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A Republican Defeat - Lessons from the rout in Pennsylvania 12
Wall Street Journal ^ | 05/20/10

Posted on 05/19/2010 4:35:30 PM PDT by MissesBush

Republicans who were already planning their Nancy Pelosi retirement galas for November may want to cancel the caterer. The GOP lost the most important election that was held on Tuesday, and if it fails to learn from the experience the party will lose in the autumn too.

The GOP lost the one race in which a seat in Congress was up for grabs, the contest to replace the late Jack Murtha in the 12th House district in southwestern Pennsylvania. John McCain had carried the seat with 49% of the vote in 2008, President Obama's approval rating was well below 40%, and the national party poured about $1 million into the contest. Yet Republican businessman Tim Burns was crushed by former Murtha aide Mark Critz, 53% to 45%. In a swing district in what is supposed to be a Republican year, that's embarrassing.

What happened? One obvious lesson is that Democrats aren't about to go down without a fight. Mr. Critz was able to use his ties to Murtha to rally his union base and prevail in a low-turnout election. Republicans who were counting on their voters to be more enthusiastic should be concerned that too many stayed home when it counted. Democrats have been reading for months that their majority is in peril, and Tuesday's results showed that they know how to motivate and get out their vote.

Republicans also got outsmarted on message. The GOP's made-in-Washington strategy was to "nationalize" the race by stressing Mr. Critz's Beltway ties and linking him to the Obama agenda on health care, cap and trade, and runaway spending. One problem: Mr. Critz said he was against all of that stuff too. The national Republicans ran TV ads playing up Mrs. Pelosi and Mr. Obama, neither of whom were on the ballot.

(Excerpt) Read more at online.wsj.com ...


TOPICS: Editorial; Government; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections; US: Pennsylvania
KEYWORDS: burns; critz; defeat; elections; lessons; markcritz; midterms; pa12; pennsylvania; pennsylvania12; republican; rout; timburns
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Some won't like this post, but I think there are important lessons to be taken from this piece. The GOP needs a specific agenda beyond "We're not Obama and Pelosi." Hell, run on repealing Obamacare if nothing else. But running on the crap Burns ran on? Obviously it ain't gonna work...wake up GOP. The other lessons are A) We should have gotten rid of Steele earlier this year when his irresponsible stewardship over RNC finances surfaced B) Conservatives need to get their butt in gear to get out to vote and to GET OUT THE VOTE this fall and not just assume we have it won.
1 posted on 05/19/2010 4:35:31 PM PDT by MissesBush
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To: MissesBush

Lessons- don’t raise expectations too high and don’t take anything for granted.


2 posted on 05/19/2010 4:36:32 PM PDT by Clintonfatigued (Obama's more worried about Israelis building houses than he is about Islamists building atomic bombs)
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To: MissesBush

I never considered Murtha’s old seat to be a “swing” seat. It has historically be very Dem leaning seat. But point taken about having to fight for seats and not taking anything for granted.


3 posted on 05/19/2010 4:39:24 PM PDT by taxcontrol
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To: MissesBush

Critz ran to the Right of Rush Limbaugh and was not called on it. Sadly, he will take his marching orders from Pelosi when he reaches DC. (They will allow him, however, to oppose when they have enough votes without him, a la Stupak.) The 2-1 Dim voter ratio was stupid enough to reelect Murtha after he insulted them repeatedly. How can we expect them to learn?


4 posted on 05/19/2010 4:39:41 PM PDT by Ingtar (My dog died yesterday, but less than expected. - Freeper Juan Meden)
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To: MissesBush
Pennsylvania has a closed primary. I am not sure if the Independents were allowed to vote or if they came out to vote for just the one race they should have been allowed to vote in. In Nov. when everything is up for grabs we will get most of the Independent vote. Things will be different for PA 12 then.
5 posted on 05/19/2010 4:40:36 PM PDT by Plumres
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To: Ingtar
Critz ran to the Right of Rush Limbaugh

There's the lesson in a nustshell.

Will the GOP learn? Probably not.

6 posted on 05/19/2010 4:41:23 PM PDT by skeeter
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To: MissesBush

If nothing else it’s giving Democrats a strategy to try and follow in the fall, especially for those candidates trying to retain the seats of retiring Democrats. Time will tell if it works.


7 posted on 05/19/2010 4:41:59 PM PDT by Non-Sequitur
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To: Plumres

Good point Plumres. The Democratic turnout for the primary surely helped Critz. And by November, Critz will have a voting record to defend. My bet is he’ll be just like all the other “Blue Dog Democrats,” more like lapdog Democrats.


