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Margaret Carlson Headshot

Santorum's Woes May Be Omen for Republicans

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Pennsylvania is the state that time forgot. Except for Philadelphia, and to a lesser extent Pittsburgh, it exists outside the Northeast liberal corridor that it's lumped in with. It has the lowest penetration by Starbucks of any state I've ever been in.

When I go home to the house in a suburb where my older brother still lives, I'm back in the 1950s of bingo nights at the parish hall and a conservatism that runs toward preserving tradition and quietly practicing religion, not imposing it on others. Democrats lost ground in the state when people like my father began to see the party as more interested in protecting abortion, amnesty and acid than the working and middle classes.

Yet Democrat Bob Casey Jr. is now poised to knock off Senator Rick Santorum, the third-most-powerful Republican in the Senate. Casey -- an opponent of abortion who identifies with the people who take the early bus and play by the rules -- is my Dad's kind of Democrat. The party grasped that this year.

In 1992, Democrats wouldn't allow Casey's father to speak during prime time at their convention because he was anti- abortion. This year, Democrats wooed his son, who is Pennsylvania's state treasurer, to run. It was a profitable seduction. Casey has held a steady lead over Santorum in the public opinion polls for much of the campaign.

Santorum constantly reminds folks that he's a strong finisher (true) who will win in the end (you never know). Santorum has his strengths, especially personality to burn. Casey is so charisma-challenged that the room works him rather than the other way around.

Read the whole column here.