Dashed opportunity in Pa. mean GOP has given up on minority voters?

By Wayne Dawkins
 
Maybe the Republican Party has given up any pretense of appealing to voters of color.
 
Former congressman and GOP strategist Tom Davis gave a curious analysis of his party’s failure to grab the Pennsylvania 12th Congressional District seat that was vacant because of the recent death of conservative Democrat John Murtha: “That’s a district that [John] McCain carried – this is a blue-collar seat, doesn’t have a lot of minorities in it. It’s tailor-made for Republican pickup,” Davis lamented, “and Republicans didn’t win.”
 
The “few minorities” sound bite rattled in my head for a second time Tuesday and I wondered just how pathetic the national Republican Party had become. During the final weeks of the 2008 presidential campaign, Murtha acknowledged that many of his constituents had racist attitudes and might be unable to see past candidate Barack Obama’s color.
 
When it was time to vote the very military district won the battle by choosing John McCain, a fellow war veteran, but lost the war because Obama prevailed nationally.
 
In Tuesday’s prelude to the November midterm congressional election, the majority of 12th District voters went with the Democrat, Mark Critz. Those hard-knock residents apparently don’t have a hate-the-Washington-establishment mentality. Murtha was beloved because he was a Washington insider who brought goodies back to his struggling district. A BBC report crassly reported that Murtha was elected to be a looter; he robbed as much federal pork as possible for his constituents, yet did not enrich himself.
 
The handful of special elections Tuesday produced a murky forecast of the November congressional elections.
 
Also in Pennsylvania, it was the end of the line for incumbent Arlen Specter, the long-time moderate Republican who switched to the Democrats last year and delivered a crucial vote to Obama and the Democratic Congress that got health care legislation into law.
 
His party switch was too chameleon-like for Democratic voters. Specter changed his spots because he knew he couldn’t get re-elected as a Republican.
 
After 30 years it was buh bye Specter.
 
But thanks for that health care vote. Specter, 80, contributed to an accomplishment he can brag about in his memoirs.
 
Elsewhere, Senator Blanche Lincoln, D-Arkansas, was forced into a run off with two opponents. It’s hard to say who wanted to punch her out more, conservative Republicans or liberal Democrats?
 
Kentucky, which is striving harder for irrelevance, chose Rand Paul, the Libertarian Republican who benefitted from Tea Party support.
 
Since the Tea Partiers brew is as stable as hydrochloric acid, it will be interesting to see is Paul can make it to the fall election without getting burned.


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