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I am a Chuck Pennacchio supporter. Now that that is out of the way, I've been wondering if Alan Sandals changed his position on parental notification and consent for abortion to curry favor with NOW PAC. To get to the bottom of this flip-flop (Sandals...flip-flop...oy) issue. I wrote a letter to the Sandals campaign addressing the matter.
To whom it may concern:

First and foremost, congratulations on the NOW PAC endorsement. It is certainly great news for Pennsylvania that NOW PAC has endorsed someone other than Bob Casey, Jr. for US Senate. I would like to know Mr. Sandals' current position on parental notification and consent for abortion. According to an interview with ( on August 1st, Mr. Sandals stated the following:

My view is to recognize the traditional Roe v. Wade approach. The hardest question, and I appreciate it more now being a father, is how to deal with situations where a parent would appropriately want to know, for all the best reasons, if some procedure were going to be done for a daughter who is a minor. But the laws in most states correctly say that if the minor has reason to fear that there will be some physical violence or some emotional repercussions, then there must be ways to get consent without parental involvement. Limited parental notification and consent requirements are about the only condition or qualification that I would think is appropriate [emphasis my own].

Recently, I have heard rumors that Mr. Sandals' position on parental notification and consent for abortions has changed. Is he no longer in favor of "limited parental notification and consent requirements?" If this is the case, I find it quite troubling in light of the NOW PAC endorsement. My immediate assumption would be that Mr. Sandals changed his position in order to curry favor with NOW PAC. While I approve of Mr. Sandals as a pro-choice candidate, I am concerned about his susceptibility to special interests. If this is all bogus, please correct me. I'll be happy. But if he changed his mind on this issue--on any issue--because an interest group offered him money and publicity, then who knows where his allegiances are. Will Mr. Sandals change his mind when ExxonMobil, Citibank, or Alcoa offers him money?

Shlomo Boudreaux

Alan Sandals responded to my letter; unfortunately, he evaded its primary intent. While I am extremely grateful that he composed a thoughtful, personal 700 word letter for me in one day's time--if only our current elected representatives were so prompt--I remain irked by his dodging of my abortion question. The third sentence of my letter read as follows:

I would like to know Mr. Sandals' current position on parental notification and consent for abortion.
In fact, the obvious intent of my letter was asking whether or not Sandals changed positions on parental notification and consent for abortion to obtain the NOW PAC endorsement. Sandals did not mention the words "parental, notification, consent," or "abortion" in his letter...Argh! However, Sandals does state that:
[he is] willing to accept contributions from non-business PACs, such as issue advocacy groups and labor and other non-business associations, whose positions on the issues are consistent with [his] own positions.
The only problem is that NOW's position on parental notification and consent for abortion is inconsistent with Sandals' stated position. According to Sandals (August, 2005):
Limited parental notification and consent requirements are about the only condition or qualification that I would think is appropriate.
According to Washington State NOW:
Laws which pressure young women to carry pregnancies to term are dangerous...Even with judicial by-pass provisions, parental notification laws in other states have caused up to an 18% increase in 2nd trimester abortions due to the delay of telling a parent or going to court. Other states with by-pass provisions have experienced arbitrary and unfair decisions depending on which judge heard the case. Some judges granted all requests and some judges granted none.
So, if Sandals' position on parental notification and consent for abortion is inconsistent with NOW's, why did he accept NOW PAC's contribution? Perhaps he flip-flopped on consent to appease NOW? This seems the likely case, given the statement in today's Philadelphia Inquirer that Sandals:
does not favor a parental-notification requirement. He said it would endanger some girls who did not "know how to navigate" the judicial system.

NOW PAC might also have chosen Sandals over Pennacchio--who has similar positions but a much stronger grassroots following here in Pennsylvania--because Pennacchio refuses all PAC money, while Sandals refuses some PAC money. The worry here is that Sandals, unlike Pennacchio, is willing to roll over for PAC endorsements and cash. Sandals claims that he won't accept PAC money from PAC's whose positions are inconsistent with his own, but this post seems to show otherwise.