8 posted on 05/19/2010 4:42:00 PM PDT by MissesBush (Stay angry--right through November)
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To: MissesBush
Murtha's district must be 90% communist. I wish them luck when the USA splits into the southern low tax states and the northern high tax states.

Can you say Greece redux?

9 posted on 05/19/2010 4:43:43 PM PDT by 2aberro
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To: MissesBush
Republicans also got outsmarted on message.

Yada, yada. Critz ran to the right of Atilla the Hun, in a 2-1 Dem/Rep district. We're coming mofos.......

10 posted on 05/19/2010 4:43:54 PM PDT by ScreamingFist
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To: MissesBush

The post is BS..the district is 2 to 1 democrat to GOP voters...

Anyone who expected another result was deluded...


11 posted on 05/19/2010 4:45:23 PM PDT by Crim (The Obama Doctrine : A doctrine based on complete ignorance,applied with extreme incompitence..)
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To: MissesBush

RINO,Race Baiting STEELEand his detestable”Team” in the RNC strikes OUT again! Remember Scott Brown and Chris Christie and the Virginia Governor made sure they kept STEELE and “HIS” RNC a Million Miles away from each of their Campaigns! This is a Big Warning! District 12’s Loss is a Horrendous Screwup on the part of the RNC and the Candidate!


12 posted on 05/19/2010 4:45:30 PM PDT by True Republican Patriot (May GOD Continue to BLESS Our Greatest President :George W. Bush!!)
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To: Plumres
Critz will have to take some stand on immigration and on cap and trade....

the pubs must stand for something....a balanced budget ammendment for instance....

13 posted on 05/19/2010 4:45:42 PM PDT by cherry
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To: MissesBush

Lessions from the rout? Is the WSJ serious? The RATs hold that district by a 2:1 margin but still the margin of victory was much closer than that margin! Moreover Critz won by adopting a much more conservative tone! All this ignores the fact he will only be serving until November. By then the Tea Party movement will only have grown stronger.


14 posted on 05/19/2010 4:46:13 PM PDT by Man50D (Fair Tax, you earn it, you keep it! www.FairTaxNation.com)
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To: MissesBush

The one thing the voters in No. 12 will find out is that Critz will not automatically assume all the powers and privileges his former boss had. He’s not going to be able to bring those costly taxpayer funded boondoggles, such as an airport no one uses to an area consisting of cow pasture and mines. Critz will be nothing more than a junior congressman. Maybe he’ll get a position on the House Dog Catcher Committee, but that’s about it.

Perhaps when it turns out that Critz can’t spend all that much money on unions and useless projects as Murtha had done in the past, the people might be inclined to pitch him out in November.


15 posted on 05/19/2010 4:46:20 PM PDT by fatnotlazy
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To: MissesBush
Sounds like WSJ is hitting the panic button. There were a number of factors at work here. For starters, Ed Rendell scheduled this election on the exact date of the Dem Senate primary to boost Dem turnout. 2nd of all, this district is hopelessly gerrymandered for Democrats. Third of all, the Dem candidate was a protege of Murtha and won the sympathy vote. 4th, voter registration is 2-1 Democrat.

I say screw this district. It's just one district out of 435. Let the clowns have their pork and their Rat candidates and be misled by Democrats.

16 posted on 05/19/2010 4:46:33 PM PDT by Extremely Extreme Extremist
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To: MissesBush
Hell, run on repealing Obamacare if nothing else.

You said it. I've been listening to candidates, commentators and pundits over the past few days. They go on about "the anti-incumbent mood" or anger over spending --- all of which are true, but they never mention Obamacare! This stood out to me in the stories on Blanche Lincoln. Obamacare sealed that woman's fate.

Republicans must point at any opponent who voted for Obamacare and remind voters of that, and if they weren't in Congress at the time, they should ask the opponent how they would have voted on it or whether they'd vote to repeal it. Pat Caddell said on Brian & the Judge this morning that the Republican Party could @$&@#% up a one car funeral. He is so on target with that, it seems.
17 posted on 05/19/2010 4:47:41 PM PDT by LostInBayport (When there are more people riding in the cart than there are pulling it, the cart stops moving.)
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To: MissesBush

The lesson I learned: Americans will continue to vote for “More Free Stuff from the Government”, over and over again, until the day when the Government’s checks are no longer cashable.


18 posted on 05/19/2010 4:47:57 PM PDT by Notary Sojac (I've been ionized, but I'm okay now.)
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To: MissesBush

Burns was a poor candidate, and unfortunately, Republicans are stuck with him again in November.
I think the lesson for the GOP establishment is: “you’re not wanted.” I don’t know what they’re going to constructively do with that. Unfortunately, they’re not going to roll over and embrace Main Street and the Tea Parties. Michael Steele and the RINOs aren’t going to see the handwriting on the wall and go quietly.

