For months, Sestak has been trying to play the role of the outsider, claiming independence from the Washington Democratic establishment, but when pressed by Gregory to name examples of his independence, Sestak offered nothing but his standard talking points.
Gregory: Congressman, you sound like the ultimate outsider. The only problem is, you are a congressman . . . you voted for TARP, for the bailout, you voted for the President’s stimulus plan, you voted for the President’s health care plan, exactly which establishment are you not part of that you’re running against?
Sestak: You know, I have 31 years in the navy; when I came to Washington, I was kind of taken aback. That kind of accountability that I learned from my actions in the U.S. Navy, seemed to be absent down here in Washington D.C. . . .Gregory: But Congressman, the question I asked you, you have supported all the major elements of the Obama agenda, and yet, in that sound bite, you were running as an outsider. Are you not part of the establishment that you are railing against?Sestak: Oh, I did vote for those because they were needed. But as John F. Kennedy once said: “Sometimes the Party asks too much . . .”Gregory: Which element of the Obama agenda that was his priority did you stand up to?Sestak: Oh, I honestly think that this President has done great, good things, but I don’t think we’ve gone far enough in terms of helping small business.
“It is clear that Joe Sestak is not an independent voice for Pennsylvania, but an echo of Nancy Pelosi’s far-left agenda,” said Toomey Communications Director Nachama Soloveichik. “That’s why Sestak has voted with Speaker Pelosi 100% of the time this year. The only time Sestak has disagreed with the Democratic establishment is when he argued that Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid did not go far enough in their liberal agenda.”
Over the past year and a half, Sestak has:
- Voted for the $787 billion stimulus (RC #70, 02/13/09) and argued that it should have been $1 trillion. (NBC WCAU, 02/27/09)
- Voted for Speaker Pelosi’s job-killing cap-and-trade bill (RC #477, 06/26/09) and even said: “I was disappointed in this bill because I thought it was eviscerated during the process too much.” (Netroots, 08/14/09)
- Voted for the $2.3 trillion health care bill (RC #887, 11/07/09), and even said he was disappointed in the bill because it didn’t go far enough. (MSNBC, Andrea Mitchell Reports, 12/17/09) Maybe that’s why he voted for a version of the legislation in committee that would have allowed states to outlaw private health insurance altogether! (Education & Labor Committee, 07/17/09)
- Voted for the Wall Street bailout (Roll Call #681, 10/03/08) (RC #27, 01/22/09), and even opposed a bipartisan effort to end the bailout after one year. (Press release, 09/26/09)
“In contrast, Pat Toomey has a record of standing up to Republican leaders and President Bush when he was in Congress, especially when he thought they were spending too much money,” Soloveichik continued. “Time and again, Pat opposed his own party leaders when they wanted to eliminate spending caps and pass bloated spending bills filled with wasteful earmarks, and even led an unheard of ‘filibuster’ in the House in order to force Republicans to cut government spending. For his independence and fiscal discipline, Pat earned high marks and high praise from editorial boards and nonpartisan watchdog groups like Citizens Against Government Waste and National Taxpayers Union.”