Anyway, Alan Sandals' letter is posted in its entirety on my blog, The Cajun Jew, because this diary is too long already. Give it a read; it's a good letter. Don't get me wrong, Sandals would be an excellent alternative to Casey--definitely not as good as Chuck Pennacchio--but I do find the circumstances surrounding his NOW PAC endorsement to be suspect.

Originally posted to Shlomo Boudreaux on Fri Mar 24, 2006 at 03:02 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  whoa (0+ / 0-)

    an anti-Sandals diary.

    Haven't seen one of those before.

    "Even the President of the United States sometimes must have to stand naked"-Dylan

    by AnnArborBlue on Fri Mar 24, 2006 at 03:10:02 PM PST

  •  More like a Pro-Pennacchio Diary (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Well, I'm more pro-Pennacchio than I am anti-Sandals.  Sandals is much better than Bob Casey, and I would certainly vote for Sandals over Santorum. However, I actually believe in Chuck Pennacchio. Pennacchio has a way of speaking, much like Russ Feingold, that doesn't sound like bullshit when you hear it.

    Also, Pennacchio is not susceptible to pressure from PACs that give him money, because he refuses all PAC money. He's the kind of candidate that Daily Kos and the rest of the netroots players should be supporting. Sandals is good, just not great.

    •  I'm sorry to be mean (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Desroko, RB in Pgh, DemocraticLuntz

      and I know it's a cheap shot, but with Chuck's CoH, how much PAC money has he been offered? It's not like the AFL-CIO and the teachers unions are throwing money at him and he's fighting them off with a stick.

      "Even the President of the United States sometimes must have to stand naked"-Dylan

      by AnnArborBlue on Fri Mar 24, 2006 at 03:22:10 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  that's not really the point (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kim in philly

        Well, I think that is not really the point. Pennacchio has been against PAC money since day 1 of his campaign--that's his selling point. Or as "matt" commented on my blog, "Chuck's stance on PACs is his greatest strength and his biggest liability." Also, this is Sandals' first PAC endorsement, so he hasn't been beating them off with a stick either. Sandals just caved to special interests.

        Chuck does not need as much money as Sandals, Casey, or anyone running a campaign with paid staffers. Chuck has 6,000 volunteers who are helping to run his campaign. Pennacchio has not paid one dime to campaign staffers while Sandals and Casey have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on their campaigns.

        Besides, just because Chuck doesn't have the most money doesn't mean he has no chance. People like you and me and everyone reading daily kos should support Chuck with what they can.  

  •  Thanks for cheering me up (0+ / 0-)

    People being so earnest about something that is so utterly irrelevant just crack me up. You do realize your Mr. Sandalacchio or whatever is not going to win this primary, right? Tell me you do, and you have some other reason for taking up space on Kos's server?

    This is hilarious. Sort of like the Brewers playing the Royals while both are 30 games back in September. If you can stay awake that is.

    Sorry for the baseball analogy ... I'm tired.

    •  The Importance of Being Earnest (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      The bottom line is, I don't know what is going to happen in the primary. Yes, Bob Casey is certainly in the lead, but a lot can change in two months. As a Pennsylvanian, I can tell you that thousands of people in this state think that Pennacchio has a chance. Apparently NOW thinks that Sandals has a chance.

      What's wrong with supporting the underdog when he supports our values? Isn't that one of the primary concerns of the liberal blogosphere: helping progressive candidates run against entrenched party regulars who don't actually represent the will of the people?

    •  You drastically (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      underestimate the on-the-ground, in the state, progressive dem discontent with young Casey.  

      Bob Casey is a social policy disaster for the dems, and it is just too bad we seem to headed to finding this out the hard way.  The signs of Casey's inability to separate his policy ideas from his religious ideas are ominous and numerous!

      Political censorship is the root of all evil! It is the antithesis to a functional democracy!!

      by truthbetold on Fri Mar 24, 2006 at 04:47:39 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  ColoDem Isn't Paying Attention (0+ / 0-)

      Casey is leading Santorum, but that lead is extremely soft.  Over 30% of the pro-Casey respondents in polls regularly say that they don't know enough about Casey and/or they have a neutral/negative view of him.  This means that nearly a third of his support is merely anti-Santorum.  Most of the balance of his support is merely name recognition -- as the Quinnipiac and Zogby polls bear out.

