He who pays the piper calls the Toomey | Blogh

Friday, February 12, 2010

He who pays the piper calls the Toomey

Posted By on Fri, Feb 12, 2010 at 4:22 PM

A bit of Friday-afternoon buzz is being generated by this piece on GOP Senatorial candidate Pat Toomey today.

The Allentown Morning Call is mostly upbeat about Toomey's prospects this November. The headline is "This time, the timing's right for Pat Toomey," and early on the story asserts:

If poll data is any indicator of how the Senate race will end in November -- and most argue it's way too early to tell -- Toomey could decidedly declare himself the victor. He has a comfortable double-digit lead in most surveys of likely state voters.

It contends that there's a marked contrast in the national mood since 2004, when Toomey last ran against the incumbent, Arlen Specter, who in those days was a Republican. (The piece doesn't even mention the fact that Specter also has a Democratic rival this year, Congressman Joe Sestak.)

But Democrats have latched onto a couple paragraphs in the story, wherein Toomey discusses the U.S. Supreme Court's Citizens United decision, which lifts many of the restrictions on election advertising by unions and corporations

Toomey supported the decision and said in the interview that ''the First Amendment applies when people join forces in the form of a corporation.'' He also said he doesn't think the court's decision will have much of an impact on this election cycle.

Toomey, an ardent supporter of business, is courting the most powerful companies in the country for support, including Microsoft, Chevron and Halliburton. Next week, a lobbyist for Caterpillar is hosting a fundraiser in Washington to raise money for Toomey and invited those companies and many more to attend.

"It should come as no surprise to Pennsylvania voters that Pat Toomey would support a decision that will only further concentrate power in the hands of big corporations," says state Democratic Party Chair T.J. Rooney in an statement. "While Toomey’s friends at Chevron and Halliburton will certainly appreciate his narrow-minded opinion, regular Pennsylvanians should be appalled."

The Democratic National Committee issued its own statement: "Toomey supports allowing corporations, even foreign corporations, to spend unlimited amounts of money to alter the outcomes of our elections," the release quotes spokesman Michael Czin asserting. "Pennsylvanians need someone who will stand up to the special interests not a lap dog like Pat Toomey who’s willing to just roll over and play dead."

I'm not sure how strongly the Citizens United case really resonates with voters ... though it is ironic that teabaggers, who decry Wall Street bailouts, aren't worried about giving Goldman Sachs even more political influence.

But I will say that the chance to defeat a candidate supported by Halliburton, of all people, should excite Democrats. And the chance to defeat a candidate backed by Microsoft should motivate anyone who ever dealt with Vista.