went off to college and, later, law school, Kanjorski saw how the spread of civil and women's rights had begun to transform the landscape."It was a white man's world," he said. With the advent of the 1960s, American women joined the workforce and pursued higher education. The country doubled its intellectual capital on the strength of women. "Guys didn't get any smarter."He distilled his life and political experience into three pieces of advice to the students. The first was to learn the art of debate and public speaking."If you haven't got the guts to stand up and state your position, you're no threat to me or my opponent," he said.Equally important was studying logic. "Demand that your leadership is logical, so you can discard fallacious reasoning," he said.The last element was learning the art of networking, which he'd benefited from as a congressional page during the Eisenhower administration. He'd met senators, congressman and cabinet officials.One was Harold Stassen, a former governor of Minnesota and perennial presidential candidate, who helped him gain admission to Dickinson Law School. "I'm in the twilight of my political career," Kanjorski said, and noted that he wanted to pass along his knowledge of Washington, DC to interns and pages.That town has changed, he said. The once-collegial atmosphere has slid into bitter partisanship."We've lost our middle," he said. "What the hell is this? Where's the gray?"He remembered flying last November with President George W. Bush to Tobyhanna Army Depot, where the chief executive was to deliver a Veterans Day speech.It had been one of the longest periods of time Kanjorski had been in the president's company, he recalled on Tuesday.At one point, Bush asked the Democratic congressman for his perspective. Kanjorski saw an opening.He told the president he thought he needed to put collegiality back in government."You've got to understand your opponent's position," Kanjorski explained.He told Bush about how some of his predecessors — including Harry Truman, Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton — used to play cards with about 10 members of Congress from both parties. These social gatherings brought ideas and people together."You talk, you get expressions, you get feelings," Kanjorski said on Tuesday.As they exited the plane, Bush told Kanjorski he'd call him. Four weeks went by and nothing happened.When he saw the president at a Christmas party, Kanjorski got his explanation."The reason I didn't call you was Karl Rove said you were too political," Kanjorski recalled the president telling him."What they were weighing was politics," Kanjorski said.Leadership demanded something different, he said. "Be a thinking man," Kanjorski told the students. "All things aren't clear on the first observation."
NOTABLE KANJORSKI QUOTES FROM TUESDAY'S LECTURE:
On hiring: "From my personal experience, I'd pick one woman over two men any time because they're more focused and have more energy. You better get on the stick, guys."
On President Bush: "We have a president who says either do it my way, or the other way is some dastardly thing," he said. "The president has exercised leadership by dividing the country."
On the students' future: "You have absolute control over the next 50 or 60 years of your life. What do you want written on your tombstone? On the steep costs of higher education: "What are you? A bonded slave. Why should we control 20 years of a student's life after graduation?"
On his abilities: "I'm a good salesman, a very good salesman, an excellent salesman. I'm cocky, if you couldn't tell."
On the genius of the founding fathers, especially Thomas Jefferson: "How old are you, 21? Can you imagine writing the Declaration of Independence at 32? If I lived until 250, I couldn't."
LETTERS OF IMPACT
In the meantime, a letter to the Editor to the same paper took the Congressman to task for not engaging in a debate with his opponent, Dr. Joseph Leonardi.
Kanjorski ducked debates with Leonardi
November 03, 2006
Editor, the Record:In the Nov. 1 Pocono Record, Congressman Paul Kanjorski was quoted from a speech at East Stroudsburg University, "If you haven't got the guts to stand up and state your position, you're no threat to me or my opponent."That confuses me. Congressman Kanjorski has been repeatedly invited to debate Dr. Joseph Leonardi, who is seeking to end Kanjorski's 22-year tenure.I read about the League of Women Voter forums, and Pocono Record interviews with candidates, but why not Dr. Leonardi and Congressman Kanjorski?Dr. Leonardi offered to debate Cong. Kanjorski "anytime-anywhere."Dr. Leonardi cannot afford full-color mailers, signs or expensive T.V. ads.However, you can visit his Website at leonardiforcongress.com.Does one need to be wealthy to run for Congress? I hope not.Should you be an intelligent, capable person? Yes!I challenge Congressman Kanjorski, to put his money where his mouth is and debate Joe Leonardi!
