Tricky Rick Santorum Courts Selfish Green Rogue
U.S. Senator Rick Santorum (Man, PA) is hoping lightning can strike twice. The highly unpopular Republican Senator, who is fighting for his Senate seat in this November's elections, is banking on wealthy Republican donors to plant and nurture a "Green" candidate who can drain progressive support from his opponent as Ralph Nader did from Al Gore in the 2000 presidential election.
(Despite trailing in the popular vote, George W. Bush ultimately prevailed over Gore in a 2000 presidential election that came down to a hotly disputed contest for Florida. Although control of the entire Florida state election apparatus was held in the hands of Bush's brother, Jeb, the 97,421 votes cast for Nader in Florida proved conclusive: George W. Bush's margin of victory in the state was 537 votes.
Bush has parlayed his assisted victory in 2000 together with the subsequent 9-11 terrorist attacks into two terms as president, majorities in both houses of congress, and at least two Supreme Court appointments. All that currently stands between the Texas-dominated national GOP and its goal of reconstructing the social world of a Theodore Dreiser novel is the health of 85 year-old moderate Republican Justice John Paul Stevens.)
Santorum, among the lowest-rated politicians in the nation on the environmental issues ostensibly important to the Green party, currently trails his Democratic opponent, Bob Casey, in polls by nine points, although the race is expected to tighten. Casey, however, shares Santorum's pro-life and pro-gun positions, stances Democrats hope will abandon the outspoken Santorum up shit's creek without a paddle.
Enter Carl Romanelli, Green party candidate from Pennsylvania's Luzerne County. According to Paul Kiel of TPMMuckraker.com, at least $55,000 of the $66,000 raised by the PA Green party to get Romanelli on the PA ballot in November was raised from conservatives, at least $40,000 of it from those who also gave to Rick Santorum's campaign.
"Both Republicans and Democrats have this notion that, if Greens are in the race, Democrats lose votes," Romanelli told The Philadelphia Inquirer. "If that was going to motivate someone to contribute, I am fine with that."
Santorum's campaign has admitted its complicity in the ploy, according to the Inquirer:
"We have encouraged those who have inquired or asked to assist in this effort," said Virginia Davis, Santorum's spokeswoman, of the Green Party petitions. She declined to provide specifics. "I think the bigger question here is why is Bob Casey going to such extremes to silence another voice in the Democratic process?"Among the most active contributors to this PA Green party bid, the Inquirer noted, was the Santorum-boosting Taylor family of Salinas, California:
Steven and Kathryn Taylor and two others at the same address who listed their occupation as students contributed $10,000 to the Green Party; five Taylor family members have contributed $20,700 to Santorum's reelection campaign.Salinas, California, is about 2,945 miles, or two days and two hours by car, from the Keystone state.
[Edited third paragraph and as noted in comments.]