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PENNSYLVANIA: IN PITTSBURGH [Chris Lilik 10/23 07:04 PM]
Pittsburgh battleground update from Mark Iskovitz, lifelong Pittsburgh resident, former Democrat and current GOP activist.
Pittsburgh's working class is conservative. To a large extent they are gun owners, veterans, and Catholics. But beyond all these things, they are Union people (hence, they are Democrats. Registered Democrats outnumber Republicans 5.1-to-1 in the city.
Many veterans (including a large number of Vietnam vets) resent Kerry's dithering on Iraq. Gun owners distrust his gun control record. And Catholics resent his vote for partial birth abortion. (Catholics make up 30 percent of Pittsburgh's population.
But for the working class of Pittsburgh, Unionism is the political third rail (lethal to the touch). There are still some steel mills in the region (though not the city), and Bush did give the steel industry a few years or so of protectionism which allowed the industry to consolidate. Bush deserves some credit for this in the Pittsburgh area and we need to tell Pittsburghers about it.
Pittsburgh has an elderly demographic and the Democrats are making some headway here with the Social Security Scare. Realistically, Bush's attempt to sell his idea for personalized Social Security accounts in the third debate has probably backfired here. Logic and facts can't fix this one. Bush has integrity and people believe him. Perhaps now is time for Bush to come to Pittsburgh for a heartfelt and honest attempt to make a very specific pledge not to cut social security benefits in any way throughout the full term of his presidency, backed on the podium by the PA Republican Senators.