Goodbye to My Former Congress Critter

I never really completely liked Curt Weldon (which is probably true of any politician), when I lived in PA’s 7th congressional District, but I’m not really happy to see him replaced by an asshole like Joe Sestak. Gil Spencer has an editorial in the Delaware County Times that I think is worth a read if you follow Southeastern Pennsylvania politics:

When Weldon said during the campaign that he entered Congress poor 20 years ago and would leave congress poor, he wasn’t kidding. Exaggerating maybe, but only slightly. Compared to his peers, Weldon is poor. And not only poor, but under federal investigation for public corruption because he is suspected of helping friends and family make money off his political position.

The last spotting of Weldon I heard about was around Christmas time. He was at the Granite Run Mall, in jeans and a ball cap, pushing a stroller with one of his grandkids in it. His lawyer, Bill Canfield, says he’ll probably go back to teaching. No doubt he is hoping it will not be at some federal prison camp.
What’s true is that compared to many of his peers, Weldon is a piker when it comes to turning his office into a moneymaking machine.

Pennsylvania Democrat Jack Murtha ranks 335th among his fellow congressmen for personal net worth, but he’s helped his brother, Kit, and others make tens of millions. William Jefferson (D-La.) is said to be worth between $842,000 and $1.7 million depending, I guess, on whether all his appliances have been searched.

I don’t have a soft spot for corrupt politicians, and if Weldon is really guilty of what he’s been accused of, then I’m glad to have him out, but I’m not happy to have him replaced by Sestak, who I think will be a disaster for Delaware County. Weldon’s seat was targeted by the Democrats at the national level, and Weldon had a tough time keeping up with Sestak’s money machine. It was a bloodbath for Republicans in the Philadelphia suburbs. The surprising thing in all this is that the man no one expected to keep his seat, Jim Gerlach, managed to eek out a victory over Lois Murphy. The defeat of my Congress Critter, Mike Fitzpatrick, by Pat Murphy, hadn’t garnered as much media attention since Fitzpatrick had only served a single term in Congress, and was an easy target.

At some point the Republicans are going to have to deal with a basic fact if they want these seats back in 2008; that George W. Bush’s version of conservatism is wildly unpopular in the traditionally heavily Republican Philadelphia suburbs. Under Bush’s reign, the suburbs are becoming more blue, and to reverse that trend, the Republicans will need a candidate who can appeal to the middle. Philadelphia Republicans are economic conservatives, and while they might go for some of the milder social conservatism of the party, Bush’s record of freewheeling spending, combined with embracing some of the more radical social conservative elements of the party have alienated him from voters in this area. The culture of corruption the Republicans fostered in Congress didn’t help either, but that can probably be said of voters anywhere.