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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Thursday, June 07, 2007

An Allentown Dem Who Likes Both Bennett and Dent

Look Out Lehigh Valley is the product of a very young Allentown woman who occasionally gives us a glimpse of her life in the West End Theatre District. She'll tell me things my daughter, who shares her age, is reluctant to say. Today, she shared her perspective about the looming congressional campaign between incumbent Charlie Dent and Sam Bennett. She has a much higher opinion of Bennett than me, but also likes Dent. Here's what she has to say. Many of you will like it simply because she disagrees with me. And she just may be right.

I disagree with you on your main point, Bernie. Sam is not really an opportunist. She's actually a very passionate woman who is vocal and present in a multitude of both community issues and political ones. She's certainly been an anti-war voice locally long before she announced she would be running for Dent's seat. She gives her time and energy to things she believes in, and generally I agree with her positions on most issues.

That said, I'm less than thrilled that she's running.

I'm not saying that I don't support Sam in running for office - its her right to do so and as nobody else is willing to step up to the plate, how can I knock her for trying?

I go back and forth on Dent. I like him.... for a republican. I realize that democracy is not about representatives who always agree with you - my neighbors don't agree with me, either. Its his job to represent us both. In truth, even though Charlie doesn't do the right thing by me all the time, I think he actually DOES do a good job of representing his district.

I also realize that he's an excellent politician in the romantic sense of the word - and that despite being a relatively fresh face in Congress he has earned some respect and some rank and has the potential to be a longtime player.

From my perspective, he is a moderate who tried to move closer to the Bush administration to gain some political capital within the government - which from what I can tell is exactly what happened. He did, as a result, lose some of his votes in his home district and hopefully that is enough of a wake up call to him that if he wants to keep his seat he'll need to stick with his moderate roots.

I guess the question I'm left with is - would I rather vote for a candidate who I generally agree with, and who would likely vote my side of the issue almost every time, and who I like, but who I don't think has the gravitas, as you put it, to really do much in congress OR a candidate who I don't always agree with, but who I sometimes agree with, and who theoretically has some influence and longevity. Which is worth more? A weak solidly democratic vote or a strong moderate republican one?

I haven't made up my mind yet, and I probably will hold off deciding who to vote for in the general until after the primary.

As for Sam, I think Sam has the potential to do so much for the democrats locally. Where she is weak as a candidate she is strong as an organizer and as a community builder and as the hub of a network of people. She would be the perfect person to start breathing some life into local dems. Rather than running for office, Sam should be running the party, bringing people together, and raising money and getting new faces involved.

And we freaking need that. Everyone in this town is so self-serving and self-important and nobody wants to put their own agenda aside for 30 seconds and look at what a shambles the local party is. We had to WRITE IN a candidate for this seat last year because there was literally NOT A CANDIDATE to oppose Charlie Dent. I like Dertinger, I voted for him, I'd vote for him again. But he's clearly not in the same stratosphere as Dent politically, and the fact that we can not come up with ONE PERSON who could compete with Dent is ridiculous.

Practically speaking, if Sam gets the party nomination she is still going to lose the general election, and that's not to say she shouldn't run or that I won't vote for her - but I honestly don't think she has a chance in hell. This is really the best we can do? The other usual names have been put out there and set aside - so how come instead of looking for some new names to put up there we are instead settling AGAIN for a probable loser? How many times will we repeat the cycle before saying "well shit I guess we better start getting some other people involved who might want to run for this seat." If we are having this same freaking discussion again 2 years from now I will scream.

I suppose this has turned into quite the ramble, I wonder if its even coherent? Sometimes my thoughts snowball that way... sorry for pulling a Billy Givens.
LOLV, I don't think Blly minds.


Anonymous said...

I don't know, Bernie. I think you agree with most of this.

"As for Sam, I think Sam has the potential to do so much for the democrats locally. Where she is weak as a candidate she is strong as an organizer and as a community builder and as the hub of a network of people. She would be the perfect person to start breathing some life into local dems. Rather than running for office, Sam should be running the party, bringing people together, and raising money and getting new faces involved."

Too bad none of the A-list Democratic candidates ever want to run for Congress.


Anonymous said...

oh, and Sam has been very involved in trying to better the city of Allentown (and I'm not speaking of her mayoral campaigns).


Anonymous said...

It's amazing to think if Sam had run last year in the '06 cycle from the start, she would have beat Dent.

Bernie O'Hare said...


