DEPARTMENT OF POTS AND KETTLES…. In a bit of surprise, Pennsylvania’s U.S. Senate race has quickly become one of the nation’s more competitive. Republican Pat Toomey, the former congressman turned Wall Street executive turned right-wing activist, enjoyed considerable leads for months, but as Election Day nears, the race has narrowed considerably. Rep. Joe Sestak (D), the decorated retired Navy admiral, has pulled even in some polls this week.

With that in mind, with time running out, voters are getting a much better sense of who Toomey is, and what he’s all about. One recent statistical analysis of Toomey’s voting record, for example, found that, if elected, he’d be much more conservative than Pennsylvanian Rick Santorum, and his votes make him “more conservative than 97.9% of all United States legislators since 1995.”

He’s talked about privatizing Social Security; he blames FDR for the Great Depression; and he believes laws that don’t exist are responsible for the Great Recession. And this doesn’t even get to Toomey’s controversial Wall Street past, or the fact that he compares moderate Republicans to communists.

So, when Toomey appeared on Fox News this morning to make his case, what was his message?

Toomey said Sestak is “extreme” and “outside the mainstream of Pennsylvania.”


For the record, according to VoteView scores, Sestak’s voting record puts him about in the middle of the House Democratic caucus. There’s a House Progressive Caucus for the chamber’s most liberal lawmakers, and Sestak isn’t a member. On the campaign trail this fall, Sestak has boasted of his endorsements, not from liberal Dems, but from NYC’s independent mayor, Michael Bloomberg, and former Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska.

Of all the talking points Toomey could push the week before the election, he wants to have an argument about “extremism”?

Our ideas can save democracy... But we need your help! Donate Now!

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.