Sunday, May 23, 2010

PA Politics Makes Strange Bedfellows

When Tom Corbett made motion to challenge the Obamacare overhaul, he annoyed many Pennsylvania leftists.

As Tom Corbett dodged debate with Sam Rohrer, got the unfair endorsement before-the-primary, subpoenaed his Twitter critics, sent out disingenuous attack flyers about Sam, looked the other way regarding Reed Smith's potential involvement in Bonusgate, and said the Constitution was a 'living document', he made very many Pennsylvania Republicans angry. Most of those angry Republicans support Sam Rohrer.

So, strangely enough, Corbett has enemies on the Left and the Right. And some people of each persuasion--mostly Rohrer supporters and Obamacare supporters-- have joined a Facebook group "Tom Corbett Must Resign."

Indeed, in this group, people on the Left and Right in Pennsylvania who would normally be growling at each other are uniting, pointing to Corbett, and saying "Let's get him"--and for completely different reasons.

Corbett's Nemeses

The ACLU has come to the defense of Twitter users CasablancaPA and bfbarbie. It's understandable that Corbett would want to go after CasablancaPA: afterall, CasablancaPA has had the drop on Corbett's Bonusgate dealings since September of 2008--so Corbie may have gotten frustrated with the Casablanca blogger such that he rashly decided to go after him. But only preponderant ineptitude could have motivated Corbett to go after bfbarbie.

Imagine, the arch-enemy of Tom Corbett is bfbarbie...

Saturday, May 22, 2010

An End to Robo Calls in Sight?

Disclaimer: I had nothing to do with the crank robo calls; I merely find them amusing.

Everyone seems to think robo calls are annoying: you know, those recordings one hears on the eve of an election that tell one how to vote. One fellow I talked to said he received 6 in one day and so he gave up answering the phone.

Perhaps the recent news of individuals making prank robo calls may scare power hungry political wannabes away from robocalling.

From the Citizen's Voice
The calls apparently used a service or software that allows caller ID spoofing. The service or software allows phone calls to come up on a recipient's caller ID with any identity and number the buyer of the program chooses.
So, for example, some calls showed up on caller ID as Friends of Jim Wansacz and showed the phone number for Wansacz campaign headquarters. However, the recorded voice proceeded to trash Wansacz's candidacy.

If everyone's candidacy were subjected to prank calls, then no candidate would robo call anymore for fear of someone confusing a prank call for a real one. And, because in such a situation all the robo calls would be pranks, they'd likely be funnier and more entertaining than current robocalls put out by real candidates... and perhaps more truthful.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Commentary: The Day After

For election returns go to the PA state website here.

GOP Primary Results
Although Republican underdogs Sam Rohrer (for Governor) and Peg Luksik (for Senate) lost last night, they both got many votes. Peg, in particular, impressed as she got 151,734 votes (or 18.5% of the total). This is especially impressive because many of the people I spoke to at the Sweet Valley polling station hadn't even heard of her. Peg performed relatively well in Luzerne County, getting nearly 4 percentage points higher there--22.4%.

Rohrer did decent on the state-wide level, garnering 31.3% or 266,389 votes. Many thought that the miserable icy cold rain storm yesterday boded well for him because his supporters tend to be more die-hard and thus more willing to brave miserable elements. I had expected Rohrer to do better, considering the fact that he has 7,300 Facebook fans to Corbett's 5,700*.

However, F&M polls prior to the election revealed that Corbett had a heavy advantage. He also had all the money that he took from gambling interests, unions, etcetera, with which to propagate his misleading promises (scaling back 17,000 state vehicles) and and his mischaracterizations of Sam's salary. Furthermore, most Republican outfits like Luzerne GOP did all they could to promote the endorsed candidates while giving no publicity to either Peg or Sam. If Corbett hadn't received the state committee's endorsement, dodged debate with Rohrer, expressed all the right platitudes, and put out deceitful attack flyers (see below), then he may full well have lost. It is commonly known that Rohrer was much more popular with the tea party crowd--at least the one around me. But those with the money and power wanted Corbett, as did the GOP establishment and political pragmatists who thought Rorher was unable to win in the fall.