I don't share LOLV's high view of Bennett, but I don't know her. LOLV does. And she says some very positive things. And her internal conflict is pretty much what was going on in my head last time around. I resolved it in favor of Dent. LOLV might resolve it in favor of Bennett. I just appreciate the way she explained it. It's a better job than I ever was able to do.

Anonymous said...

As a Democrat I have come to accept the elitism that exists in our party. Cettain people and names are promoted and everyone else is expected to get out of the way. Ms. Bennet has run and lost the two times she went for LOCAL office. She was well funded and the Governors pick. She gets a sweet state grant for half a mill to create a program to pay her salary and give out awards for nice properties. Organize Dems.? When? Most I talk to and I get around to quite a few, think this is a joke and just another case of a massive ego with the usual liberal young Dems cooing.
Bernie I advocate no less than 10 democrats, including Bennet, get themselves on the ballot have great debates and see what happens. Gravitas is a funny thing, sometimes it shows up where you least expect it. Beating Dent will be very tough, something that galls the young Dems. Be it Don C. ,Lisa B, or whoever I think Mr,/Ms. unknow Dem has as much a chance as a name with baggage.
Just the thoughts of another mentally unbalanced Dem.
Crazy Jackass

Anonymous said...

As a Democrat who is involved and a super voter, I must admit, I have become very disillusioned with Democratic politics in the State of PA. Ms. Bennett is just the latest installment of the "powers that be" pushing bad candidates on us.

Bob Casey is exhibit #1. Chuck Schumer not only pushed him on us, but made threats to the other candidates to get out of the race. As a result we have a Dem representing us who has voted against stem cell research and believes that the Government has the right to decide my morals on issues like abortion. Oh yeah, and he has publicly stated that he would have voted for Justice Alito's Supreme Court nomination. For the record, Alito has already shown his true colors as being more anti-labor than even Justice Scalia. (FYI, I'm NOT a labor guy, but local labor supported Casey).

Ironically, we had a great candidate in Chuck Pennachio. He held true, common sense Dem positions and he was progressive, but not radically so.

Case #2: Dertinger. He was handed to us after Joe Long dropped the ball and did nothing to get us a candidate. To be fair, Lehigh County Dems didn't step up either, but there was no leadership there. Apparently there was no leadership in NC either. As a result we got a hand picked Long cronie who did a good job of making Dent spend money. But really, he was the inferior candidate.

Now we get the Joe Long hand-picked candidate in Sam Bennett. How do we know she is hand picked? Easy. She is having a fundraising breakfast on 6/14 and her committees co-chairs are listed. Who are they you ask?
TJ Rooney (PA State Democratic Chair)
Rick Daugherty (Lehigh County Democratic Chair)
Marcel Groen (Montgomery County Democratic Chair)
Tom Herman (Berks County Democratic Chair)
Joe Long (Northampton County Democratic Chair)

Sooooo. With that list, who is going to get in the race to oppose her?

It is one thing if we, the people, make a poor choice of candidate in a free and open primary election where everyone has the opportunity to come out and vote their conviction. What has happened, instead, is we are essentially going to have a referendum on Charlie Dent. If enough people are disenchanted with him, we get Bennett. If this didn't happen in 2006 I believe it is very unlikely to happen in 2008.

What we do not have, is a canidate we picked who has or even needs to have any real stance or, heaven forbid, actually care what we, the people, think.

In the end, Sam is not the problem but the symptom of failed party leadership. If someone doesn't step up and run against her I will likely do what I have done in other recent elections - either vote Rep or not vote for that specific office.

There is still time for the right thing to occur. Unfortunately I think we have another case of the Dems blowing another election they shold win.

Look Out Lehigh Valley said...

I don't even own pumps.

Look Out Lehigh Valley said...

and inflatable girlfriend jokes aside, its real gross when grown men speak that way. I'm shocked there aren't more women running to participate in politics knowing that while men will be attacked for their bad decision making and political activity, we will be attacked with insults to our sexuality or bodies.

Anonymous said...

It's really plastic?

Anonymous said...

1) It's so plastic, it's recyclable;

2) Listen, Missy (or Sweetie or Piggy or whatever the homeless guys you bang call you), the LAST thing you want is my undivided attention;

3) Save your femi-Nazi, psycho babble bullshit for when you're on the Springer Show talking about how your uncle raped your dog in your trailer and made you watch Rusty howl just like you do;

4) All things being equal, Democrats will always somehow manage to fuck it up and snatch defeat from the jaws of victory - every single fucking time, over and over like Groundhog Day; and

5) Joe Long can't even spell "Kongres."

Bernie O'Hare said...