      This kind of weak support has been responsible for Casey's previous historic lost leads.  In the Dem gubernatorial primary, Casey had a double-digit lead late in the primary.  He lost to  Ed Rendell by 12 points.  The same trend is showing in this race.

      In Quinnipiac's December Poll, Casey's double-digit lead devolved to a statistical tie with Santorum when Casey supporters were told that Casey was in favor of banning abortion and overturning Roe v Wade (which he is).

      And this was on only ONE of the major issues of the day.

      When voters learn that Casey is also supporting Bush policies on Iraq, stem-cell research, the death penalty, Alito, universal health care, the living weage issue, and others, Casey actually polls weakest against Santorum than either of his Dem opponents.

      Unlike Casey, his opponents, particularly Dr. Chuck Pennacchio, a history professor and foreign policy expert, are progressive Democrats who support traditional Democratic issues and values.  Unlike Casey, Pennacchio and Sandals endorse policies that align with the majority of Pennsylvania voters.

      By opposing Casey, Pennsylvania Democrats are seeking a candidate who can win in November.  Casey was selected (by  NY Sen Chuck Schumer) based on his name recognition and money raising ability.  

      This is the same tired formula which PA Dems have used for 44 years to select their Senatorial candidates.  This strategy has resulted in 14 CONSECUTIVE full-term Senate race losses in Pennsylvania.  

      Backing Casey is employing this same losing strategy and expecting a different result.

      Not caring and making light of serious challengers to an annointed Republican-lite candidate like Casey is just being silly.

  •  Bob 'Santorum-lite' Casey's shrinking support (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    moiv, kim in philly

    It's funny, the more people learn about Casey's positions, the further he drops in the polls. When people find out that Casey is Santorum-lite on many issues (choice, stem-cells, Iraq, Alito, etc.) they choose to vote for the guy with clout (3rd ranking Repukelican in the Senate) in DC.

  •  This shows why we need campaign finance reform... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kim in philly

    I believe that Chuck Pennacchio still has a chance to beat Casey.  After all, Casey has agreed to 2 debates in April.  These debates will surely get a lot of media attention, based on the number of AP articles that have been printed simply about the fact that Bob has been putting off debates.  If Chuck creams Casey and Sandals (which he very well could) then his support and recogntion could skyrocket in the next month.  

    Whether or not you believe that Chuck Pennacchio has a snowball's chance in hell of beating Bob Jr. in May, this diary is a great illustration of exactly the problem with our democracy today.  It illustrates just why we need candidates (like Pennacchio) who refuse PAC money.  Because even "good" PACs can buy influence over candidates.   For instance I believe labor unions generally support the common good, but occassionally they don't.  For instance, some unions push for pork barrel projects which serve the short term interests of one company or industry, but are a high cost to taxpayers, devastating to the environment, etc.    The only way we'll ever get a candidate who keeps all of their promises and actually represents their constituents is if he is completely independent of special interests.   We need serious campaign finance reform and Chuck is the only candidate in this race who will support it.  

    NOW promotes women's rights, which is good, but they take such an extremist stance that they won't even support a pro-choice candidate who wants limited parental notification (which I think most pro-choice voters support).  This is part of the reason that some women's rights groups didn't support Harris Wofford in 1994.  If NARAL or NOW would've ran some pro Wofford ads, maybe he'd be our Senator right now and we wouldn't have had to suffer with Sick Rick for the past 12 years.  

  •  Casey will be creamed in debates (0+ / 0-)

    From what I have seen of Casey, the guy can't debate at all. He can barely reason well enough to get from the beginning to the end of a sentence. He got trounced a couple of weeks ago trying to answer an interviewer's questions about, of all easy subjects, the PA legislative pay raise! If he can't answer easy questions about his record on the pay raise, how is he going to do well in a debate against skilled and charismatic speakers like Chuck Pennacchio or (if we are unfortunate and he wins the primary) Rick Santorum? Casey is going to be so pwned.

    •  Looking forward to it (0+ / 0-)

      I am definitely looking forward to the two debates between all three PA-Sen candidates. Casey and Sandals don't have one ounce of Chuck Pennacchio' charisma. The debates are scheduled for April 8th and 19th. Spread the word. We'll see what happens

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