This is good news indeed. Casey, by virtue of his family name alone, is a powerhouse in PA politics; you’d have to be to boot an incumbent Senator by a 60-40 margin. What’s more, he draws his appeal from the same group of voters (blue-collar whites) that Obama’s had the most trouble with. This, combined with the dispatching of Paul Tewes to the state, may just give Obama a fighting chance there.
That all being said, no. Just no:
Is it just me, or are there crazier vice presidential picks than Bob Casey? He may not be a star in the Senate, as Eve points out. But he’s popular with the people Obama is weakest among, and who, if Obama were the nominee, would be at greatest risk of defecting to McCain. (Also, don’t confuse inside-the-beltway reviews with home-state appeal.)
Pennsylvania defections are a real concern for Obama given how close the state’s been in recent elections. It’s a state that, under any conventional electoral map, the Democratic nominee has to carry. I’d bet the idea of putting Casey on the ticket has come up in Obamaland in recent days.
I was really worried that Noam wouldn’t realize how dumb this is until the end of his post, where he notes:
One obvious hitch: The pro-choice groups would probably go nuts since Casey opposes abortion.
Gee, ya don’t say? Look, I’ll vote for Obama in November regardless. But I’d really have to hold my nose if Bob freakin’ Casey’s on the ticket. There is a practically infinite pool of pro-choice pols and former cabinet members to choose from for the Veep slot. A Democratic nominee must have a really, really good reason to choose an anti-choice one. There are circumstances where such a reason exists; Tim Roemer has enough national security cred and Obama loyalty to offset his retrograde social views. But Bob Casey Jr. is famous for two things: being an anti-choice Dem, and being the son of the single most noxious anti-choice Dem to ever hold elected office. Anti-choice Democrats are rare enough that they need to demonstrate, if they want to hold major office, that (a) they aren’t going to actively advocate against women’s reproductive rights and (b) are substantially better than most Democrats in another policy arena. Casey has done neither of those things; indeed, he’s specifically called for the overturning of Roe v. Wade, and voted for Roberts and Alito’s confirmations. I don’t just want the next administration to appoint pro-Roe justices; I want it to appoint anti-Casey ones, something that the son of Casey is unlikely to work toward. It took me a lot to support Casey in his 2006 Senate race. It”’ take a lot more for me to be willing to let him within 500 feet of the Naval Observatory.