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January 30, 2006


John Featherman

Albert's review of the debate was 100% accurate. I wholeheartedly agree that the strongest comment in the debate was Pennacchio's response to how well he has built his organization. It's easy to run as an issues candidate, but running as an issues candidate with an infrastructure helps build your credibility.

Since the mainstream media did not report on this event -- even though I did see an NBC-10 cameraman there -- I do want to add a few additional observations.

To be fair to Alan Sandals, although his presentation style is subdued, I saw strength in his demeanor. He made a point that I believe was the second strongest in the debate which was that he could debate Santorum with the same power with which he cross-examines witnesses on the stand. If you heard that remark, it made sense. It's fine to raise your voice and be passionate to pump up your supporters as is the case with Pennacchio, but Sandals makes an impressive case for a quiet person with great internal strength.

Sandals and Pennacchio can both appeal to progressive Democrats. Yet, as a Republican, I have wondered which can appeal more to Republicans and third-party voters in the general election, if they make it that far. Right now, I see opportunties for both candidates to appeal to a broader audience, but I also see obstacles.

I am no fan of Bob Casey, but his socially conservative views can take away votes from Santorum in which Pennacchio and Sandals cannot. I think both Pennacchio and Sandals need to think about what they can offer the other side. I have ideas, but they need to come up with their own.

Currently, I give that edge to Sandals, as he's made several remarks that suggest he would work with others. Pennacchio pumps the Democratic crowd and says he won't back down. You've got to admire that principle, but that doesn't get a lot done in DC. Pennacchio also referred to himself as a fiscal conservative in the Harrisburg debate, most notably, I guess, because he supports a balanced budget amendment. That can appeal greatly to Republicans. But there is a serious problem. When you support increasing the minimum wage to a living wage level, want taxpayer funded universal healthcare, are against free trade, and want to raise taxes, can you really say you're fiscally conservative without being laughed at? I suppose Pennacchio is the only one who can explain that.

Pennacchio from the start mentioned that he was the strongest candidate of the Democrats to beat Rick Santorum in the general election, which was true based upon the opednews.com/Zogby study. However, Sandals also noted correctly that Pennacchio and Sandals were in a statistical dead heat according to the poll.

Finally, Pennacchio and Sandals are very lucky. They should thank each other for being in the race. I know there are plenty of progressives who would rather see just one of them challenge Casey, but it's the candidates' choice to stay in the race. But the reason they are lucky is because they have each other. What do I mean? Well, they should be humming Sonny and Cher's "I got you babe," because without each other, there would be no debate, as is the case for John Featherman.

Santorum currently refuses to debate me, with his people saying I'm not on the ballot. Well, excuse me, but since November, Santorum has issued a debate challenge to Casey, saying he will debate him anytime between last November and next November. Can you say hypocrite?

John Featherman
Republican Candidate, US Senate-PA


Excellent photos.
I'd love to get to a debate. And I'd love to see Casey show up to one.


Why should Chuck back down at all on issues like choice, Alito, the war among other things when the opposition refuses to acknowledge that they're a bunch of loony wackjobs out to flush this great nation down the shitter? That's just ludicrus to ask Chuck to compromise on such important matters. I've had enough of Dems rolling over and dying on such imporant issues. There is no compromise on those issues and I don't see the Right getting ready to compromise either.

And yes, Chuck wants a balanced budget. Rolling back tax cuts will do an incredible amount to reduce the deficit. Taxing the top income bracket at 50% will do even more. They were taxed at 90%+ during Eisenhower's time and the rich did just fine then. One less Rolls Royce and maybe skipping that weekend excursion to Dubai won't kill them. Is cutting taxes in a time of war being fiscally conservative? No. Is restructuring the tax code so that the rich get richer and the poor get poorer fiscally conservative? No. I'm laughing at your party who used to laud their 'fiscally conservative' ways and their 'compassionate conservative' bullshit.

Increasing the minimum wage doesn't do enough. That still leaves millions under the poverty line. That is not acceptable. Lifting everyone to a living wage adjusted annually to inflation will help level the playing field.

I don't think Chuck and Alan are Worrying about getting socially conservative votes. While Casey panders further and further to the Right than Specter, he loses huge chunks of support from the Left, I don't think that's a good strategy.

Did Chuck say anything that wasn't true in saying that he polled at the top? Nope. He's still ahead after a margin of error is factored in, ahead of Sandals too, close, but still ahead.

Sen. $anorum and Casey have one more thing in common than I've previously noted, their hypociricy.

John Featherman


You make strong points. I also admire that Pennacchio is principled and won't back down on issues of great importance to him. That's to be commended. I also admire, as I've told you, your loyalty to your candidate. We should all have such spirited volunteers and backers.

You have fair right to laugh at the Republican Party for not living up to its claim of being the party of small government. At this point, that claim is no more than rhetoric. We've always known that Democrats are big spenders and unapolegetic for being so, and I'm embarrassed that my party has become no different.

Yet, when we speak about being fiscally conservative, one can't have all the admirable social programs Pennacchio would like without significantly raising taxes -- not just for the "rich," as you put it, but for all. I would like to see how Pennacchio will fund his programs. I've studied the costs of universal healthcare, and the numbers are astronomical, even without considering that the healthcare received might be of the lower quality that we see and hear about from the Canadian model.

The problem, Albert, as I see it -- and we can debate whether my ideas are reasonable or not -- is that we don't have jobs. Raising the minimum wage doesn't create jobs. Taxing business owners more doesn't creat jobs. Having an almost 4% wage tax doesn't encourage workers to come to Philadelphia. And having a Draconian business privilege tax where we tax both profits and gross receipts tells small businesses "Don't come here."

I admire both Sandals' and Pennacchio's sensitivity to the worker. But the word "jobs" is just never mentioned by any of the Democratic candidates unless it's with respect to outsourcing.

I am pro-business, particularly pro-small business, and that's why I'm a Republican, even though my social views are liberal. Again, we can agree to disagree -- and I find you to be extraordinarily open-minded, Albert. So let's see if we can get the candidates to discuss how they will encourage economic development.

John Featherman
Republican Candidate, US Senate-PA

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