- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The one thing Sen. Rick Santorum’s backers and critics agree upon: Everyone knows where he stands on the issues. Then there’s Democratic challenger Bob Casey Jr., who was for warrantless surveillance of terrorists before he was against it. Or something like that.

In an editorial board meeting with the Philadelphia Inquirer last week, an evasive and Kerryesque Mr. Casey wouldn’t take a firm position, choosing to hide behind names like McCain and Specter to avoid direct questions about his stance.

“Bob, it’s real simple,” asked his exasperated Inquirer editorial-board interlocutor after a few tries. “[I]t seems to me you are dancing around it. Either you believe that the president or his designees need to go to the FISA court and provide some probable cause for the wiretapping, or you don’t. Do they have to go through the FISA court or not?”

Mr. Casey: “You know very well that Sen. Specter has worked very hard on this to try to get this right and I think with bipartisan cooperation, working with people like Sen. Specter, as I know I can, that we can get this right. I don’t, I don’t, I don’t see what the —”

“It’s a real simple question. Do they need to go through the FISA court as the FISA law has said since [the 1970s] or don’t they? They say they don’t. We say they do. What do you say?” Some more hemming and hawwing, followed by another question.

Then finally: “I’m saying that people like Sen. Specter have a lot of questions about whether or not the law was broken. I don’t think anyone has made a determination about that. I think that’s pretty clear.”

Mr. Casey’s position is not clear — not at all.

We call on Mr. Casey to tell voters what he really thinks about surveillance. At present he is tiptoeing around the subject because commonsensical Pennsylvania voters want one answer while his liberal campaign funders at Moveon.org insist upon another. Whatever Mr. Casey says is bound to antagonize somebody. The fact that he can’t answer at all should give everybody pause. If he can’t make a hard decision like that now, imagine what kind of senator he would make.

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