Mar 2, 2010

Taking Bets: Will Congresswoman Kathy Dahlkemper Be a One Hit Wonder?

Written by Roberta Biros

With little political activity in Mercer County this year, we are left to focus on the one big race that faces Mercer Countians and voters in the Northwest corner of PA . . . the race for the much coveted seat in the 3rd Congressional District. The race is shaping up to be one featuring the current incumbent, Congresswoman Kathy Dahlkemper, against any one of many Republican challengers. Regardless of which Republican ends up on top after the Primary, the final result will be the same. I’m willing to bet my bottom dollar that Congresswoman Dahlkemper will lose her seat after only one lack-luster term in the U.S. House of Representatives . . . and rightly so.

To examine why the results are so simple to predict, we need to examine a few issues . . . the past, the present, and the future.

The Past (2008)

First, let us examine the past . . . long past. Let us take a time machine trip back to 2008 when Mrs. Dahlkemper ran against long-time incumbent Phil English. It is first important to understand that Mrs. Dahlkemper didn’t win against Phil English because she was the best possible candidate. No way . . . not by a long shot. Mrs. Dahlkemper won against Phil English because conservatives wanted Phil English OUT.

The chatter before the 2008 General Election was that conservatives would vote for Dahlkemper just to boot Phil’s rear-end out of Washington and to the curb. The idea was to get rid of Phil English so that he could be replaced with a “real” conservative in 2010. It was a chance that Mercer Conservatives were willing to take (Clarification: in this case, “Mercer Conservatives” is not referring to me, but to the body of conservative voters in Mercer County as a whole). Mrs. Dahlkemper won the 3rd District because conservatives LET her win.

In 2008, Mrs. Dahlkemper ran against a non-existent Phil English campaign in Mercer County. There were NO English signs displayed in the County (even though it is my understanding that there were hundreds available), and there were no visible efforts by those in charge of the English campaign to fight Mrs. Dahlkemper. There has been some speculation that this downplaying of the Republican support was part of the backroom dealings in the “Mercer County Incumbent Party”, but regardless of WHY it happened, Mrs. Dahlkemper won Mercer County.

The Past (2009)

Rather than understanding HOW she got there, Mrs. Dahlkemper went on to make more mistakes by listening to the Democratic leadership in Mercer County. They insisted that “they” were the reason for Mrs. Dahlkemper’s 2008 win, and they insisted that the Congresswoman “owed” the Progressive wing of Mercer County politics some level of payback. While Mrs. Dahlkemper had the right idea by announcing her “Blue Dog” affiliation early in 2009, she was also quick to abandon those values when pressured by Progressive Democrats. She has taken bad advice from Mercer County Democrats and members of her own staff, and she is left looking spineless and lacking leadership abilities.

The Present

Let us examine the present as it applies to Congresswoman Dahlkemper. She finds herself at the center of the health care debate in Washington. While she “promised” to support health care reform, she also “promised” to be pro-life. She promised to be a fiscal conservative, but also promised to support one of the most fiscally irresponsible health care bills in our country’s history. (Sidebar: Don’t get me wrong . . . I support the idea of health care reform, but this 2000+ page Bill isn’t what I was looking for.) Mrs. Dahlkemper seems to have made too many promises that she simply cannot keep. In the end, she attempted to be all things to all people but ultimately she stands for absolutely nothing.

In addition to her decision making problems, Mrs. Dahlkemper simply isn’t a good “people person”. I’ve met her numerous times. I’ve been introduced to her (and have been introduced) so many times that I cannot even count the instances. Yet, Mrs. Dahlkemper wouldn’t know me if I walked up to her at an event with a name tag on. I’ve written numerous letters and email messages to her office in Erie, and I have never received so much as a courtesy response. She has no people skills. She has no personality. She seems to be a bit of a “muppet” with an interesting “deer in the headlights” look to her. I don’t mean to be unkind, I’m simply stating it like I see it . . .Congresswoman Dahlkemper gives the impression of being a very empty suit.

The Future

Lastly, when we examine the future we see that “Millionaire” Kathy Dahlkemper doesn’t have enough time or money to re-invent herself before November of 2010. She spent the last year taking advantage of photo-ops but has managed to make no real or substantial impact in Washington. Her most important piece of legislation was simply a photocopy of Rep. Longietti’s “failure to launch” Bill. It is a Bill that makes it possible for parents to cover their “children” on their heath insurance policies until their “children” are nearing retirement age (I exaggerate, but I simply think that 30 years old is simply too old to continue to be covered by your parents insurance). The bill seems ridiculous at the State level and is even more so at the Federal level.

The Congresswoman has shown her true colors, and it will be impossible for her to re-paint herself as a fiscal conservative between now and November. She will have NO support from Mercer County Democrats because Mercer County Democrats are all too busy watching out for themselves. Additionally, the leadership of the Mercer County Democrat Committee made clear statements last year that Mrs. Dahlkemper’s “Blue Dog” roots make her “as bad as a Republican”. I’m sure that isn’t the glowing endorsement that she would be hoping for. The Mercer County Republicans will be of no assistance to Mrs. Dahlkemper this time around either as they have too many deals that require payback after the 2009 election. Ginny Richardson, Bob Robbins, and Dave King made some hefty promises to the state GOP last year that will require their very serious involvement in ousting Mrs. Dahlkemper this year. If the Congresswoman is looking for help, she will need to find it in Crawford County or Erie, but she will be wasting her time in Mercer County as a whole.

In Closing

Based on her experiences in the past, present, and future, Congresswoman Dahlkemper will undoubtedly be a “one-hit wonder”. With any luck, a “Conservative” will win the seat in the 3rd Congressional District and Mrs. Dahlkemper will have served her purpose well. She will go down in history as the temporary placeholder that got rid of Phil English.

As always, just my opinion.
~Mercer County Conservatives

1 comment:

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