A disingenuous yet hilarious bit of GOPaganda

Sadly, former chiropractor David Madeira and Snyder county official Malcolm Derk lost to former DeNaples lawyer Tom Marino. 'Casino Marino' had the cash to send out campaign flyers. He also has a lot of contacts, having been a factory worker and a janitor before going to law school. Plus, he had notoriety from being a federal prosecutor. Doubtless, Marino's past association with DeNaples will be a burden on him in the fall. Madeira and Derk have endorsed Marino, so we'll see if their endorsements are enough to help Marino overcome the powerful Carney/DNC machine.

As expected, Jim Cawley won the Lieutenant Governor primary, but he received only 23% of the total vote. Naturally, all the Lt. Gov. candidates not endorsed by the PA GOP state committee (except Jean Pepper) were more conservative than Cawley. There should have been a mini-primary to get the best man (in this case) to oppose Mr. Cawley.

Also to be noted, "Butch" Moderno Rossi lost the Luzerne County state committee election despite the fact that he sent multiple people out in the elements to campaign for him at the polls. Linda Urban and Kathy Dobash were elected to the state committee. This is good for Rohrer supporters because Linda has vowed to oppose the premature endorsement and Kathy has attended events of Sam Rohrer. Comically, Stephen E. Urban may have been elected because many voters thought he was the popular Republican county commissioner Stephen A. Urban. This was just as well, though, since Stephen E. Urban was/is a decent candidate.


Despite Rohrer's loss, true economic and social conservatives need not give up hope yet. Rohrer may still be nominated if Corbett is revealed to be involved in a scandal or something--but then again, the state GOP may just roll out another human product to sell to the people, and the people may buy it again. Also, word around the campfire is that Rohrer may run as an independent conservative.**

But if Corbett sticks around and Rohrer drops out***, conservative voters disenfranchised with Corbett's weak stances and lack of substance can check out Robert Allen Mansfield--a principled conservative running on the Independent ticket. What Mansfield lacks in experience and knowledge he makes up in strong principles--qualities that Corbett could use.
*These were rounded numbers at the time this blog was written. Since then, Corbett's tightly controlled fan page has gone up to over 8,000 fans.
**Since the writing of this blog, many Rohrer supporters have vowed to write in his name in November.
*** Rohrer has since stated that he is no longer campaigning for governor but he never said he would mind if someone wants to write in his name in the 2010 general election.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Rohrer Explains Plan to Eliminate School Property Taxes

Graphic from the Pennsylvania Taxpayers Cyber Coalition

Sam Rohrer is famous for introducing Housebill 1275 in the PA House; the bill that would eliminate school property taxes. An end to school property taxes is a central issue for gubernatorial campaign. Critics of his bill say that it would direct control away from local school districts to the states (in this case, Pennsylvania state government). I asked Sam about this tonight at his townhall in Scranton, and he said that for all intents and purposes, the state already has so much control over school districts that the shift away from school property taxes to a state-run flat tax would be merely financial, not control-based.

For instance, he said that it's impossible for a school district to fire a crummy teacher or to approve a text book without approval from the state.

I think Mr. Rohrer may be slightly exaggerating, but I also believe that those who think eliminating school property taxes would be a huge power shift to the state-level government are exaggerating. Both arguments are tendentious.

However, I like Rohrer's overall plan for PA (at least he has an articulated one, unlike his opponent). Sam stressed the need to end scandalous PA state regulations which allow bureaucrats to give special deals to their friends and to give unconnected entrepreneurs a shake-down; indeed the need to end such practices is of extreme importance to PA's future.

Rohrer really seems like he'll be a good steward of his constituents' money. Sam's talk this night was really educational and enlightening. That's a good sign in a candidate; that he or she offer truth and light to the electorate rather than platitudinous speeches in which the only things said of real substance are attacks on opposing parties.

If Rendell's socialist utopia agenda (the harmful effects of which were shrouded by borrowing) had a chance, perhaps Sam's idea of school choice and elimination of property taxes ought to be given an equal chance. Regardless of how Rohrer's plans to cut back taxation pan out, in Rohrer, voters will have a candidate who is committed to individual liberty, family values, the integrity of the constitution (state and federal), and beholden to no interests other than preserving the individual's God-given rights.