As someone who works for a female state senator, you know how sexist the world can be. Your comments to LOLV are inappropriate.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Come to think of it, you were sexist with LVHW last week. This looks like a pattern.

Anonymous said...


I truly apologize.

I didn't know I was posting on the Vatican's blog.


Bernie O'Hare said...

Come on, man. You know this is wrong. We don't have enough women out here in the blogosphere and that denies us a perspective. You're a bright guy. You know this is out of line.

Anonymous said...

If the issue is having a woman run there are better women to run than Sam Bennett. The city that's part of Bennett's problem. No city of Allentown democrat can win county wide let alone in the 15th District.

There simply aren't enough votes in the city or Allentown and Bethlehem and some of the more liberal boros to
elect an Allentown city democrats outside the city of Allentown anymore. Even with a Presidential election year turnout. Simply because she's a resident of the city city of Allentown she loses 30% of registered Democrats outside the city about 40% of ind and 60% of republicans. Then as I spelled out before the couldn't pull more than 55% of the Democrat in the General election which means that would would end up getting mauled by Charlie Dent. I can't see her getting over 30%.

Anonymous said...

But the gist of LOLV's comment is "Bennett's time and energy could be better spent elsewhere." I think you agree with this, Bernie.


Anonymous said...

I respectfully disagree with your comments on BTNP and women bloggers. It is like anything else in life if you bring it, you can expect to get it. Besides, annonimity on the blog should boost confidence. Politics is a blood sport for men and women. Some of the most vicious pol's are women. BTNP is just being himself for better or worse. I happen to believe Stoffa is a media darling phoney, who couldn't manage his way out of a bathroom. You disagree and throw an irrational tantrum whenever I post, fair enough, thats the nature of the game. Sound advice for both men and women, you want to play the game , wear a cup.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 2:59,

I respect and admire BTNP. I don't respect or admire personal, racial or sexist comments. They add nothing to the discussion and demean all of us. I agree that if "you bring it, you should expoect to get it back. But LOTV brought a thoughtful essay, and doesn;t deserve that respose fromn BNTP. Actually, I should have said that to him last week when he laced into Lehigh Valley Housewife with sexist remarks.It discourages women from participating in these conversations.

A recent NYT article tells us, women bloggers are frequent victims of these kinds of attacks. Because the LV has very few female bloggers or bloggers who are members of a minority, I try to be sensitive to this. BTNP is out of line when he gets sexist. You're not out of line when you call Stoffa a "media darling phony." I disagree with you, but there's nothing sexist or racial in that, and it's no personal attack.

Anonymous said...

Bernie, I think BTNP has some sort of cyber-Tourettes and can't help himself.

That aside, I know he felt bad about the way he treated me - He showed up at my Memorial Day party on bended knee, proffering a beautiful bouquet of flowers and a five pound box of chocolate bon-bons. He also promised to come over this evening and give me a foot massage. I'm not used to that sort of attention, so of course I accepted his apology.

Just give BTNP a bit of time and he'll realize that LOLV is a lovely woman deserving of our respect. While most young twenty-somethings are self-absorbed, she sets an example for young adults by getting involved and making a difference in her community.

LVDem said...

"While most young twenty-somethings are self-absorbed..."

Go to hell. My 20 something friends are all community volunteers and have been since they could drive. Older generations assume way too much about us.

My generation has the highest volunteer rate of any living generation according to many non-profit experts.

But I agree, LOLV does set a good example. Better than some of her 20 something counterparts.

Anonymous said...

LVdem, there's really no need to get testy with me. My point was that in a world where twenty-something luminaries include Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan and Mischa Barton, LOLV should be given respect and credit for actually doing something worthwhile.

Look Out Lehigh Valley said...

thanks folks - credit for being a human being rather than a vapid girl gone wild is unnecessary but thanks anyway.

also BTNP, I'm not going running crying into the night because you are saying something nasty to me, I was just pointing out the grossness of your comments. Feminist psychobabble or not, my point is valid and gloriously exemplified in your original comment about charlie being politically spineless and sam being a "whore who gives good head."

addicted said...

BTNP, I think you are learning the hard way that Pope Bernie the First resides in Blogosphere city, with his Swiss Cheese guards and a squadron of inflatable doll ninja's.
I gotta tell you BTNP, I think I want to be in the stands the day you tangle with my sister. We could probably do a Dem Fundraiser and sell tickets, because she will crush your balls like eggs on a wall.

Bernie O'Hare said...


