Pennsylvania Progressive Summit Friday

I arrived at the Harrisburg Sheraton around 5 PM yesterday to find a lot of friends here, people who have worked tirelessly for months organizing this event.  I know the hotel well from covering many Democratic State Committee meetings at this venue.  Tons of dedicated liberal activists, labor leaders, and candidates are roaming the halls and networking.  There are lots of people I don’t know (yet) so seeing new faces is amazing.

The Gubernatorial debate was interesting.  It was quite clear who the progressives are and who the pretenders are.  The audience repeatedly gave Joe Hoeffel loud rounds of applause as he hit question after question out of the park.  The loudest applause of the night was his advocacy for single payer healthcare.  Chris Doherty is obviously the next best progressive candidate.  He isn’t the best speaker (by a long shot) but established his bona fides well.  Jack Wagner, as usual, was polished and professional but completely avoided answering a question about abortion.  He is virulently anti-choice.  He and Dan Onorato both said they would not support same sex marriage.  This is a core progressive issue along with a woman’s right to choose.

The state’s primary political reporters are all here covering the event and debates (well, forum tonight as Sen. Specter refused to debate).  Today will be a very long day full of speeches and panels.  I organized the panel on Blogging 101 and hop to see a good crowd gather to learn about blogging and ask questions.  I already have a full camcorder from the Gubernatorial debate and need to download it to my computer then upload it to YouTube.  

12 thoughts on “Pennsylvania Progressive Summit Friday”

  1. Actually the loudest cheers of the night were for abortion and the second loudest was for same sex marriage, single payer was the third loudest cheer of the night. We count on you to be accurate John.

    Also none of the candidates were anti-choice. They all said they would veto a bill if the legislature passed one criminalizing abortion.

    Jack Wagner actually made the other candidates look a bit naive at times when he pointed out all of the wasted money, inefficienies and corruption in our states government. This will make our state government serve us much better with more money to spend without raising taxes.

    I don’t see how Joe Hoeffel can win a PA general election or even a primary by going around saying he is “socially liberal”.

    The most important issues right now are getting people back to work and forming a sound energy/environmental policy. Education is up there too.

    Jack Wagner seems to me to be the best qualified on these issues.

    It will be interesting to see how many cheers Mr. Hoeffel receives this next week and in future debates when he is in front of the whole of the Democratic party.  

  2. “I know for a fact Wagner is anti-choice…I am on the Board of Planned Parenthood…”

    Is that it John…is this the primary issue that fetches your non-support for a worthy Democratic and pro-union candidate…the same issue that (absent the Republicans) now threatens any chance to reform healthcare?

    With your Planned Parenthood friends and their obsessed single issue followers, the Republican rightwing now has all the allies it needs to defeat any chance for heathcare for hard-pressed Americaan working families and the 45.7 million uninsured who are left without the same security that both you and I enjoy.

    Since you are in so many other ways in solidarity with Pennsylvania’s 900,000 members of organized labor, I suggest you may want to re-think your rather capricious denunciation of candidate Jack Wagner.

    Forgive me, but there are many more important issues for one to focus on than abortion.

    In the event you are nevertheless determined to focus on a single issue, you might wish to zero in on the uninsured and the under-insured American families who are victimized by terribly high rates of cancer, including that of the colon, liver and lungs and of the breast and uterine, as well as heart disease, diabetes and many other ultimately crippling or fatal diseases.

    If you really want to make a difference, begin by throwing away your PC handbook…better yet, set the damn thing on fire and come out into the real world where you will find it is full of many thousands of people who desparately need your help.

    Matt Thomas


  3. I attended this debate  but not the summit because State corruption has forced me into poverty and not allowed me an education or a means of supporting myself.  I also knew that most of the other attendees would have their own agendas.

    I was shocked, appalled and embarrassed at what I felt were the loudest cheering applause and whoops for abortion.  The crowd showed NO CLASS in its sports-fan enthusiasm for abortion, a sensitive and complex issue.  The crowd response would substantiate the right’s feelings that women are a bunch of abortion happy hos who want health care to pay for their abortions.  

    Any candidate who makes an issue of same sex marriage and medicare for all health care will NOT win in Pennsylvania.  

    Only one candidate addressed the fraud, waste and abuse in Pennsylvania politics and that was the current auditor general who has, in his current postion, taken on the establishment.  

    The question asked about cash assistance contained more complexities than most summit attendees are educated about.  In fact, Mr. Wagner admitted that these DHS programs are rife with abuse and if the abuse was curtailed, there would be more support for those who need it.  I personally know a lot about how welfare programs are directly funding marriage promotion, abstinence education and fatherhood, and pro-abuse extended custody litigation.

    Each candidate continually mentioned their support of education yet welfare will NOT  pay for education!  

    I will back a candidate who is genuine and honest even if their opinion is not popular.  And I will always back a candidate whose primary focus is on stopping the absurd and prevalent fraud and corruption.

  4. Doolittle, no one applauded for abortion, as you mistakenly wrote. We applauded for the freedom to choose whether or not to reproduce. No one gets pregnant just to have an abortion.

    However, those women who become pregnant involuntarily through rape, incest, failure of birth control, etc. and those whose very lives or health are threatened by their pregnancies should have the freedom to choose whether or not to have a baby.

    It would be wrong of the government to tell a woman that she must have an abortion. It is equally wrong for the government to tell a woman that she must have a baby.

  5. Proving the natural instinct to take offense when priorities differ – I NEVER said I was against Roe v. Wade.  What I said is that the audience “exhibited a sports-fan enthusiasm which I felt was inappropriate considering the complex nature of the issue.”  

    Then I said that what YOU define as THE Progressive issues (single payer health care and gay marriage) will NOT win an election in Pennsylvania.  

    Then I said that MY priority issue was getting rid of abuse, fraud and corruption. There was ONLY ONE candidate who addressed these problems.  And I feel that addressing political corruption and fraud CAN win votes.

    As a party we may run excellent candidates, but as our recent local election proved – they will NOT win in the current tea bagging atmosphere.  

    You are telling me that Progressives have a check list in the same manner as Republicans??

    I would love to attend your wedding some day.  As a person I am not a fan of marriage, but I realize that others think it is important.  Sadly, I DO feel that the political culture will not support an all out push for an unbiased marriage law in Pennsylvania and I would hate to see the Party deny backing a qualified candidate who may appeal to moderate independant voters because of a progressive agenda.  

    JOhn, when you defended Jack Panella and the Judicial Conduct Board’s right to ignore corrupt Judges you denied me some rights, but I did not take personal insult.    

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