Rendell: "I like Tom Corbett"

At 4:20 through the video, Ed Rendell says "I like Tom Corbett; we've had a pretty good working Relationship." He goes on to say that Corbett challenged the health care bill for political purposes and that Corbett has "always been a fairly moderate person in his approach to things."

Rendell does not necessarily mean that Corbett is politically "moderate." What he means is that Corbett is just plain wimpy and compliant with Democrats. In other words, Corbett may profess conservative principles, but when it comes to getting things done, he might as well be a moderate. Notice also in this video that Rendell reserves contempt for tea partiers, promotes big government, yet says he likes Tom Corbett...

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

PA Republican Royalty and Wind Chimes

In the days of yore, the King's word was not to be questioned. He didn't need to give reasons for his proclamations because he had absolute rule.

So also, the ruler of the Pennsylvania GOP, namely Rob Gleason, believes he needs no explanations for telling Republican voters by email to vote for Cawley and Corbett. Well, no explanation other than that he thinks they're the best candidates.

Lord Gleason, that is.

In other news, Corbett has a cockamamie radio ad running in which he says he'll save the state money by doing something with some cars or something. It's irrelevant. He is a fiscal moderate, and his site seems to indicate that he supports joint government-private ventures.

That aside, Corbett's campaign ad begins with the sound of wind chimes and a corny track plays throughout the ad. The music suggests the voter will reach a point of Nirvana if he votes for Corbett. But in reality, he'll just get an establishment moderate nominated. Governor Tom II. (An allusion to moderate Tom Ridge being succeded by Tom Corbett.)

A pictographic representation of Tom Corbett's campaign ad:

Joe Biden Lies in Campaign Radio Ad for Specter

Arlen Specter's desire to stay in office is so strong that if he could end world hunger by stepping down, he wouldn't.

And somehow Specter has marshaled the support of Joe Biden, and even Chairman Obambi.

Now, in a campaign ad I heard this morning on WILK, Biden says that Specter has been a fiscal conservative. But that statement must be a bold-faced lie. If one can support the draconian stimulus and TARP and still be fiscally conservative, WHAT does one have to do to be fiscally liberal???

Friday, May 7, 2010

The Cowardly Corbett

Cowardly Tom Corbett backs out of debate with Sam Rohrer. See link:

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Lawyers vs. Underdogs in PA Republican Primary

I just realized that for PA state Republican primaries, the conflict involves those with law degrees who are prematurely endorsed or monetarily advanced vs. those who have no law degrees.

Pat Toomey, Tom Corbett, and Jim Cawley have all been endorsed by the PA GOP state committee before the primary over non-lawyers Peg Luksik, Sam Rohrer, and Russ Diamond.

Also, PA 10th congressional district candidate Tom Marino, a former attorney for casino mogul Louis DeNaples, reported in April $110,000 in campaign funds, dwarfing the funds raised by his non-lawyer Republican competitors Malcolm Derk and David Madeira, who raised $18,216 and $17,681 respectively.

Some believe having only lawyers run for office is bad thing: an example of over representation of an occupation if there ever was one. Many suggest this as the reason why current US legal systems seem to be designed to extract as much money from clients as possible. Others posit this as the reason why tort reform was not seriously addressed during House and Senate healthcare debates.

Others would be quick to remind one that lawyers work very hard in law school. They may even go as far as to sate that lawyers have earned the right to a near political monopoly. More broadly, they would suggest that lawyers understand the law best, so they are best suited to be in legislative office.

But, history has shown that lawyers, unless they study economics independently, often have little to no understanding of it, but a great understanding of how to manipulate people and the law. This ignorance and cunning is not a good combination. Furthermore, their profession makes them susceptible to forming many suspect associations. Plus, those willing enough to engage in frivolous lawsuits (John Edwards) and to defend murderers and rapists cannot be said to be the most principled among us.

However, not all those having an Esq. after their names are bad. Many are good people. But the issue of lawyer over-representation in government should be publicized.