EDITORIAL | The Blame Game

By Amanda Finnegan
October 20, 2006

Put on your hip waders to trudge through the bullshit; it’s election season. This past Tuesday, Republican senator Rick Santorum and Democratic candidate and state treasurer Bob Casey had their last debate before the Nov. 7 general election. What was scheduled to be a debate turned into another outlet for the candidates to skirt the issues and bash their opponent.

According to Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, the Casey/Santorum race has been one of the most negative campaigns he has ever seen. You can’t turn on a local Philadelphia station without seeing one candidate slay the other.

Outside of the National Constitution Center, passionate college student chanted for their favored candidates but inside the candidates failed to reciprocate the passion. Issues such as financial aid and the draft were left untouched. Students are left to fight for their candidates but do the candidates know what they are fighting for?

One of the main debating points was the current war in Iraq and possible future conflicts in North Korea and Iran. When the question was proposed by a reporter from the Philadelphia Inquirer panelist about whether the draft should be reinstated, both candidates danced around the topic. With talk of nuclear weapons in North Korea and Iran, the concern is haunting the young minds of our country. Instead of taking the opportunity to address the issues of a war most of the young public are ill-informed of, Casey and Santorum chose to shine the spotlight on their challenger’s faults. Young voters make up a large percentage of Pennsylvania voters in general elections yet, the candidates were unable to tackle the issues that affected young voters the most.

When the question was raised by a concerned Pennsylvania resident asking, “Why are political ads so negative?” Santorum shot back that Casey has run only 12 hours of positive ads where Santorum had waited six weeks before running a negative ad. Santorum also added that he, unlike his opponent, lays out his vision in his commercial. Casey was not hesitant in firing his reply that Santorum has run more negative ads than anyone in state history, a fact that was obviously made up on spur of the moment. Once again when given the chance to answer the questions of the voters, Casey and Santorum used the chance to take shots at each other.

While the issues of war, immigration and social security remain to be dealt with, the candidates wrapped up the debate with questions yet to be answered. Casey ended in saying, “I represent the position of change. We need to be investing in our children.” Although Casey chose these words as his closing remarks, the subject of youth never passed through his lips.

Santorum closed by saying, “I’ve worked hard for the people of Pennsylvania. It’s not a job I have inherited because of my last name.” Santorum sides with President Bush 98 percent of the time, according to Casey. Yet, it’s ironic that Santorum can take a stab at Casey’s last name as he stands beside a president who many believe inherited the position because of his last name.

Santorum and Casey failed to utilize the debate as an outlet to inform the public, a public that will determine their fate in less than three weeks. The candidates saw the debate as time to sling more mud. Viewers had to roll up their pants to wade through a a campaign false promises and unanwered questions.

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Amanda Finnegan

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