Smith can win in November
It’s possible. It shouldn’t be vastly more difficult than a Romney win in PA.
Granted, if you believe the polls, a Romney victory assumes an optimistic scenario. But given that 2008 and 2010 were both outlier years, there is a degree of uncertainty in the turnout models used by pollsters. I’m also a fan of playing everywhere. If you don’t plan to win in PA, you’re planning to lose it. Obama won a couple of extra states in 2008 because he was organized in every state. [Begrudging hat-tip to Howard Dean's "50 state strategy" at the DNC.] And if we lose PA at the Presidential level once again, we’ll see the Keystone state being written off for the indefinite future.
Obama is the worst President within anybody’s living memory. Economic policy, foreign policy, social policy… pretty much disasters all around. (At least LBJ and Nixon could tell our allies from our enemies.) What will it say if we can’t beat Obama in 2012? That’s not a scenario I care to contemplate.
So for the purposes of talking about the Senate race, I assume that it’s at least conceivable that Romney wins in PA.
As of this writing, the Real Clear Politics spread for the Presidential race in PA is Obama+8. The spread on the Senate race is Casey+15.2. Step-one is to close the spread. Casey has a truly atrocious, liberal voting record. Given that Casey and Obama are about 98% the same person, and if you think about it, Tom Smith is in a lot of ways a more likeable guy than Mitt Romney, closing the gap should be somewhat easier than people think.
It seems some folks still haven’t gotten the memo that Casey really isn’t a moderate. Whether you believe the conservative organizations (ACU = 5.65, Heritage Action = 3, NTU = F, Club for Growth = 2) or the liberal ones (ACLU = 73, Americans for Democratic Action = 100, League of Conservation Voters = 100, NAACP = 100, SEIU = 91), Bob Casey Jr. has an extremely liberal voting record. Our supposedly “pro-life” Senator even scores 65% from NARAL.
Those are the aggregate numbers. Behind those abstract figures lie real liberal votes. He voted for ObamaCare, destroyer of jobs and religious freedoms. He voted for the abominable stimulus/”Recovery Act” that sunk us deeper into debt to China for no discernible economic benefit. He voted for EPA regulations that will hurt Pennsylvania both in the form of lost coal industry jobs and in the form of skyrocketing higher electricity costs. He voted to continue taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood, provider of approximately three hundred thousand abortions per year. He voted to continue funding for ACORN even after multiple video stings revealed a systemic propensity to help pimps of underage children evade law enforcement, to say nothing of ACORN’s sordid history with voter registration fraud. (Hey, didn’t we just go through some kind of big scandal with child sex abuse? Think that issue might have any resonance?) He supports EFCA/”Card Check”, giving free hand to employee intimidation by union organizers. He supports taxpayer bailouts of private pension programs. He voted against several international free trade agreements that would have helped the US economy, including the Colombia FTA, which was a no-brainer for approval from a US jobs perspective, and the rejection of which was a gross geopolitical error (in favor of Hugo Chavez and against a cooperative Colombian government). He voted against common-sense labor reforms like allowing union workers to earn raises. He voted for higher taxes on domestic oil production. He voted for higher taxpayer mortgage guarantees for rich people. And he voted against Senator Toomey’s amendment that would eliminate legislative earmarks, currency of shady vote-trading in Congress and source of much abuse.
That Casey continues to skate by as a “moderate” with such an abysmal voting record is astonishing.
Expose Casey as being objectively something other than what the voters were led to believe he was, and that Presidential/Senate vote gap should close up pretty nicely. Assume that the national environment will continue to favor Republicans, and hope that the Romney campaign has some mojo.
So yes, I think it’s possible that Smith wins in November, assuming a few stars align correctly. They did for Pat Toomey, another guy who “couldn’t win”, and who we now refer to as “Senator”.