The lesson is we need good candidates, and the RNC under Steele, and the NRSC under Cornyn are not the ones to recruit them. It is up to the citizens and the Tea Parties. These are the candidates that will win, and they will not only take back our government, but also take back the Republican party. The Washington establishment and the GOP establishment are in bed together, and we’re going to break up their incestuous relationship for good.


19 posted on 05/19/2010 4:47:59 PM PDT by counterpunch (GOP: Government's Other Party)
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To: MissesBush

We’ll win some and we’ll lose some.


20 posted on 05/19/2010 4:48:40 PM PDT by cripplecreek (Remember the River Raisin! (look it up))
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To: Crim
The post is BS..the district is 2 to 1 democrat to GOP voters...

But McCain won this district in the 2008 pres. race, in a very tough election year for Republicans. Something went seriously awry here in a year that's suppose to be good for Republicans that Burns wasn't able to prevail. True the Dem. primary and low turnout no doubt helped Critz, but there are other lessons here we need to learn for the fall.

21 posted on 05/19/2010 4:49:09 PM PDT by MissesBush (Stay angry--right through November)
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To: MissesBush

It is a good post. An excellent reminder that the American public still like their freebies. I see no real evidence for this Republican tsunami many talking heads are predicting - particularly on Fox. There is nothing in these turnout numbers that give me a reason to believe the American public is really furious and “not going to take it anymore”. The GOP should win seats in November, but I seriously doubt they take either the House or Senate.

Oh, we did get another Paul out of Tuesday’s election. Ugh. More Paulbots inbound. At least Rand doesn’t sound like will be hanging up with Truthers like his Dad. If what we have to look forward to is more Paul family nonsense, the Republican Party is in serious trouble.


22 posted on 05/19/2010 4:50:43 PM PDT by Longbow1969
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To: MissesBush

This man ran as PRO LIFE

ANTI OBAMACARE

PRO GUN

How is this a lesson to us. Are we to disallow conservative dems to run for political office.

The man worked for Murtha in the home district office. He was the face of Murtha for years.

This knee jerk blather is unintelligent and laughable.


23 posted on 05/19/2010 4:50:56 PM PDT by Carley (WE CAN SEE NOVEMBER FROM OUR HOUSE)
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To: Plumres

Are you smoking COKE? The Independants most assuridly Voted in this Congressional Election! but possibly some more Indys will showin November, but OBOZO has Lots pf “STIMULUS MONEY” waiting for distribution on November 4th by the likes of ACORN, the Black Panthers,and every Demorat Ward Boss!


24 posted on 05/19/2010 4:51:47 PM PDT by True Republican Patriot (May GOD Continue to BLESS Our Greatest President :George W. Bush!!)
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To: Ingtar

“The 2-1 Dim voter ratio was stupid enough to reelect Murtha after he insulted them repeatedly.”

#####

Indeed.

And that is why I am not nearly so depressed over this loss. Did we really expect to win in the diseased, corrupt, lockstep Democrat area known as Pennsylvania 12.


25 posted on 05/19/2010 4:52:23 PM PDT by EyeGuy
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To: Ingtar

All the political signs where I live contain “Your Conservative Choice”. I am sure that is a common tactic to delude the masses.


26 posted on 05/19/2010 4:52:29 PM PDT by jerri (Is it over yet?)
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To: LostInBayport
Republicans must point at any opponent who voted for Obamacare and remind voters of that, and if they weren't in Congress at the time, they should ask the opponent how they would have voted on it or whether they'd vote to repeal it

Remind voters of all the Dems who voted against Obamacare the first time it hit the House, but who caved like cheap whores on the second go-around, ala Bart Stupak, Scott Murphy, etc. And tell voters guys like Critz are just as likely to cave if given a chance, esp. under the threats and cajoling of the Pelosi cabal.

27 posted on 05/19/2010 4:54:14 PM PDT by MissesBush (Stay angry--right through November)
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To: Carley
This man ran as PRO LIFE ANTI OBAMACARE PRO GUN How is this a lesson to us. Are we to disallow conservative dems to run for political office.

A good candidate and a good message could have overcome all that. With all the "Blue Dog Democrats" who exposed themselves as total phonies on Obamacare and the stimulus and the myriad other ways they've voted in lockstep with Pelosi, it should have been a no-brainer for Burns to lump Critz in with them as just another hack who pretends to be one thing at home and goes to DC to be Pelosi's best friend. How hard would it have been to just say "When given the choice between a pretend conservative and a real one, your surest bet is to go with the real conservative." Sorry, we can't be as cavalier and dismissive of this as you want to be. We need to apply what went awry here or November is going to be an embarrassment.

