Friday, May 18, 2018

The GOP Has Found Its Sharron Angle For 2018... In Pennsylvania


The GOP, particularly the NRSC, is starting to acknowledge they have their first Todd Akin/Richard Mourdock of 2018: Lou Barletta. In 2012 when Joe Donnelly was winning a Senate seat in Indiana and Claire McCaskill was being reelected in Missouri because their opponents were judged by voters as too insane and extreme, Bob Casey was running in Pennsylvania against a mainstream conservative, Tom Smith. Casey won 53.7% to 44.6%.

On Tuesday, following the recommendation of Señor Trumpanzee, Pennsylvania Republicans dealt the NRSC an unwindable hand. Barletta's entire career has centered around deranged racism-- fine in a Republican primary, not so fine in a general election. The Washington Examiner would rather blame Barletta's inability to run a competitive race on "his lackadaisical, disorganized effort" than on his racism.
Trump rallied support for Barletta in a string of Wednesday afternoon tweets. But the congressman is taking fire from Republicans at home and in Washington who worried that he is relying too much on the president to boost his flagging Senate bid. Barletta has been a disappointing fundraiser and been too slow to ramp up a capable statewide campaign operation, his critics charge.

"The sense is, nobody knows what the fuck he’s doing," a Republican strategist with Pennsylvania ties said, requesting anonymity in order to speak candidly. "He's not really working it hard. It's a sad thing, because people like Lou."

"Casey should be vulnerable," this Republican added. "But Lou is just like a ghost."

Red flags about Barletta were raised anew after he won the party's Senate nomination on Tuesday with 63 percent of the vote despite being Trump's handpicked candidate and enjoying the support of Pennsylvania's GOP machine. The fourth-term congressman defeated little-known and underfunded state legislator Jim Christiana. Barletta's camp dismisses the criticism, pointing to Casey receiving only 62,000 more votes than those in the GOP primary combined despite registered Democrats outnumbering Republicans by more than 800,000. They also insist that Barletta isn't running a sluggish Senate bid.
Fundraising is a real problem. Barletta looks not just like a crazy racist, but like a crazy racist loser. Even Republicans who like crazy racists, don't like losers. As of the last FEC reporting deadline Bob Casey had raised $16,432,140 and had $9,927,813 cash on hand. Barletta had raised $2,942,100 and had only $1,314,990 left in his war chest. and some of his biggest contributors will go over poorly with Pennsylvania voters: the American Bankers Association, the Koch brothers, frackers, crooked pharmacy outfits and Mitch McConnell.

Barletta got his political start in 1999 as mayor of Hazleton (population 25,000), where he earned a national reputation as a xenophobic asshole demonizing Hispanic immigrants. He introduced legislation making English the official language of Hazleton while allowing the city to deny business permits to employers who hired illegal immigrants and gave the city authority to fine landlords for renting to illegal immigrants. His ordinance was struck down as unconstitutional in a federal district court and, when he appealed, again by the U.S. Court of Appeals. Barletta vowed to take it to the Supreme Court-- but never did, instead using his racism and xenophobia to run win a congressional seat-- with the endorsement of KKK Grand Dragon David Duke-- against a crooked Democrat, Paul Kanjorski in the 2010 GOP wave election. Since then he has been active cultivating anti-Semites, Muslim-haters, conspiracy theorists, and xenophobes who want to end all immigration. He and Trump have a mutual admiration society.

He's also a bad campaigner and at a fundraiser last week with Pat Toomey, a Republican operative reported that "of the 20 people, 15 of them fell asleep. He's just not a good speaker."
The operative also said that Barletta's campaign has been disorganized and that selling the right story in the right areas of the state has been a constant issue. At one point, according to the operative, Barletta suggested having Trump come to the Philadelphia area for a fundraiser in April or May, but the idea got scrapped immediately due to the president's unpopularity in the region.

"You don't bring Trump down here. He's poison," the operative said. "The problem is the campaign seems disorganized, disjointed. I don't think they have a game plan... You've got to use the message where the message sells. It's alright to talk about not letting any illegal immigrants in, but you don't use that in the city of Philadelphia, or Reading... or Lancaster."

Despite the criticism, Barletta still has one big thing going for him: Trump's backing. The president tweeted three times on Wednesday in support of the former Hazleton mayor, including two aimed at Casey, who he derided as a "do-nothing senator" and "Bobby Jr.," referring to his father, Bob Casey, the late former governor of the state.

The campaign also argues that Trump is more engaged in the race than anywhere else in the country, with the president having recorded a robocall ahead of primary day, along with the series of tweets from Trump and Vice President Mike Pence. The campaign also said they are having active conversations with the White House regarding a campaign stop to the state by one of the two White House heavy hitters.

While Trump appreciates Barletta's steadfast support throughout the 2016 campaign, Republicans believe the president needs to be increasingly engaged in the state for both Barletta's sake and for his own. The president won Pennsylvania by just over 44,000 out of more than 6 million votes cast.

"I assume [Trump's] running again. He says he is. Well, this is a nice little trial run of your team and of your ability to attract votes in one of those key states he has to win in the fall," Santorum said. "This doesn't just help Lou. This helps the president "

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At 7:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"You don't bring Trump down here. He's poison"

If only more communities across this land felt that way.

At 9:36 AM, Blogger edmondo said...

"Barletta ...earned a national reputation as a xenophobic asshole demonizing Hispanic immigrants."

He sounds like just about every Republican in Congress.

"...a crooked Democrat, Paul Kanjorski..."

Sounds like just about every Democrat in Congress. Can't wait until November where I get to choose between a racist and a crook. Or just stay the fuck home.

At 11:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The GOP gave us their 2016 Sharon angle... and we elected the pos as our fuhrer!

Why wouldn't they find more of them?

At 11:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Even with everything you point out, there is a zero percent chance I vote for Bob Casey.

Hopefully Casey has a fatal aneurysm or heart attack and Gov Wolf appoints a decent human being to run on the Democratic line. Otherwise, gotta vote Green or write in


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