What happened in Washington? Millions of jobs lost. The largest deficit ever. An arrogant government out of touch. "Pennsylvania deserves a senator in touch with Pennsylvania... we need someone fighting for fair-trade laws, that don't give away our jobs... someone who will stand up against the partisan politics in Washington... someone who's fiscally responsible... who balances a budget, just like you do, every day of your lives. We can do better in Washington, and we will. I'm Bob Casey, and I approve this message." --Transcript of Bob Casey, Democrat for Senate Ad, 2006
The midterm elections held on November 7, 2006 resulted in a massive victory for Democrats, allowing them to capture the House, the Senate, and a majority of state legislatures and governorships from the GOP.
Senator Rick Santorum was one of the victims of the sweeping Republican loss, falling to Bob Casey by a double-digit margin.
Wikipedia describes some of the major reasons for the national power shift, which included "the decline of the public image of George W. Bush, the dissatisfaction of the handling of both Hurricane Katrina and the War in Iraq, Bush's legislative defeat regarding Social Security Reform, and the culture of corruption, which were the series of scandals in 2006 involving Republican politicians."
As for Santorum himself, The Washington Examiner notes that:
The biggest policy reason for Santorum's loss was his outspoken support for the war in Iraq. By November 2006, the war was going badly and threatened to turn into a full-scale catastrophe. President Bush resisted calls to change course and had not yet settled on the troop surge that would ultimately rescue the situation from disaster. While Santorum's Democratic opponent, Bob Casey, called for a different course, Santorum stuck with the president, and with the war.
"As other Republicans attempt to steer away from Iraq and terrorism, Sen. Rick Santorum argued yesterday that America must stop 'sleepwalking' while 'evil enemies' plot the nation's destruction, making foreign policy a focal point in the final days of his campaign," the Philadelphia Inquirer reported on October 27, 2006. Santorum made the finale of his campaign into a so-called "Gathering Storm" tour, in which he mixed support of the war with calls for continuing vigilance in the war on terror. In making the war such a central part of his campaign, Santorum stubbornly kept the focus on the weakest part of his candidacy.
The voters clobbered him for it. In Pennsylvania exit polls, 61 percent of voters said they disapproved of the war. Santorum lost among them, 15 percent to Casey's 85 percent. Among the largest sub-group of war opponents, the 42 percent of voters who said they strongly disapproved of the war, Santorum lost seven percent to 93 percent. That by itself was enough to doom any hopes for a third term.
That Mitt Romney criticizes Santorum for losing an election -- primarily for his support of the Iraq 'Surge' that the Massachusetts Governor also backed -- is disingeuous at best. Romney didn't run for reelection in 2006.
In this morning’s debate on NBC, Rick Santorum questioned Mitt Romney’s decision not to run for reelection when he was governor of Massachusetts... “Well, if his record was so great as governor of Massachusetts why didn't he run for reelection?” Santorum asked. “I mean if you didn't want to even stand before the people of Massachusetts and run on your record--if it was that great, why did you bail out?”
...Had Romney accomplished the majority of the “100 things [he] wanted to do” in office, or enough of them to be satisfied? Had he decided, at that point, to run for president in 2008 and that the best way to do that would be outside the governor’s mansion in Boston? Or had Romney looked at the poll numbers, which were declining throughout the second half of his term (he was spending a lot of time in Iowa and New Hampshire around then), and concluded that he couldn’t win reelection against a popular Democrat?
A review of Bob Casey's television ads paint a clear picture of his approach to defeating Santorum. In short, he ran to the right of Rick Santorum, promising:
• Fiscal responsibility
• A balanced federal budget
• Stronger border security
• Less centralized government in Washington
Bob Casey beat Rick Santorum in 2006 the way all Democrats win in the rational 46 states (California, Hawaii, Illinois and New York not included): He lied. He lied early, often and about everyone and everything.
Fiscal responsibility? While endorsing Barack Obama, voting for out-of-control federal spending, Obamacare, and supporting amnesty for illegal immigration?
How's that working out for you, Pennsylvania?
The Casey game-plan for victory over Santorum has about as much relevance for the Obama campaign as salads have for Michael Moore. Which is to say: none at all.