First Democratic Senate debate
My two major impressions were the following:
- This is the second time that I have seen Pennacchio and Sandals. Their views on many issues are quite similar---they're both progressives---but their styles and emphases differ. In both cases I was more impressed with Sandals, and he is my choice in the primary. (I know that this will disappoint the fervent Pennacchio supporters, and I know that the latter may have a head-start on organization-building, but because I think that both of these men are long-shots in the primary, I prefer to vote my simple personal preference, rather than agonizing over strategic considerations for the long haul.)
- This is the first chance that I've had to see Bob Casey in action. (I did see one previous TV interview, but it dated from around the time of his last election and didn't touch on the hotter issues of the current race.) I was favorably impressed. He's not a spit-fire, nor, as we already knew, is he as progressive as the other primary contenders. However, I found him well-prepared and well-spoken, and he did support many issues on which Democrats agree (and differ from current national leadership). I was most impressed, however, with how he handled the hot-button issue of choice---he couldn't claim to be anything other than pro-life, of course, but he made clear the many ways in which his views on the issue differ from those of Sen. Santorum (such as support for birth control and sex education), and he also expressed the hope that difficult topics could be discussed, not just warred over, and that central ground could be found in many cases. Yes, I would prefer that all the candidates be more proactive about a woman's right to control the fate of her body, but I was pleased to see that Casey was prepared to handle criticism of his position, and that he had plenty of ammunition for ways in which his holding the office would improve the lives of Pennsylvanians. It made me feel better about the prospect that I might find myself working to support him in the fall...
Update: Above Average Jane also reports her impressions, and Fact-esque actually did live-blogging coverage of the debate, with questions asked and many of the points made (whew!).