28 posted on 05/19/2010 4:59:16 PM PDT by MissesBush (Stay angry--right through November)
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To: MissesBush
We need to take on the myth of the blue dog. We need a simple commercial (a cartoon would be great) showing how blue dogs operate.
Their first vote is to make Nancy Pelosi Speaker. Their second is to give commitee seats to members of the progressive caucus.
When legislation comes up, they vote against it only when allowed to by Pelosi. She counts the votes and then allows a certain number to vote against liberal bills, only after esnuring that there are enough votes for them to pass. Blue Dogs claim to vote against Pelosi and Obama, but the only time they actually do so is when a liberal bill fails.

Of course the NRCC would never run such an ad. They would tell us that it is too confusing or mean spirited. It would be called "negative campaigning". But th etruth is that it would expose how the game is played, and the GOP leadership would prefer to lose.

29 posted on 05/19/2010 5:00:59 PM PDT by rmlew (There is no such thing as a Blue Dog Democrat; just liberals who lie.)
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To: True Republican Patriot
Actually, if they wanted to vote, and did vote, they are not “independent” anymore -— they had to declare a party!

Now, granted, Indys’ could vote in the special election, in question -—

But Rendell KNEW Dem turnout would be huge, and Rendell picked this date for a reason.

Conservatives need to understand strategy. A great many people do not vote on issues, at all. Also, Turnout and “coat-tails” are always in play.

The Dem Senate Primary was HOT -—

That helped any Dem (ONE, in the Special Election)

30 posted on 05/19/2010 5:01:50 PM PDT by Kansas58
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To: MissesBush
I agree with your conclusions but not the article. I live in 12 and I know the people. 2 to 1 dem to repub registration with 100,000 union members that do what they are told and this should have been a rout but it wasn't.

I think the vote count was around 70,000 for Crist and 60,000 for Burns with a turnout of 45,000 Repubs. That means Burns got 15,000 independent an/or dem votes and a 10,000 margin with a 2 to 1 advantage in a district that was specifically gerrymandered to benefit murtha.

31 posted on 05/19/2010 5:06:51 PM PDT by Eagles6 ( Typical White Guy: Christian, Constitutionalist, Heterosexual, Redneck.)
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To: MissesBush
Rout?

A 7.6% MOV is not a rout.

32 posted on 05/19/2010 5:08:07 PM PDT by LdSentinal
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The winning strategy here was not that difficult:

Mr. Critz said he was against all of that stuff too.

"Do we want to send someone to Washington who has to fight his own leadership to represent us?"

"Will you therefore, if elected, not vote for Pelosi for speaker?"

"What will Pelosi do? Punish our Rep with no position and no power - for us?"

etc. etc.

33 posted on 05/19/2010 5:11:22 PM PDT by D-fendr (Deus non alligatur sacramentis sed nos alligamur.)
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To: MissesBush
But McCain won this district in the 2008 pres. race

Simple answer there. Democrat voters in that district are racist and won't vote for a black man.

34 posted on 05/19/2010 5:12:01 PM PDT by USNBandit (sarcasm engaged at all times)
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To: MissesBush

Bump. Seems like a good article to me. Readers need to distinguish between the psyops “analysis” articles that lefty organizations like the AP puts out (along with the more obviously liberal trash, that is) and constructive criticism by conservatives for conservatives. Conservative Republicans and others people in the constitution, Libertarian parties, etc. often seem to think that if Dems go too far, the Republican party will be swept back into power, clean up the beltway for good, and everything will be hunky dory again. Others have given up hope, thinking that the Left-Democrat insurgency will never really ever go away no matter how they vote. There is a bit of truth in both points of view.


35 posted on 05/19/2010 5:13:07 PM PDT by dr_who
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To: MissesBush

I don’t know a thing about the republican in this race so I can’t comment on his message.

Seems there have been several really good men running against Murtha since he maligned our marines but none have been able to beat him......even in death it would seem.


36 posted on 05/19/2010 5:14:10 PM PDT by Carley (WE CAN SEE NOVEMBER FROM OUR HOUSE)
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To: MissesBush

...not only that, but this writer isn’t the only person who is suspicous about the Fairtax.