TERI VAN BRITSOM
THE CARNEY LETTER
Speaking of students and letters to the editor, how about the note Sue Henry read on her show Friday from a former student of Professor Chris Carney. Check this out:
Last year I enrolled in a Political Science class at Penn State Worthington, I would like to share my experience regarding the instructor of that course, Chis Carney, who is now running for congress.On one particular occasion that caused the class to shift uncomfortably in our seats, Mr. Carney asked for a show of hands as to who in the class was *Catholic* some of us reluctantly raised our hands-then Mr. Carney joined in the show of hands. He then asked, *who is pro-choice?* and he again raised his hand, adding that one could be pro-choice and catholic. I took exception to that statement, knowing the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church thumped Mr. Carney*s inflated view of his authority. The following week he shared his views on the state of our healthcare system and the need for a federal healthcare system. I challenged his beliefs with the sobering statistic that 40% of the people euthanized in the Netherlands, where medicine is government run, are *put down* , without the consent or consultation of the patient or family and they recently approved child euthanasia. I also shared my cousin*s experience with her Canadian grandmother who was told at the age of 70 to come back in 6 months after she was diagnosed with liver cancer. If she were alive they would start treatment if not, no need. She died.Needless to say, I could have debated most of Mr. Carney*s views but I wanted to pass the course so I did not challenge him, as I would have in another arena. Though, he freely shared his political aspirations and how he *had dirt* on Don Sherwood that was going to ruin him. Nice. Aside from the fact that we where told to wait 15 minutes for him, before assuming the class canceled, (which was too frequent for my money), his class was mostly about his personal life and rather uninspiring. My mother and I finally went up to speak to the head of student affairs, due to an incident that showed great inequity to all the students, (and that I must add was rectified) so everything I've said here is documented with the school. Personally, to sum up my personal opinion of Mr. Carney *he*s the one who has a lot to learn."
Songwriter Jim has these thoughts on the upcoming elections. Here are his predictions: Casey beats Santorum as long as the campaign ends soon and he doesnt bore people to death, but Santorum had the best ads! Carney over Sherwood in a close one, but no surprise if Don pulls it out with money and a machine. Rendel hands down!!! Swann needs to start lower like councilman or magistrate.
On National politics, here’s his unique take on Florida: Senate candidate Katherine Harris needs the Greta Van Sustern makeover medical team. Next to her Gretas a real babe. Further I propose that Florida be penalized by not being allowed to participate in national elections till they can do it honestly.
And on the state of Texas: Kinky Freedman, formerly of Kinky Freedman and the Texas Jewboys, another act I promoted in the mid 70s, is running for Governor of Texas as you prob'ly know. Did ya see his campaign slogan? "How hard can it be?" Hell, Kinky, the hard part is getting elected.His backup slogan is, "Why the hell not?" Author of several mystery novels, the "Kinkster" also inked the all time classic tune, "They aint makin Jews like Jesus anymore". Says he will appoint Willie Nelson to whatever cabinet position he wants. Good enough for me.
THE BOYS ARE BACK
Every election season, Luzerne County voters are treated to a commercial featuring the County Commissions touting the nuances of the new voting machines. Steve Urban, Todd Vonderheid and Greg Skrepenak calmly and methodically take the folks through a tour of the new computer voting machines. Kathy Bozinski does the voice overs.
RADIO SPOTS-BEST & WORST
Now that the campaign is winding down, I’ll critique some of the radio ads I heard.
THE BEST: Kristine Katsock: 121rst Legislative District, Republican. (Issue oriented, thought provoking, didn’t say anything that wasn’t true, good clear message.)
John Yudichak: 119th Legislative District, Democrat. (Two big issues handled deftly in one 60 second spot, Property Tax Reform and the fact that he did not vote for the pay raise. Effective.)
Joe Leonardi, Republican 11th Congressional District. (Emotive, nice compassionate spot that gives you an insight into the heart and soul of the guy. But he needed a companion piece to talk about the issues. Still, great ad).
THE WORST: Bob MacNamera, State Senator 20th District. (God awful ads that just weren’t focused. Grandpa and grand daughter on lawn of Capitol, sing song recitation of poetry. It was silly when they tried it against Randy Castellani in a past Lackawanna County Commissioners race, sillier now.
Lisa Baker, Republican, State Senate, 20th District, (re-ran primary spots. So much for creativity. The ad agency got a free ride on this one).
RICK, RUDY AND THE ROSARY
Rick Santorum brought Rudy Giuliani to Wilkes Barre Twp Friday night. The former New York Mayor accompanied by his relatively new wife and former Hazleton native gave a rousing speech on security and the need for Santorum to be re-elected. Former Reagan speech writer Peggy Noonan wrote a passionate column on behalf of Santorum. This was just too good not to repeat it. Here is what she said about our junior Senator:
We Need His Kind In praise of Rick Santorum.
It has been hard not to experience the election as a brute-force clash between two armies struggling over terrain their soldiers have come to see, inevitably--they are at war, they are exhausted--as the location of the battle, but not its purpose. The nation is where the contest takes place; you can forget, in the fight, that its actual future is what's being fought for.