Sorry, dude. Racist, bigoted or sexist comments like those from BTNP are out of line. If I don't say something, I enable people like him or you to continue or get worse. Last week it was LVHW. This week it's LOLV. It's just another form of abuse. There are many ways to abuse women. This is one of them. Women get enough abuse. They don't need it here. I'm interested in what women have to say.

And frankly, I must have glossed over the comments about Bennett. I didn't even notice what BTNP wrote about Bennett until I read LOLV's comments. I feel bad about that.

BTNP works for a female state senator as her chief of staff. I am sure some of his subordinates are female. His remarks are totally out of line, and reflect poorly upon the Pennsylvania state senate and his boss. These are the folks who enact PFA laws and who legislatively decide questions concerning discrimination against women.

See, I though you were a democrat. I thought you believed in things like gender equality. You blog over at LVPoliblog, which is also called true democrats of LC. Is this what LC dems are like? I don't think so.

You're letting animosity towards me cloud your judgment. But unlike BTNP, you're not very funny.

LVDem said...

housewife, your generation (I'm guessing here, so please accept my apologies if I'm wrong with your age), includes Mel Gibson, Charlie Sheen and Madonna (if not them, I'll find somebody in your generation that is univerally embarrassing)... I'm to assume just b/c of your age that all folks in your generation are anti-semetic, drug users and sexually provocative? Give me a break. Don't insult the vast majority of my generation (LOLV included) with the comparison to the Hollywood yuck-yuck's that are often covered by reporters 15 years older than us. We don't have the fascination (for the record, I completely missed the whole Hilton being jailed thing... I was too busy preparing for a community festival).

I will get testy b/c you are lumping us in with the wrong crowd. Most of us will never get pulled over by police and charged with a DUI or expose ourselves in public to gain some extra publicity. Your insistance that those wacko's define our generation is akin to saying that people like OJ Simpson define the African American Community.

I give LOLV a ton of respect, but it's not unexpected. My generation is not the glazed over generation that some think we are.

Bernie O'Hare said...

LVDem, You'll have trouble poking fun at the people in my generation. They're all dead!

Anonymous said...

LVDem, I made a post complimenting LOLV. Perhaps it could have been worded better, but it's no reason for you to pick apart my every word. Would it be possible for you to focus on the spirit of my post, which was intended to be a thumbs-up to LOLV and not an indictment of your generation?

It's odd to me that you're nit-picking what I wrote and not saying a word about anything BNTP wrote. You're reading way too much into what I wrote, and frankly, I'm annoyed that I'm having to explain myself when my words were well-intended.

Anonymous said...

p.s. - If I could re-write my post, I would say this:

Just give BTNP a bit of time and he'll realize that LOLV is a lovely woman deserving of our respect. She should be commended for getting involved and making a difference in her community.

Is that better for you? If not, I'll stick to insults.

Anonymous said...

I don't think you need a woman's perspective on the "no Prisoner's" post. It's flat out offensive and doesn't earn any votes for his candidate. It's time both political parties faced reality and realized that voters don't want to hear the opponent slammed - we want to know what the candidate is about and will do. If we want to learn about the opponent, we'll go listen to that person too. While I have met the Hon. Boscola, right now the name Sam Bennett is foremost in my mind because I've heard it so much. Way back when I took marketing or some such course, one of the first things I remember learning is not to use the name of your competition in your advertising. Why give them free press? A lot of voters probably get to the booth and think, now who was I hearing a lot about - not remembering whether it was bad or good. Buck up, pols, and stand up for your beliefs and your constituents.

Anonymous said...

Thank you to LOLV and Bernie for not accepting sexist insults. Even if we cannot all agree on political issues, at least we can have a common denominator: respect for each others' incidental physical characteristics as human beings. I have met many women like LOLV who refuse to accept such ridiculous commentaries as well as many men who are consciously sensitive about their own comments and actions. They are working together to eradicate an unbalanced system that hurts everyone. Eventually we'll get rid of the mentality that such sexual references are "okay" and that anyone who opposes them is necessarily prude, militant, or old-fashioned. This is politics and for the good order we must argue our opinions, but those arguments do not have to be void of sensitivity and basic compassion.
-from a young female Allentonian

Anonymous said...

Hmmm nice to see our politicians are out battling the real problems of our area....keep it up team. This is why no real legislation gets passed - except for frivilous cell phone bans....

you all do not deserve to be representing any of us.

Anonymous said...

Great! Why don't you all push for important legislation regarding blog comments and how they can hurt the children. That's right up all your alleys.

Leave the important things like crime, guns, gangs untouched.

Anonymous said...

Wow, they do not even cuss like that up-state.