37 posted on 05/19/2010 5:14:56 PM PDT by dr_who
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To: Kansas58

You are 1 Trillion Percent Correct! Fast Eddie Rendell is a Sleasemeister First Class....He has all but destroyed Pennsylvaniafor his and his Party’s Gain! and he will do everything and anything to get Sestak elected in Nov. with that disgusting Onarato and everthing he can do to destroy Charley Dent and all Patriotic Pennsylvanians! We have to stop the Rendell Thugs and get Toomey, Dent, Burns and every great Pennsylavanian Conservative Candidate elected!
...........or America as we Love Her will be gone by 2012!!


38 posted on 05/19/2010 5:15:39 PM PDT by True Republican Patriot (May GOD Continue to BLESS Our Greatest President :George W. Bush!!)
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To: Carley

The GOP would be wise to point out to the voters the current performance (i.e. Stupak & Co)of current Blue Dogs and how they easily compromise those values.


39 posted on 05/19/2010 5:18:11 PM PDT by DarthVader (That which supports Barack Hussein Obama must be sterilized and there are NO exceptions!)
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To: counterpunch

Good analysis. To me, the operative words in the article were “low turnout.” Had the GOP — or any other organizations that tout themselves as being movers and shakers — bothered doing the grassroots organizing that was necessary, they could have beaten the Dem with a good Repub voter turnout.

I can’t think of one Washington organization, with the possible exception of AFP, that is really serious about grassroots organizing. In fact, I personally know of one whose national political director is so divisive that when he goes in to organize, he creates such dissension that he destroys whatever he touches. Did that up in NY23. Angrily took over Hoffman’s campaign just as he was surging, reversed the momentum, and pulled defeat out of the jaws of victory. All because he divided everyone around him.

The Right needs to get serious about boots on the ground.


40 posted on 05/19/2010 5:18:38 PM PDT by hampdenkid
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To: MissesBush

They won the district with the help of odumbo/murtha team calling them stupid racists


41 posted on 05/19/2010 5:24:53 PM PDT by italianquaker (obama all hat no cattle)
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To: DarthVader

Definitely point out that every single so called pro life dem voted FOR the abortion is health care bill.


42 posted on 05/19/2010 5:28:29 PM PDT by Carley (WE CAN SEE NOVEMBER FROM OUR HOUSE)
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To: Ingtar
I don't remember seeing a democrat on the ballot in this race, there was the conservative and the tea party guy.

I agree with Rush, let's have the dems run on 0bama's agenda, leave OUR platform to us, and see who wins.

43 posted on 05/19/2010 5:30:03 PM PDT by infidel29 (Islamunism: When we all share the misery for being infidels)
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To: taxcontrol

I find it ironic that this author stated that neither Ms. Pelosi or Obama were on the ballot. The same holds true when zero is spewing and blaming Bush for everything. Bush isn’t and wasn’t on the ballot either,but, that didn’t stop the radical machine from putting him on it.

More hypocrisy from the liberal left.


44 posted on 05/19/2010 5:32:04 PM PDT by Catsrus (Have)
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To: True Republican Patriot
Are you smoking COKE? The Independants most assuridly Voted in this Congressional Election!

Independents CANNOT vote in the PA primary. It is a closed primary and only those registered as dem or repub are allowed to vote for candidates. Independents can vote for ballot measures, etc. but not for candidates.

45 posted on 05/19/2010 5:32:08 PM PDT by Shethink13
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To: Crim

Rush talked about the reality of this election and the RATs are still going to be TOAST in November. Everybody I talk to is in a major state of rage and want all RATs and RINOs out along with the Fuhrer.


46 posted on 05/19/2010 5:36:29 PM PDT by ExTexasRedhead (Clean the RAT/RINO Sewer in 2010 and 2012)
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To: MissesBush
"Republicans who were counting on their voters to be more enthusiastic should be concerned that too many stayed home when it counted. "
47 posted on 05/19/2010 5:44:07 PM PDT by SmartInsight (Bad officials are elected by good citizens who do not vote. ~ G. J. Nathan)
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To: Notary Sojac

The only lesson from this election will not be learned...we will never face it, ever.

That is that the ballot box cannot save us.


48 posted on 05/19/2010 5:45:59 PM PDT by roses of sharon (I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13)
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To: Carley

Point out how they vote for Pelosi as speaker too.


49 posted on 05/19/2010 5:49:05 PM PDT by DarthVader (That which supports Barack Hussein Obama must be sterilized and there are NO exceptions!)
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To: MissesBush

Murtha’s district hass been conditioned over decades—it is all about the pork up there. The union-bots there want to suck up all the fed dollars they can get and they know the Dem will sleazebag it up on their behalf.


50 posted on 05/19/2010 5:50:54 PM PDT by PaleoBob
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