Pat Toomey, one of the first wingnut candidates back in the 2004 election, once held a commanding lead in Pennsylvania's U.S. Senate race. It was so strong that it forced "Magic Bullet" Specter to leave the GOP and become a Democrat. Toomey is the ex-henchman for the Club For Growth, a Grover Norquist anti-tax groupie and a James Dobson favorite. Dobson hated the fact that Specter said he wasn't going to hold judicial nominees to a litmus test, so he stepped in to get rid of him. As the election closes in, Joe Sestak has crept up in the polls and now they appear to be almost even.
Toomey's hometown paper came out yesterday and said that he might actually have a little extremism problem after all. Well, there is this: "Pat Toomey says if elected he would end abortion and put doctors in jail".
Joe Sestak and fellow Democrats want to make Pat Toomey the fringe candidate by pointing out he voted with Rick Santorum, is being backed by Sarah Palin and once ran Club for Growth, a group that backs two of the nation's more colorful candidates, Rand Paul in Kentucky and Sharron Angle in Nevada.
Suddenly, it seems to be working.
What's unclear is whether it will last and what Toomey, a conservative Republican, can do about it, except highlight Sestak's liberal record and views as a Delaware County congressman.
At their first debate Wednesday night, Sestak showed that his endgame strategy is turning voters off to Toomey by linking him to polarizing figures like Palin or Christine O'Donnell in Delaware. He used their names a number of times in his answers. Toomey, after the debate, called it "silly."
But it's not silly if it's effective.
Larry Ceisler, a Democratic consultant in Philadelphia, suspects Democratic voters may be paying closer attention now. They may be disappointed in President Barack Obama, but they are afraid of the alternative after hearing about controversial Republicans such as O'Donnell, or Paul, or Angle.
"Toomey's challenge is he can get thrown in with the O'Donnells and the Palins or he can find a way to distinguish himself [in voters' minds]," Ceisler said. "If he loses this race, it'll be on the social, cultural issues."
Sestak is airing a television commercial that shows footage of Toomey saying he would support legislation to "ban abortion and I would suggest penalties for doctors who perform them." The ad also links him to Santorum, whom state voters turned out of office, and to Palin.
Democrats pounced Tuesday on a Facebook post written by Palin in which she credited candidates who oppose "cap and trade" legislation on industrial emissions. In it, Palin grouped Toomey with more polarizing figures like Paul and Angle. The Democrats branded the post an endorsement.
This race has tightened up because Americans are seeing more and more of the extremist positions many of the Tea Party candidates revel in. The debates in many if the states have generated national interest because so many of the Republicans are simply anti-working class and they can't hide that fact. Let's hope this trend continues.
Here's a few more of Toomey's Extreme Greatest Hits:
I wonder if Palin can see her house from PA? She certainly can't see West Virginia. Go Sestak!