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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

What's Up, Dok?

Posted By on Tue, Mar 10, 2009 at 3:57 PM

I think I was the first person to use that utterly obvious pun, right? Right. Now the rest of you don't have to. No need to thank me. 

Other scattered thoughts ... 

Peg Luksik is entering the race to challenge Arlen Specter. You may not remember Luksik -- it's been more than a decade since she's run for anything. But she's a staunch pro-life conservative who put up a surprisingly strong showing in a gubernatorial run.

Instant conventional wisdom: Peg Luksik might, ironically enough, be Arlen Specter's best shot at staying in office. Specter will likely be facing a challenge from Pat Toomey, another conservative -- Luksik might well split the vote of the GOP's lunatic fringe. (Which these days is pretty much the whole GOP.) Who knows? This could even exacerbate the party's divisions. Many moderates have clearly defected from the GOP already, but there are still competing types of crazy.

Toomey might appeal more to economic-conservative nutters -- people who are motivated by tax policy more than anything else. I'm thinking of your Glenn Meakem types here. Luksik's chief appeal, meanwhile, would be to social-values crazies who are motivated mostly by the plight of frozen embryos. I'm thinking of your Diane Gramleys here.

OK, maybe not. But it may not be that much more unrealistic than the other fervent hope of the left:  the hope that Specter will defect and join the Democrats:

It's no secret in Pennsylvania that Gov. Ed Rendell is also rather fond of Specter, the two sharing a warm relationship. With Rendell and the Keystone State's strong labor community firmly behind him, it really makes little sense for him to engage Club for Growth honcho Pat Toomey in a Republican primary he is more than likely to lose. The pieces are really falling in place for Specter to make the leap and switch parties.

We'll see.

****

I haven't said much about the Democratic endorsements this past weekend, mainly because they were so unsurprising. Our friend Schultz tries to make something of the fact that Mayor Luke Ravenstahl only got 79 percent of the party's commitee votes despite running unopposed. But look, it's the Democratic committee we're talking about. Twenty percent of committee folk probably had to take their meds halfway through the voting process, or got confused by all the flashing lights. I don't see any reason for Ravenstahl's challengers to despair here, but I see little cause for enthusiasm, either. 

A more interesting result is in City Council District 4, where Anthony Coghill narrowly lost to Patrick Reilly for the endorsement. Reilly had the backing of Pete Wagner, a former ally of Coghill. Natalia Rudiak ended up with only a handful of votes, but as I've noted before, she may be helped by the old-guard candidates bleeding off votes from each other. The endorsement result may be a bit of evidence of that very trend.

***

Finally, speaking of political insurgents, we turn to the buzz surrounding F. Dok Harris' campaign. Specifically, this post by Matt Hogue. 

Matt's a sweet fella, and I think he's doing a public service by posting the mailers that committeefolk get from candidates. But this post is not his best work.

Apparently, it's somehow Harris' fault that his father, legendary Steelers RB Franco Harris, chose to move outside the city when Harris was a kid. Also, it seems Harris once wrote a letter to Bill Clinton ... expressing concerns over the methodology of a math-competency test for public-school kids! Yes! I'm telling you! 

There may be a legitimate question or two raised by this post: Time and digging will tell. And since Ravenstahl's behavior at football games has been such an issue to his critics, they can't complain if Harris' own social activities become a subject of speculation.

But for now, what's most telling about this post is how many comments it has attracted from apparent supporters of Luke Ravenstahl. I wasn't sure how seriously to take Harris at first -- originally I thought his campaign might be a hoax. But I get the feeling that the mayor's folks, at least, are taking him plenty serious. 

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