Posted tagged ‘pat toomey’

Will Toomey Be One?

May 21, 2016

Senator Pat Toomey, a Democrat from Pennsylvania, is running for reelection. His reelection has been labeled “at risk” and one of the senate losses which could lead to Democrats regaining Senate control. Democrats need net four wins and Toomey could be one. Hmmm.

Toomey has not been a terrible Senator (damning with faint praise) although he has lined up with the Republican majority on all major votes. As a past president of the “Club For Growth”, Toomey is an unabashed friend of big business and tax cuts for the wealthy. Hmmm.

So, one might expect Toomey would run on his record, especially against his Democrat opponent, Katie McGinty, who has no elective office experience. Instead, Toomey has opened his campaign with a “police and security” theme. Vote for Pat is a vote for protection and security. And what exactly is the risk?

One might think that a law and order advocate would also be in favor of a strong court system too. Yet Toomey has said he would not vote for Supreme Court nominee, Merritt Garland, even though Garland is well qualified. Toovey’s decision is clearly ideological and demonstrates his concerns that a less conservative Supreme Court would not be good for conservative causes.

Could global terrorism also be on Toomey’s mind? Voters seem spooked when there is a terrorist act someplace in the world. If Toomey could establish this worry in voters’ minds, how could voters then choose a woman?

This thinly veiled sexist campaign strategy flies in the face of logic. If Toomey was really worried about taking care of his constituents, one might expect him to also be an advocate for sensible gun control which account for over 50,000 deaths each year, or increased funding for heart disease research which takes over 20,000 lives each year, or increased motor vehicle safety which adds another 30,000+ to the death list.

But these tangible risk factors do not provide as effective a campaign platform as terrorism. Hmmm.

Pat Toomey is in a tough spot. His party has decided to just say “no” to what ever President Obama has proposed including the appointment of a Supreme Court justice. The consequence is there is no platform upon which Toomey could run on.

So beware. With clever advisors and strategists, Toomey will run on a bait and switch platform which does its best to avoid owning up to his actual Senate record.

Will Toomey be one of the GOP losses?

The Supreme GOP Decision Not To Act

April 13, 2016

Republican leaders and especially those who claim to be a conservative’s conservative have signed on to a completely hypocritical policy. Should we be surprised?

Antonin Scalia was a Supreme Court giant and eagerly applied strict constructionist views to law interpretations. For Scalia, the Constitution should be read literally as the “Founders” intended, not as one might think the realities of 2016 would imply. Hmmm.

Scalia also saw the Court as an equal branch of government and as such independent of the petty ways of Congress and the political twists of the Presidency. Scalia saw the Court as an arbiter deciding which laws were justified on a Federal level and which powers should be reserved for the States.

Strangely, Congressional Republican leaders have lost sight of this and instead are prepared to sacrificed Scalia’s record for wants and fears of Republican Party extreme segments. GOP leaders appear adamant that Judge Garland will not receive a hearing or an up or down vote this year.

In the past two days Judge Garland has had courtesy meetings with Senate Judicial Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley and Senator Pat Toomey both Republicans and both of whom are up for reelection this fall.

Following their meetings both men said Garland was impressive but their minds were not changed, that is, no hearings, no up/down vote until the Presidential election was held.

Lest there be no doubt the GOP decision for “no action” is pure politics reflecting “we have the majority, so we do this”. The GOP is also upping the stakes for what Democrats might do the next time they are in power, and even more importantly, the GOP seems unwittingly tinkering with one of the Democratic principles which has allowed our Government to rule even when there were great external or internal disagreements.

The GOP is playing with a core element of our Democracy and instead embracing that third world “stacking” of the judiciary.

For Pat Toomey, there is no doubt he would want a more conservative Supreme Court nominee than a very moderate Judge Garland. Toomey, a former President of the Club for Growth, however, is throwing caution to the wind.

Toomey is a Senator from Pennsylvania which will most likely vote for a Democrat Presidential candidate in November. Toomey’s mouthing of the GOP leadership line may get him campaign funds but it almost assuredly hand victory to his Democrat opponent.

