The Dems went all out in Pennsylvania, today, for Senate candidate, Joe Sestak. President Obama, VP Biden and The Roots came together to pump up enthusiasm for Joe Sestak and PA Gubernatorial candidate, Dan Onorato. This high-profile event can't come nearly soon enough for Sestak, who has been facing an onslaught of privately (and secretly) funded ads for months now. Earlier this week, I read a comment here about how we should just give up on this race. But what's at stake in this Joe Sestak, Pat Toomey match-up, couldn't be more stark. I'm not ready to consign the entire country to 6 years of the next Santorum. Are you? This is what we'll be giving up on if we do...
Donate, volunteer and GOTV for Sestak.
What's at Stake. Sestak v. Toomey on the Issues
Joe Sestak has been campaigning on the economy. I know. What a concept. He has put together a comprehensive economic plan, one praised by President Bill Clinton. Some of the highlights of this plan are
Create and Retain Skilled American Jobs:
Invest in small businesses: Increase access to small business capital by securing Small Business Administration microloans; establish a mechanism for federally directed emergency small business lending to better weather economic downturns; expand federal procurement set asides for small businesses; and support a major investment (at minimum $250 million) in public-private business incubators to support entrepreneurial skills and development.
Close tax loopholes that encourage companies to ship jobs overseas and delay tax liability.
Restore American Innovation to Spur New Industries:
Support Major Federal Investment in New Industries: Incentivize private investment in innovative technologies and companies; expand the Small Business Innovation Program to include small business participation in federal and private projects; establish an office of angel investing to encourage micro-lending for new ideas; and expand graduate education and research programs in groundbreaking science and technology fields.
The financial plan also focuses on fiscal discipline, "harness[ing] regional strengths and driv[ing] public-private partnerships." Read the whole summary.
Bush Tax Cuts
As part of his economic plan, Sestak would end the Bush Tax Cuts for the wealthiest Americans, but keep in place the tax cuts for the Middle Class.
As for Toomey? He would extend all of The Bush Tax Cuts and was even caught on video, saying we should "eliminate all corporate taxes." Politifact gave the candidate an opportunity to refute these previous tax ideas, but Toomey's camp did not do so. Politifact gave the relevant the Sestak attack ad (video), a rating of "mostly true." For a transcript and fuller details of the ad, see this earlier diary.
Pat Toomey also happens to think the economy will recover on its own, if we just let it.
Toomey said that the U.S. economy can recover faster if government took more of a hands-off policy.
Moving on to health care...
Voted for Health Care Reform. Supported the public option and is willing to say so publicly, even now. Best of all, Sestak is running away from the health care bill in his public events and interviews, but rather is running on its accomplishments.
Sestak said the health care reform bills he helped pass as a U.S. representative help reduce the costs that small businesses pay to insure employees, which had been 18 percent higher than those paid by large corporations.
He also said the health care reform legislation passed this year will reduce the national debt by $1.2 trillion, adding that further legislation to remove anti-trust exemptions for insurance companies and to reimburse health care providers based on quality rather than quantity of care will make health care even more efficient and save money in the long run.
Among his other health care credentials, Sestak,
* Voted for Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act.
* Authored/Passed Legislation to Mandate and Fund Autism Treatment
* Voted for The Paul Wellstone Mental Health and Addiction Equity Act
More on Sestak's Health Care Record
By contrast, Pat Toomey wants to repeal health care reform and put in place the same old solutions the repubs have been offering since 2008. Tax deductions, medical malpractice reform and competition across state lines. Sound familiar?
Now what about Gender Equality?
Gender Equality and Women's Issues:
Sestak voted to eliminate wage discrimination:
* Original CO-SPONSOR AND VOTED FOR THE PAYCHECK FAIRNESS ACT
Places the burden of proof on employers when gender pay disparity exists, and protects employee whistleblowers.
* ORIGINAL CO-SPONSOR AND VOTED FOR THE LILLY LEDBETTER FAIR PAY ACT
Amends the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to increase the statute of limitations for gender pay discrimination.
For more of Sestak's Gender Equality Record.
Sestak has been endorsed by NARAL Pro-Choice America. Some other highlights of Sestak's women's issues voting record:
* Right to choose is part of securing future for women. (Dec 2009)
* Supports Roe v. Wade. (Nov 2006)
* Ensure access to and funding for contraception. (Feb 2007)
Toomey, on the other hand,
* Voted YES on banning Family Planning funding in US aid abroad. (May 2001)
* Voted YES on barring transporting minors to get an abortion. (Jun 1999)
* Rated 0% by NARAL, indicating a pro-life voting record. (Dec 2003)
Yes, that's a zero percent rating by NARAL. Voting matters. And the difference is just as clear on LGBT issues.
