This Tuesday, the stakes are high for Pa., the Union at large

Editorials featured in the Forum section are solely the opinions of their individual authors.

You have seen the commercials, been deluged by radio ads, and been mailed all sorts of political advice concerning the 2006 midterm elections. Now, kindly allow time for some clarification on the stakes and potential consequences of the 2006 midterm elections. Pennsylvania is a liberal-leaning battleground state, is facing some interesting and important elections. Under examination, here are the Pennsylvania gubernatorial and U.S. Senate races.

First, in the race for governor, political newcomer Lynn Swann is hoping to unseat incumbent governor Ed Rendell. Rendell is a career politician to whom scandal just does not stick. Long accused of various misdeeds, personal and professional, Rendell has managed to brush them all off. Rendell remains popular all around Pennsylvania, especially in Philadelphia, where he was once mayor.

Rendell’s re-election would support a liberal Pennsylvania political establishment that holds a bleak outlook on America’s future. At a speech in Washington this year, Rendell painted a morbid picture of America’s prospects. Rendell spoke about America’s future fall and its failure to remain competitive worldwide. Rendell dogged on America’s hard-working students. He explained the superiority of other nations’ students while ignoring the differences between our full public schooling system and more exclusionary international systems.

Governor Rendell’s continued portrayal of doom and gloom extends to his outlook on the health of the world’s economic engine, the United States. Rendell completely ignores the expanding U.S. trade exports, which topped $1 trillion in value in 2004. Rendell ignores the fact that deficits do not always mean economic shrinkage, but rather — in the case of some trade deficits — show great American economic buying power co-existing with the rapid growth of U.S. exports.

On the state level Rendell often talks about, and delivers, tax increases to fix his expected budget deficits. But the numbers do not bear out his logic. State tax revenues have gone up by nearly 8 percent since the GOP tax cuts, which undercuts Rendell’s calls for higher taxes to fix his invented crisis.

Lynn Swann offers a hope for a return of conservative governance to the commonwealth. Running on a campaign of restricting and lowering property taxes, government reform through the shrinking of government, and economic expansion by support of industry, Swann serves as a welcome refresher to what government’s role should be. Even the New York Times calls Swann a “classic Reagan conservative.”

On a national level, many are watching the crucial Bob Casey versus Rick Santorum race for U.S. Senate. Senator Santorum has been dogged by ultra-leftist smear campaigns, which have been successfully overshadowing the many years of great work Santorum has put in on Capitol Hill. As we approach a true crossroads in American culture and civilization, losing Rick Santorum would weaken us nationally in two areas this nation can least afford it: security and foreign policy.

Santorum often gets criticized for his straight talk and strong ideological beliefs. Yet, it is exactly this type of talk that is needed in the white-wigged Senate. Santorum is strong on the current — and future — struggle between Western civilization and the incorrigible wing of radical Islam.

Santorum understands the Islamic caliphate that Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, insurgent leader Muqtada al-Sadr, and others wish to establish worldwide. In a recent speech, he explained a concept that many Americans are unwilling to believe, stating, “There is no escape because our enemies are fully committed to our destruction, and they will not stop until they have either destroyed us or have been destroyed.”

Many claim that these honest accounts are sensationalist. They are often regarded as fear-mongering, using the threat of an enemy to scare American voters. However, the role these speeches and reports serve is to spread the truth about a gathering worldwide storm.

Bob Casey Jr. is running on little more than his father’s popular name in Pennsylvania. His political experience is limited at best, and non-existent in the realm of foreign affairs and the global struggle against radical Islam. Concerning Casey, Santorum said, “From everything I can see, Mr. Casey is unready and unqualified for high office at a time when our survival as a free people is at stake.” I cannot help but agree.

The stakes are far too high to elect unprincipled fence-sitting politicos at a time when the United States needs strong leadership on the local, federal, and international levels.

Disagree with conservatives like Swann and Santorum on social issues if you must. However, remember that government, in its proper small form, should be primarily concerned with the security of its citizens and the preservation of this Union. Amnesty for illegal immigrants, the premature removal of forces from Iraq — which al-Qaeda now refers to as the largest front in the war on terror — higher taxes, and the continued destruction of American culture are exactly what you are voting for when you vote straight Democrat this November.

There are differences; there is a lot on the line.