The GOP leadership have selected a strategy which may produce more than one loser. For sure, precedent and following good order will be casualties. Four or more Senate Republicans up for reelection are likely to lose and Senate Leader Mitch McConnell can use his time from November to January to move his Senate Leader’s Office to just another office.

Pat Toomey – A Brave Man

November 6, 2013

In a procedural vote this week, the Senate advanced the ENDA bill which would ban workplace gender orientation discrimination.  The vote stalled at 59 for until one Republican broke ranks and voted yes.  At that point Toomey step up and added his vote (the 61st) and the filibuster was averted.  Was Toomey brave to run the risk of Tea Party and Evangelical wrath?

It did not take long to find out.  Hours later, Toomey announced that he would offer an amendment when ENDA was debated.  His amendment showed his real colors.

Toomey wants the legislation to include a religious exemption.  Hmmm.

What Toomey specifically means is that the Notre Dame football program which earns over $70 million per year competing in the rough and tumble college football league qualifies as a “religious organization”.  As such under Toomey’s amendment, Notre Dame, including its football program (which has not a trace of religion in it unless you hope Notre Dame beats the hell out of its opponent), could discriminate in hiring, promoting, and firing just because someone was homosexual or had chosen a different gender identity.

One simply has to wonder how politicians can parse this issue.  Why should it be ok to discriminate against anyone for any reason in today’s world?  (One certainly can argue about what constitutes discrimination and oppose legislation which is not clear.)

Toomey appears to be a competent person.  He carries, however, a lot of ideological baggage.  And these bags appear to be on the wrong side of history and out of step with the times.  Toomey voted to continue the government shut down, he voted against the Affordable Care Act, and now he is on record of being “for” and “against” ENDA.  It is this baggage that makes his voting record so confused.

Conservatives argue against ENDA along fairly predictable lines.  The notion that discrimination is in the eyes of the beholder and the only winners will be lawyers should not be dismissed as frivolous.  But the idea of a religious exclusion is laughable.  One could not pander any better.

Prudent, Or Just Being Realistic?

October 23, 2013

In today’s Philadelphia Inquirer, there is an interview with Senator Pat Toomey.  He was one of 18 Senators (along with Ted Cruz) who voted against the compromise legislation which has temporarily reopened Government.  Toomey said he was for reopening but against the pork spending that accompanied the reopening.  Was Toomey’s explanation prudent, or just being realistic?

Toomey faces reelection in 2016 and already Democrats are portraying him as a Ted Cruz disciple.  I suppose Toomey’s explanation is aimed at that sweet spot between Cruz’s “shut down, damn the injuries” and Toomey’s more “principled” stand “shut down, sob, sob, but I had to vote against the bill because it would not have savings to offset the debt increase limit”.  Toomey’s explanation also sits in the context that his former organization, Club For Growth, is full square behind shut down and default on the debt regardless of the consequences.

But Toomey is not the only leading Republican needing to step lightly.  Governor Chris Christy took a less combative stance versus same sex marriage.  Governor Christy originally objected to an appellate court’s decision that New Jersey’s Constitution guaranteed equal treatment under the law to all citizens and therefore same sex couples were being treated differently because they were denied Federal benefits.

The Governor withdrew his objection without comment.  Observers said the Supreme Court would have decided in favor of same sex marriage.  So was Christy’s decision “prudent or just being realistic”?


If Governor Christy has any designs on the GOP Presidential nomination in 2016, he will have to withstand the evangelical conservative’s wrath because he did not fight harder.

If Senator Toomey wants to be reelected, he will have to overcome those who think government closure and defaulting on the debt are  unwarranted.

Of the two, Governor Christy has made the wiser bet history will reveal.


Where Are You, Joe, When We Need You?

November 18, 2011

This post is not about Penn State’s Joe Paterno, or Joe DiMaggio for that matter.  It is about Joe Sestak who ran for the US Senate and was defeated in 2010 by Pat Toomey.  If only Joe had won, maybe we, as Pennsylvanians, wouldn’t have to be embarrassed and shamed by our elected US Senator.

Toomey, former Club for Growth President, has been billed as the Republican’s Senate lead dog on tax reform.  He’s on the Super Committee and has made the newspapers this past week with his statements indicating GOP willingness to accept some new tax revenues.  Is this a breakthrough?  I’m afraid not.

