It will come as a surprise to no one that I am voting for JOE SESTAK in Tuesday’s Democratic primary election for US Senate. I have known the man since the day he began his race for Congress in my district. He is fiercely independent; in fact he was registered independent all those years he served in the Navy because he believed that a naval officer should be politically non-partisan. He can be stubborn as he clings to his principles. He expects those who work for him to work as hard as he does and love 7am meetings. He evaluates a situation or a proposal and then makes a determination. He can be convinced to alter that determination but only by a clear recital of relevant facts. Political arguments, especially what does or does not benefit him politically, carry no weight with him. He does not think like a politician but he is a great candidate for office. And he was a superb Congressman for the four years he represented the people of three counties. He is a Liberal but not knee-jerk. He is progressive in his thinking but moderate in his rhetoric. He is an advocate of a strong defense yet supports negotiation over confrontation.
A cynical public may doubt his reason for seeking and holding public office which is to give back to the country that provided him with a superior education (Naval Academy and Harvard University) and the health insurance that saved his daughters life. I know the man and I know that his reason is sincere. He has spent the last 5 years continuing to campaign for the US Senate time and again not seeking other offices just for political advancement. When in the midst of his last Senate campaign in 2010, I suffered a stroke and underwent an 8 hour operation, it was Joe Sestak learned of the operation, found the hospital and spent time comforting my wife and daughters while they waited. He never told that story during that campaign.
We live in a time when lying and creating one’s own facts are the standards of the day in political campaigning. In Joe’s case his opposition, is the Democratic Party establishment of Pennsylvania and DC. (By establishment I mean the party officials and Democratic public officials who are self proclaimed leaders of the party. Joe is actually supported by many of the rank and file committee persons and local activists.) These Democratic leaders have lowered themselves to the level of distorting his liberal progressive and pro-Obama administration Congressional voting record. And, they are even spending 4 million dollars (of contributions made by sincere donors to the DSCC to help make the Senate Democrat) to defeat Joe in the upcoming primary. Their choice is someone they are more comfortable with and someone they think will do and act as they are told to. You see that’s Joe’s political problem. He refuses to think, talk, vote and act like other political leaders want him to. If he agrees with them of course he will advocate for their position. If he disagrees with them he won’t remain silent.
I know this better than most because I was chairman of the Democratic Party of Delaware County for most of the four years that Joe Sestak was Congressman. I have spent my entire adult life in politics and some have said that I eat, sleep and drink politics. I have known many elected officials in my life; some of the best and some of the worst. Joe Sestak is not a politician. He is a decent compassionate man. He is a hard working and really great candidate for public office. He is a conscientious, tireless public official. He served his country for years on the seas in war and peace. He served his county for four years in the Congress of his nation. As for the United States Senate “He is Ready to Serve”. And, the sinking ship that is the US Senate certainly could use an Admiral to set it upright.
22 April 2016.