Sestak's record comes down squarely on the side of LGBT civil rights:
* CO-SPONSOR OF LEGISLATION TO REPEAL THE MILITARY’S DON’T ASK, DON’T TELL POLICY AND PUBLISHED OP-ED IN PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER (JULY 13). Voted to repeal DADT.
* SUPPORTS REPEAL OF THE DEFENSE OF MARRIAGE ACT (DOMA)
* CO-SPONSOR OF THE LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT HATE CRIMES PREVENTION ACT
* HUMAN RIGHTS CAMPAIGN 2008 GALA KEYNOTE SPEAKER
While some would put Toomey as even worse than former Senator Rick Santorum as far as LGBT rights are concerned. See, If You Thought Rick Santorum Was Bad...
As a former GOP Congressman from the late 1990s through 2004, Toomey put together a legislative voting record that's to the right of Ken Starr on LGBT issues. He openly supported a federal amendment to the U.S. Constitution banning gay marriage. He voted to ban gay adoptions in the District of Columbia. He voted for the Marriage Protection Act of 2004 (largely seen as an effort to completely overthrow the U.S. judicial system and usurp the power of federal courts and the U.S. Supreme Court).
And Michael Leegan of PFAW, put it this way (even though he got the first name wrong):
All the Republican Senate candidates oppose marriage equality and some, including Florida's Marco Rubio and Pennsylvania's [Pat] Toomey, call for a federal constitutional amendment that would deny any state from recognizing the freedom to marry. Nearly all oppose repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell, which they believe, in the words of Rand Paul, has "worked relatively well."
If we don't do our part to try to minimize the damage, and work hard to protect threatened Democrats who have been our allies, we're going to turn on the television and find ourselves listening to elected leaders who, when it comes to LGBT Americans, sound just like Pat Robertson, James Dobson, Tony Perkins, and Harry Jackson.
Update (h/t anyname): Governor Rendell put this year's election choice in these words:
a life-and-death struggle
"What the best way to prevent [Republicans] from tearing down the president? It's a four-letter word," the governor said. "Vote like your life depends on it -- because, you know, it just might."
Here's the bottom line: Sestak, Reliable and solid Democrat. Toomey, former president of The Club for Growth and possibly, the next Santorum.
Are you willing to give up on this race?
Donate, volunteer and GOTV for Sestak.
VP Biden introduced The President. The President gave a convincing speech. He told the crowd that they're counting on us staying home. We're not going to stay home. You can watch The VP and The President's entire rally speeches on CSPAN. Catch up on the timeline @OFA_PA. Or @BarackObama (thanks marabout40) There are also liveblog comments below about the President Obama, VP Biden, Joe Sestak event. Updates below
Update: Governor Rendell (former PA Governor) was interviewed on CNN, Don Lemon Newsroom. He stresses that there are 7 seats up for grabs in PA. 1 Senator seat. And one seat that could possibly go repub to Dem.
You look at the seven things that have gone into effect in the health care bill today already. Not one of them people object to.
I just give you one. No longer can children 25 years of age or under be denied coverage for preexisting illnesses. Well, everyone agrees with that. When I said it on Bill O'Reilly's show, he said, well, that's a good point, and he doesn't like the health care bill.
What our task is, is to get our voters to the polls and say to them, look, what's going on hasn't been perfect. There have been some mistakes made and we know you're disappointed by what's going on in the country, but this is not a referendum. It's a choice between two parties, two individuals, and the choice is absolutely clear.
Read the whole interview to hear Rendell tell it like it is.
Update (h/t anyname): The Washington Post's summary of The President's remarks . They put the numbers at 18,000 people. The rally photos look great at Barack Obama's photostream.
marabout40 posted pics of the crowd.
Local ABC affiliate coverage: With a snippet of The President's remarks and the report that a naked guy tried to rush the stage (and failed, thankfully). (The story is in the video, not the AP text below)
CNN has a number of quotes from the speech and a fairly positive report.
"Twenty months later, we no longer face the possibility of a second Depression," he said. "Our economy is growing again. The private sector has created jobs nine months in a row."
"There are 3 million Americans who would not be working today if not for the economic plan me and Joe put into action," he said, referencing Vice President Joe Biden, who was seated behind him.
The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that people lined up starting at 9 AM.
Obama appeared today along with Vice President Biden, U.S. Reps. Bob Brady and Chaka Fattah, Gov. Rendell and Mayor Nutter, as well as Democratic candidates Joe Sestak for U.S. Senate and Dan Onorato for Pennsylvania governor. The crowd booed Nutter twice
They also got the best quote of the speech:
"We need you to fight their millions of dollars with our millions of voices," the President said. "The other side is counting on your silence, your apathy and your amnesia."
Update - Youtube videos,
Ed Rendell's speech:
Snippet of VP Biden's Speech:
end of VP Biden's speech. President's speech Part 1.
President's speech, part 2
Full Speech. from local ABC affiliate.
Please comment below if you find a transcript.