On the surface, the proposal Sen. Bob Casey made this week at 30th Street Station seems like it was designed in a lab to infuriate Philly-hating rural Pennsylvanians, to make Daryl Metcalfe hulk out in a rampage of sputtering anti-transit rage.
In fact, let’s break the proposal down into its component parts just to savor those effects a few seconds longer, shall we? Here’s the idea that Casey offered:
Read more »
Huffington Post reports that conservative Democratic Sen. Bob Casey has shifted his position and now backs same-sex marriage. ”After much deliberation and after reviewing the legal, public policy and civil-rights questions presented, I support marriage equality for same-sex couples and believe that DOMA should be repealed,” Casey said in as tatement to Philadelphia Gay News. Following his recent change-of-position to favor new gun-control laws, observers say that Casey is growing increasingly distant from his Republican base—and may have to jump ship to the Democratic Party to preserve his electability.
(Checks notes.) Wait. Casey is already a Democrat? Who knew?
Senator Bob Casey Jr. has furrowed his bushy eyebrows over Harrisburg, condemning a Republican plan to change the allocation of the state’s electoral votes in presidential elections. “That we wouldn’t speak with one voice, the way we always have, would put us at a disadvantage,” Casey said.
Currently, as in most states, all 20 of Pennsylvania’s electoral college votes are awarded to the candidate who wins the majority of the state’s votes. In Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi’s plan, Pennsylvania would adopt a proportional system, in which candidates would split the votes, based on the percentage of the vote they won.
Naturally, Democrats are upset–under this system Mitt Romney would have received 8 votes (rather than 0) and Obama would have received 12 (2 would automatically be granted to winner, on top of the proportional victory) last year. But though the GOP-led bill is politically driven–and a more moderate version of an even more blatant proposal to skew the vote in their direction–it wouldn’t be such a bad idea if scaled nationally. As I wrote last month:
On its face, Pileggi’s statement that the system “much more accurately reflects the will of the voters in our state” is correct. This system actually brings America closer to a National Popular Vote–something liberals have long lobbied for. Here’s the problem–the effort to effect this sort of policy over the last couple years has taken place almost entirely in states that vote Democrat in presidential elections, but are controlled by Republican legislatures. In other words, in an ideal Republican world, red states like Texas would remain winner-take-all, and blue states would become proportional, thereby increasing only the number of GOP electoral votes. If every state went proportional (or better yet, if we got rid of the electoral college altogether), then Pileggi’s proposal would become quite a bit more palatable.
For now, though, the priority for Dems like Casey will be to nip this bill in the bud. [Inquirer]
Gov. Tom Corbett can rest slightly more easily: Sen. Bob Casey, perhaps the best-known Democrat in the state of Pennylvania, has decided to sit out the next gubernatorial election. The Delco Daily Times reports:
Casey, who met with the Delaware County Daily Times editorial board this morning, was adamant that he has no plans to run for governor.
“My plans are to be in the United States Senate for six years,” he said. “That plan is etched in stone.”
But he won’t throw his support behind any other Democratic candidate at this point:. “I hope we can avoid an expensive primary,” he said.
As for much of the country, the Sandy Hook massacre proved the tipping point for Bob Casey. Long a supporter of gun rights and other quintessentially blue-collar Pennsylvania things, Casey said last month that the shootings “should haunt every public official.” A couple days after Barack Obama has officially made an assault weapons ban part of his gun control agenda, Casey has signaled he will indeed vote for such legislation. Though it’s interesting that he’s done it a day after using some pretty cautious, non-committal language. Is the anti-gun lobby proving powerful? [CBS 3]
Bob Casey has come out forcefully in favor of a ban on assault weapons and high capacity magazine clips, marking a staggering shift for the career-long anti-gun control politician. In 2007, Casey rejected a call for new legislation after the Virginia Tech shootings, saying, “no man-made law will ever eliminate cruelty and evil from every human heart.” He made a similar comment in August, after the Aurora massacre. Now, lobbied by his wife, and he says, his conscience, he’s flipped. “The power of the weapon, the number of bullets that hit each child [in Newtown], that was so, to me, just so chilling, it haunts me,” Casey said. “It should haunt every public official. [Inquirer]
Don’t get your hopes up for Pennsylvania’s senators to lead the fight for increased gun control. Pat Toomey, no surprise, got an “A” when he was running in 2010. And Bob Casey, one of the gun-friendliest Democrats in the upper chamber was downgraded during this year’s election from an “A” to a “B+” not because he softened his stance, but because he supported Obama and cast confirmation votes for Supreme Court Justices Sotomayor and Kagan. And the NRA’s non-endorsement of Casey’s opponent, who did receive an “A,” spoke volumes. Tom Corbett, another “A,” also joined a successful 2009 Supreme Court lawsuit that sought to strike down handgun restrictions in Chicago. In turns out the bar is so low for tough talk on gun control here, that the Allentown Morning Call ran a story this morning reporting that Casey had “softened his stance” on gun control. Based on this statement: “Addressing [violence] will require a comprehensive strategy that acknowledges all of the factors that contributed to this tragedy and takes every appropriate step to protect our citizens, especially our kids.”
UPDATE 11:02 am: Mother Jones asks all 100 U.S. Senators if they’d re-institute the assault weapons ban that expired in 2004. Toomey didn’t respond and Casey’s office was a “Maybe.”
Seems Bob Casey read my recent item on Starbucks’s new $450 stainless steel gift cards. Outraged at wasted holiday spending, Casey is sponsoring a bill called the “Gift Card Consumer Protection Act,” which would mainly eliminate all gift card expiration dates. Casey claims that in 2010, $2.5 billion was left unspent, as gift cards idled indefinitely in our wallets. That’s a big number, but not one that’s doing any harm. Whether or not a card is redeemed, the gift-giver’s money is gone. Likewise, the company has already been paid ahead of time, and saves a little inventory when nobody cashes in. Finally, gift recipients just don’t get gifts, which isn’t really anybody’s problem but their own. This appears to be a classic lame-duck session bill, spun with a holiday twist. Especially since the federal government already passed legislation in 2009 that achieves almost exactly the same purpose. [CBS 3]