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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Dent's Cash v. Bennett's IOUs

"That's as good as money, sir. Those are I.O.U.s."

Sam Bennett, presumptive Democratic nominee for congress against incumbent Charlie Dent, boasted to CQPolitics in May she already had $162,000 - in pledges. But since Bennett only declared her candidacy with the FEC on April 5, 2007, we won't know how much money she's really collecting until July. I know this much. She's already told the FEC she won't be spending a dime of her own money. In contrast to pledges, Dent's warchest contains $220 thousand - in cold cash.


Anonymous said...

Do you really think any of Dent's cash is money from his own pocket?

It seems to me that you just trying make it look like Bennett is for sale.

We all know that Dent has already been bought.

Anonymous said...

Oh Puleeeze! Sam Bennett will call or talk to anybody and then tell the whole world that the person she just talked to about the weather is a "strong supporter". She is so full of it.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 7:30,

Bennett holds herself out as a grass roots candidate, and that's why I pointed out she's not spending a dime. You can't beat a very real and serious candidate with promises and butterflies.

Anonymous said...

Have you seen the size of those BUTTERFLIES! And they are mean!

Greendogdem said...

I really have no idea why the woman is running in the first place. I really really really would have a hard time voting for her and I think most other Green Dog democrats would too. I'd say at least a 1/4 of democrats in the Lehigh valley are Green dogs and about another 1/4 or more are blue dogs who won't even think twice about voting against her. So more or less the woman is starting out with about 50% support among registered democrats

Greendogdem said...

So more or less what I'm saying is no matter how much money she has she won't do any better, than Dertinger did in in 2006. As much as people as some people on here don't like him Dertinger has a support base of some sort, that Bennett does not and can not create.

Anonymous said...

Bernie, I think raising money will be the least of her worries.
I also get the feeling that if she'd promised to self-finance, you'd have complained about that (she thinks she can buy herself a seat, like Joe Driscoll!).
Why is she running? Because no one else will. Heck, LV Dems couldn't get a strong candidate against Toomey, a politician far weaker than Dent. No A-list Dem in the area wants to go to Congress.
Which is a pity, because I just found out what Rep. Dent's National Journal score for economic issues was in 2005.
Let's just say he had very astounding transformation come election year.

Bernie O'Hare said...


I agree with both of your comments, but I believe she'll be the next Dem nominee. I sure hope I'm wrong.

You see, the problem I have is that I'm not going to support someone simply because they suddenly start telling me what I want to hear and they have a D after their name. Bennett's no fervent antiwar advocate. She's an opportunist. I won't support her against a serious candidate with a moderate record and a brain, even if he has an R after his name. So you can count me in that 50% that won't support Bennett.

I'm glad we agree because you're a greendog that turns into a pitbull when we have differing views. Actually, I enjoy those discussions, too.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 6:39,

I think you're probably right. I don't like Bennett. I think she's an opportunist. I do like Dent. I think he's sincere.

It's funny. You tell us about Dent's awful score from the National Journal in 2005, but don't tell us what it is. Why not?

I did a post about Dent's 2006 score, where he was ranked as a centrist. In fact, he was prettyy much in the middle of the house and his own state delegation. The 2005 ratings are available for subscribers onlky. I only know that Dent is not listed as a centrist or on the fringe, so I suspect his first year in congress he probably went along with Delay a little too much.

If you get a chance, share the wealth.

Greendogdem said...

I don't like dent either but I'm not going to vote for Bennett maybe i'll just skip the race entirely

Anonymous said...

Well, I found them here:

National Journal ranked him as more liberal on social policy than 49% of Representatives.
He was more liberal on foreign policy issues than 34% of Representatives.
He was more liberal on economic policy issues than 9% of Representatives in Congress (conservative numbers: 50, 61, 88).
Not a good voting record in 2005 on economic issues, evidentally, given the history of this district.

Could you give me the background on why you see Bennett as an opportunist?

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 11:09,

I appreciate the data and the link. The National Journal is an impressive bunch, and I'd agree that the economic and foreign policy ratings make Dent out of touch with his district in 2005. That's when he was making trips to Iraq and complaining there were actually too many auditors. I never quite understood that.

But we'll have three years of votes on which to evaluate Dent when he comes up again. If his three year average is close to 2005, I could not support Dent.

I consider Bennett an opportunist because she has been an unsuccessful politician, but is seizing upon a disenchantment with Iraq to advance herself. If she had a demonstrated record of real concern about our involvement in that military misadventure, I wouldn't be so harsh. But it bothers me that, once it's apparent this war is unpopular, she's out there promoting herself instead of trying to find a quality candidate who could go toe to toe with Dent. It doesn't have to be a first tier candidate. This person could come from a local university, like Ritter did. This person could come from the business community, like Toomey did. But it's important that Dems, if they wish to capture that seat, get a candidate who is successful in his field and who demonstrates the gravitas necessary to take on someone like Dent. Bennett lacks that gravitas. And although people like to deride Dent as an empty suit, it is always a big mistake to underestimate an opponent. And, to be honest, Dent is not an empty suit. He's a serious guy, and has a head on his shoulders.

