Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Primary Voters Still Want Change They Can Believe in

Today primary voters in Pennsylvania and Kentucky ignored the party establishments' recommendations and voted for the outsider. Kentucky's Republicans selected Dr. Rand Paul over Trey Grayson, the candidate backed by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky). Jack Conway, the more liberal of the two Democrats running in that primary, edged out Lt. Governor Dan Mongiardo in a closely fought election.

Further north, Democrats selected U.S. Representative Joe Sestak (D) as their party's nominee for the seat now held by his rival, Senator Arlen Specter (D-PA), effectively ending his senate career. No major in the Democratic establishment would successfully convince Pennsylvania's Democratic voters that Specter was a Democrat and when the president saw the writing on the wall two days ago, his "fierce advocacy" for the senator (as "fierce" as his support for true health care reform, gay rights, and the environment) came to an end.

As expected, embattled Senator Blanch Lincoln failed to clinch her party's nomination. She will face Lt. Gov. Bill Halter, who ran to her left, in a runoff election held in June 8.

Republican and Democratic incumbents in Washington should take note. The voters who came out today wanted candidates they can believe in. They wanted candidates who will stand up for the values they believe in. They didn't want a Republican-in-Name-Only or a Democrat-in-Name-Only. They identify as Republicans and Democrats for a reason and the people in both parties, whether they come from the right or from the left, are mad because they believe that the leaders in Washington aren't looking out for them. They see Wall Street getting bailed out while they struggle to keep their homes and they see bills that are designed to help them getting watered down to appease the powerful interest groups that have a stake in the outcome.

The tea party activists believe that the Republicans in Washington are a part of the problem and not a part of the solution. They saw Republicans create a new entitlement program, bail out Wall Street, and mire us in two, excessively expensive wars. The Democratic activists on the left are mad because they saw their party, the party now in power, discard the Democratic agenda they ran on. The president's advisers should remind him that he too ran against the establishment (at that time, backing then Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton), on an agenda for change, lest he face a liberal-backed Democratic primary challenger in 2012.

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