It might not seem so, but this post IS about nature. Conor Lamb’s win in Pennsylania’s 18th Congressional District last night is a good omen in our fight for the environment.
With the most evil anti-environmentalist in the White House and with his twisted cronies, like Ryan Zinke, head of Interior, doing their best to dismantle all possible environment rules and regulations, it is vital that we start taking our country back form the crazies, and Lamb’s win last night is a very good first step in that direction.
By Bob Quarteroni
I enlarged this into a mini-poster for my office wall.
That’s the results of 2016’s presidential election in my county, Luzerne, and the glaringly large number of votes that went to Donald Trump, leaving Hillary Clinton more than 26,000 votes behind.
Stunning. Stunning because Luzerne went for Obama in the prior election.
And even more stunning because as of March 5 of this year there are 106,203 registered Democrats in the county and only 74,568 Republicans.
Maddening. Confusing. Exasperating.
I trot this out perhaps too often, but I’m always struck by the truth of it: James Carville’s now famous description of Pennsylvania as Philadelphia and Pittsburgh with Alabama in between. And Luzerne County is the poster child for that, hail the new North Alabama.
All of this is prologue as to why I’ve become almost pathologically obsessed with the special election in the 18th Congressional District, a western Pennsylvania doppelganger for Luzerne County.
That multi-country district went for Trump 58 to 39 percent over Hillary despite the fact that it too has more registered Democrats than registered Republicans, 46 percent to 41 percent.
And we even have matching faded industries that once were the counties’ bulwark: anthracite coal for us, steel for the 18th..
What intrigued me the most about this contest is the one new wild card in the race, Democratic candidate Conor Lamb, who is in many ways a DINO, a Democrat in Name Only.
Lamb, 33, and seemingly born to be in front of a television camera, agrees with his opponent, the underwhelming ultraconservative Republican Rick Saccone — who has described himself as “Trump before Trump was Trump” — on approving Trump’s tariffs, on gun control and even went so far as to say that he would not vote with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.
This smacks of orthodox heresy, of course, and would not pass any pure Democratic litmus tests.
Hell, he even says he personally opposes abortion but backs the Supreme Court’s decision legalizing it.
He’s not pure blue, that’s for sure. He’s more candy cane striped blue and red.
And you know what, I’m just fine with that.
I’m not only just fine with that I think it’s THE model to follow in all upcoming elections, from Congress down to the local level, if we want to reclaim our country from the forces of craziness that are overrunning it right now.
It is time to stop and realize that we cannot allow perfect to become the enemy of good. We can’t strive for 100 percent ideological purity – and the general election loses that go along with that – when we can find a good, decent candidate who might have some ideological tarnishes, but are electable.
Or, as Confucius said, “Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without.”
It is past time to start understanding that if we want to woo back the voters who deserted the Democratic Party for Trump and allowed the Republicans to gain control of both houses of Congress, we need to come up with better candidates.
And by better I mean more palatable to not only Mr. and Mrs. North Alabama but also Mr. and Mrs. Actual Alabama and Mr. and Mrs. Minnesota and Mr. and Mrs. West Virginia.
We’ve got to forget this purity nonsense when it comes to candidates and be ready to take one – or several – for the team when it comes to accepting some things we find distasteful or unpalatable.
As with Lamb. Sure I wish he didn’t support the tariffs or be so firm in his stand against gun control (though I have to admit I’m with him in his opposition to Pelosi; I think she’s part of the problem and it’s way past time she put down her gavel and let a fresh face led the Democratic Party in a new direction).
To put it most simply, by not being the perfect candidate, he is the PERFECT candidate…. if we want to win these elections.
But I’ve been digging too deep into the negatives. Despite his heresies he’s also a perfect candidate because, while he strays from orthodoxy, he has awesome credentials and a great story to tell.
He’s an Ivy Leaguer who was a Captain in the Marine Corps and served overseas. As an Assistant U.S. Attorney from 2014 to 2017, Lamb led prosecutions against drug dealers and violent criminals and helped establish the Justice Department’s Pittsburgh office as a national leader in the fight against the heroin epidemic.
A staunch Catholic, he went to Central Catholic High School (by an odd coincidence, the name of my high school as well), run by Christian Brothers, an order that takes a vow of poverty.
He’s also handsome, well-spoken and incredibly telegenic. As the New Yorker said, “He is so wholesome-looking that he is frequently mistaken for a Jehovah’s Witness.”
The fact that he managed to run so well in Ruby Red Land and actually win last night’s election only reinforces my opinions that he is the template for Democratic success: Be practical, sensible, pragmatic when it comes to selecting candidates, candidates that aren’t so ultra-liberal they scare away a goodly number of voters.
Let the purity stay with the angels and seraphim and lesser and greater gods. Let us draft candidates, warts and all, who can win. Let us recognize that even an off-the-ranch Democrat is better than just about any Republican
And as Conor showed last night, even Lambs can at time have some mighty sharp teeth.