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  Pat Toomey Is Surprisingly Moderate
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ContributorScott³ 
Last EditedScott³  Feb 16, 2013 08:31pm
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CategoryNews
AuthorPatrick Kerkstra
MediaMagazine - Philadelphia Magazine
News DateThursday, August 16, 2012 02:00:00 AM UTC0:0
Description"Ten minutes into my first interview with Pat Toomey, the terrifying reality sinks in: I am in no way prepared to tangle with this guy. He’s perfectly pleasant and courteous. But that doesn’t change the fact that in his somewhat grating, nasally monotone, Toomey is taking a hatchet to my questions as well as my assumptions about him. I’d been expecting a radical. What I didn’t expect was that the radical would be so damned convincing. Yet here I am, a Philadelphia journalist raised in the liberal bubble of San Francisco, and already Pat Toomey has me grudgingly nodding in agreement. Afterward, I actually pick up a copy of F.A. Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom—which he’d mentioned in an offhand kind of way, as though of course I’d read it—the better to arm myself for future conversations with the man.

That was in March 2004, long before Hayek’s free-markets-forever ideology had been popularized in viral rap videos. Back then, the prevailing Republican view on domestic policy was still the quasi-compassionate conservatism of George W. Bush, and according to the leading GOP figures of the day, “Deficits don’t matter.”

Toomey was an obscure congressman from Allentown, in the middle of what was supposed to be a hopeless primary campaign against Senator Arlen Specter, the moderate Republican whose politics had long been a perfect fit for purple Pennsylvania. The analysts agreed: Toomey was smart and disciplined (if a bit stilted on the stump), but he was just too fringe to be a threat to a super-incumbent like Specter. On election night, though, Toomey didn’t make his concession speech until 12:45 a.m. His conservative insurrection had been just over 17,000 votes short of knocking out a four-term legend."
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