I won't even hesitate. I'll support Dent over Bennett in a heartbeat. With Dertinger it was much closer, and I did not make up my mind until I saw the two of them together. I'd actually agree with Greendog that Dertinger would be a better candidate, though he has been less than impressive on county council.

Surely Bennett knows all of this, but she chooses to put herself in the contest instead of using her position in the party to find a serious candidate.

These are just my rants, and I don't really know what I'm talking about when it comes to these heady matters. "The world according to Bernie" should not be taken that seriously. I'm just one person. So please forgive me. I'm much more comfortable with the local stuff.

But the way things stand right now, I don't regret my vote for Dent. I don't agree with everything he does, and will make my disagreement clear. But I respect the guy to take a very careful look at each issue and cast an honest vote. And to be honest, I don't think I have all the answers. Natiuonal issues tend to be very complex and there are no simple solutions. It's easy to make bullet points, but these things need a careful person in there looking at the issues.

Anonymous said...

"a careful person looking at all the facts" should that not be the standard for candidates at any level of government?
What about unsuccessful candidates. Rendell, Gov. Casey had more than a few loses before they became 'overnight' successes.
Personally, I think Millan would rip the heart out of any of the first teir dems.

Anonymous said...

Bernie, you think that Bennett could successfully recruit a good candidate for PA-15, when you don't think (and I half-agree) that she can give Rep. Dent a close race?
The latter may be hard, but the former is impossible!

She might not have been active in the anti-war scene, but she has attempted to do quite a bit for Allentown with various organizations (helping with the WAHS Construction Company, Good Neighbors, Properties of Merit). I appreciate that.
I've also heard from someone close to the campaign that she was recruited by higher-ups in the party and promised significant backing by the state party, so I'm not positive that the campaign was necessarily all her idea.

Anonymous said...

Who the hell recruited Bennett? Stoffa, Angle, O'hare or some other extraterrestial

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 12:50,

Bennett is one of those party bosses in Lehigh County. It appears to me that none of the top local Dems are interested. So is Bennett even in the second tier? She's never won a race. She's got baggage. Running her is serving up the 15th CD to the Rs on a silver platter.

Why not scour the local business fiewld or academnia to look for an outstanding person who has a brain and an ability to hang with Dent? I think party bosses would want to lean in that direction instead of sacrificial lambs. Ritter came out of nowhere. So did Toomey. Are Republicans the only people like that?

Party bosses have tried looking outside the district and got hammered. They tried a second tier candidate and got hammered. Now they're trotting out someone less knowledgable than Dertinger, and who has only proven that she gives a great concession speech. It makes no sense to me.

Why not try something new? Time to think outside the box. Time to just think.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 1:04,

Who stands to gain the most by having Bennett run? Charlie Dent probably recruited her. She's a dream come true for him.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 1:04,

other extraterrestrial? Hey, how did you find out?

Anonymous said...

She is not even a 2nd tier canidate.

Bennett wanted to be Lehigh County Democratic Committee Chairperson. However, she was asked to step aside by the likes of Cunningham and his guys, in favor of Rick Dougherty. And she did!

How does she expect to win a House seat when she could not even win the party chairmanship?

The biggest problem is that no Lehigh Valley top tier democrat wants to run. Boscola does not want to give up here power in the state senate to be at the bottom of barrel is the US House. Cunningham has his eyes on the governor's race. Tom Wallitsch is busy making money in the private law sector. Who is left that could win? Callahan, NO! Pawlawski? NO!

Anonymous said...

Aren't all politicians opportunists? What makes one politician a bad opportunist and another one a good opportunist? Was Dent an opportunist for running and winning his race for congress? I think all this talk of opportunism is a smokescreen for "I have no other reason to dislike her, so any old reason will do!" So far I've read: she's an opportunist, she gave a lousy concession speech in her first race, and she's associated with party bosses.

Now, I can't say I've decided who to vote for. I'm not happy with Dent's record, and I don't know enough about the other players yet as it is early, but come on now Bernie, if you're going to write a blog condemning a candidate, at least use real news. Or, hey, volunteer an alternative candidate, seeing as Mann and Boscola seem uninterested.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I explained why I dismiss Bennett as an opportunist in a comment posted at 11:39 PM.

I hate to burst your bubble, but that view is shared by many other local Ds, as you can see from the comments.

The purpose of my post was not to discuss her campaign in great detail, but to point out that Dent's warchest is real and hers is illusory.

As far as suggestions for other candidates, I made some suggestions in my comments about what the party should consider in the absence of a first tier candidate. I suggesteed we recruit someone from academia or the business world who would have the gravitas to stand toe to toe. That's how Ritter and Toomey got their start. What do you think? Stupid idea?

Anonymous said...

I wish Lisa would run but the repubs would bring up some past issues. Based on what they did to Mann and Dertinger in past campaigns I think many Dems are scared off.

Look Out Lehigh Valley said...

hmm I'm late to the party but here's my take:

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.

Bernie O'Hare said...

LOLV, You may be a little late to this party. But as usual, your heartfelt essay really got to me. In fact, I want to sheare this with everyone and will do a separate post.