Toomey’s plan would trade income tax margin reductions for some tax code deductions.  The net he claims would amount to a $300 billion (read $30 billion per year) tax revenue increase.  Think about that.  The US has a $1 trillion deficit and the GOP proposes $30 billion in offsetting tax revenue increase!

Joe would not have proposed anything like that.  He can do the math.

But Pat Toomey’s proposal is not just about poor math.  It is about outlandish tax policy and abuse of fairness.  Toomey proposes lowering the margin rates from 35% to 28% for the top and lowering from 10% to 8% for the lowest tax bracket.  Think about this.

What is it about unfair income distribution that Toomey does not understand.  The wealthiest would see their marginal rates reduced 7% while the working person would only see a 2% rate decrease and possibly see that offset by the tax code deductions changes.  How could any Republican stand up and make a proposal as preposterous as that?  Joe would never do that.

The real wealthy, that is the top quarter of 1%, receive much, if not most, of their income from dividends and capital gains.  Under Toomey’s proposal they could still keep their 10% dividend/capital gains rate and get a new lower rate on the rest of their income.  Such a deal!

Toomey’s GOP proposal is both unfair and irresponsible.  It does practically nothing for decreasing the deficit and once again hands out generous favors to those who most can afford to pay more.  Joe would never do that.

The GOP spin suggests Democrats are not willing to make big cuts to entitlements.  That may be accurate criticism and if true why doesn’t the GOP layout entitlement cuts and offer in exchange fair increases in tax revenues?

Joe would do that.

The Road Not To Follow

February 3, 2011

It is getting a little spooky.  Under the pressure of deficit reduction, debt limit authorization, and the desire to repeal Affordable Health Care, Republicans are proposing some unbelievable solutions.  These proposals will in the end hurt Republican chances to remain in control of the House or have any chance for the White House in 2012.  Why do they keep beating themselves?

Freshman Senator Pat Toomey (PA) attached an amendment to a bill that would require the Government to pay debtors first should the US debt exceed the debt limits prescribed by law.  In other words Toomey says the US should pay interest on bonds (like those held by investors including China) before the US paid other obligations such as the military or social security recipients.  Where is the great friend of the fighting man now?

The increase in the debt ceiling should be a no brainer.  There is no way any serious plan to deal with the deficit can be put in place before the US passes the current legal limit.  The idea of paying some debts but not others puts into perspective how conservative Republicans see the world.  The average American simply has no place in this world.



Don’t Be A Sucker

November 1, 2010

Tomorrow is election day.  Every voter has a right to vote for whomever they wish.  Every voter should exercise this duty and take personal responsibility for the consequences of that vote.  But don’t be a sucker.

Case in point.  An estimated $2 billion will be spent on television ads for this election.  Most of that two billion will come from sources who actions and beliefs drive to protect or increase their person wealth.  In addition these people’s beliefs and actions most directly underly the current slow economy and inability to create jobs.  This money comes from billionaires and corporations who support policies that export jobs and stifle investment in US based jobs.  Never the less, the Supreme Court counts these corporate entities as people and grants them the right to say what they wish.

One of the claims made against Democratic candidates, by these murky sources, is that Candidate X voted to “gut” Medicare of $500 billion dollars and that is a direct attack on senior citizens.  In Pennsylvania, the Toomey campaign (and all those favoring him) are using this claim against Democrat Joe Sestak.  What are the facts?

In this year’s proposed federal budget, Medicare payroll taxes were estimated to be about $260 billion.  This compares to an estimated expenditure of $763 billion for Medicare and Medicaid benefits.  Or, in this years budget, the government foresees a $503 billion short fall in the Medicare/Medicaid area alone.  So, what do these conservative and Republican sources propose to do if elected?

In addition, the $500 billion is a ten year figure ($50 billion per year).  This figure results largely from reducing payments that flow to “Medicare Advantage” participants by capping the rate at which these plans can increase each year.

So any Pennsylvanian can vote for whomever they wish, but don’t become a sucker by believing the “cuts Medicare” claim.  More to the point, how can conservatives and Republicans criticize Joe Sestak (or any Democrat) for trying to control spending when they will be faced with the same situation which has only two options, cut services or increase taxes, or both.