But here's an exception: the state of Pennsylvania, which has been this year a bright patch of meaning. Its U.S. Senate contest has been the great race of the cycle, the one about which conservatives in their hearts most care. And not only conservatives, but those who know, for whatever reason and in whatever way, that there is something truly at stake here, something beyond mere red team and blue.
That would be Sen. Rick Santorum. The sense among so many people--including politicians and journalists--is that the Senate needs his sort, his kind.
The other day I called a former senator, a crusty old moderate Republican, and asked him if he liked Mr. Santorum. "No," he said, "I love him." When Mr. Santorum was new to the Senate, in 1995, he, the elder, seasoned legislator tried to mentor him. He wanted to help him survive. Mr. Santorum was grateful and appreciative, "but he kept speaking his mind!" The former senator: "The political scientists all say to be honest and stand for principle, that's what people want. And he was exactly that, and he's about to get his head handed to him." He chuckled then with what seemed the reflexive pleasure of one pol about to see another take a tumble. Then he stopped. It was sad, he said.
Being a U.S. senator is a hard job. I mean this not sarcastically. John F. Kennedy once observed that it carries within it an always potentially conflicting dynamic. He was a senator from Massachusetts, he said, there to look after the needs and interests of his state. "Who will speak for Massachusetts if her own senators do not?" At the same time, look at his title: United States senator from Massachusetts. He was a member of a deliberative body whose duty it was to look, always, to the national interest. Senators could not only be "special pleaders" for "state or section." He was there, in the end, to speak for America, to address issues greater and higher than those of region, state and party.
Rick Santorum's career (two Senate terms, before that two in the House) suggests he has thought a great deal about the balance, and concluded that in our time the national is the local. Federal power is everywhere; so are the national media. (The biggest political change since JFK's day is something he, 50 years ago, noted: the increasing nationalization of everything.) And so he has spoken for, and stood for, the rights of the unborn, the needs of the poor, welfare reform when it was controversial, tax law to help the family; against forcing the nation to accept a redefining of marriage it does not desire, for religious freedom here and abroad, for the helpless in Africa and elsewhere. It is all, in its way, so personal. And so national. He has breached the gap with private action: He not only talks about reform of federal law toward the disadvantaged, he hires people in trouble and trains them in his offices.
Santorum issues are hot issues, and raise passions pro and con.
His style has been to face what his colleagues hope to finesse. His opponent, reading the lay of the land, has decided the best way to win is to disappear. He does not like to debate. Mr. Santorum has taken to carrying an empty chair and merrily addressing it.
Mr. Santorum has been at odds with the modernist impulse, or liberalism, or whatever it now and fairly should be called. Most of his own impulses--protect the unprotected, help the helpless, respect the common man--have not been conservative in the way conservative is roughly understood, or portrayed, in the national imagination. If this were the JFK era, his politics would not be called "right wing" but "progressive." He is, at heart, a Catholic social reformer. Bobby Kennedy would have loved him.
This week I caught up with Mr. Santorum by phone as his van drove east along the Pennsylvania Turnpike toward Philadelphia.
He sounded joyful. He said this campaign was "the hardest and most wonderful ordeal I've ever been through." He said he's been taken aback by all the prayers, by all the people who've come from so far to help him. "I've never had that before. I've never had it. I met a guy from Seattle, and a guy from Waco, Texas--they came in for a week just to help me. We have 14 kids coming in from Great Britain!" He said, "Wonderful things are happening."
He sounded startled. And moved. And hopeful. Which is a funny way for a guy down 10 points to feel.
He told me something is happening. And I hope he's right. Because the U.S. Senate is both an institution and a collection of human beings, and it needs his kind.
I end with a story too corny to be true, but it's true. A month ago Mr. Santorum and his wife were in the car driving to Washington for the debate with his opponent on "Meet the Press." Their conversation turned to how brutal the campaign was, how hurt they'd both felt at all the attacks. Karen Santorum said it must be the same for Bob Casey and his family; they must be suffering. Rick Santorum said yes, it's hard for them too. Then he said, "Let's say a Rosary for them." So they prayed for the Caseys as they hurtled south.
A friend of mine called them while they were praying. She told me about it later, but didn't want it repeated. "No one would believe it," she said.
But I asked Mr. Santorum about it. Sure, he said, surprised at my surprise. "We pray for the Caseys every night. We know it's as hard for them as it is for us."
Personally I'll shed no tear for the careerists of either party who win or lose, nor for the BlackBerryed gargoyles in the second row of the SUV who tell them how to think and where to stand. That means this election night will be, for me, a dry-eyed affair.
But if Rick Santorum goes down to the defeat all expect, I will feel it. Like the crusty old moderate Republican, I know a national loss when I see one.