Our Craven Governor

Pennsylvanians will elect a governor in November. If history is any indication, the voters will give the incumbent, Tom Corbett, a second term.

But Corbett’s not doing well in the polls, and in the primary the other day, his lieutenant governor got 26,000 more votes than he did—and both were unopposed. In my county alone, more than a thousand Republican voters (1 in 7) wrote in someone else’s name.

Corbett has a lot of baggage going back to his time as the attorney general pursuing pedophile Jerry Sandusky. People feel he mishandled that investigation or prolonged it for his own political advantage as he ran for governor.

But Corbett’s problems are much deeper than that. He doesn’t know how to lead.

He ran on the Koch brothers’ platform of not raising taxes, but near the end of his first term, he raised the tax on gasoline for all the right reasons—to fix roads. However, people saw that as breaking his pledge not to raise taxes. Corbett’s real mistake was making the pledge in the first place.

He was for voter i.d. and against same sex marriage. But when the courts struck down both, he chose not to pursue appeals. Either he’s a man of his convictions or he governs by sticking his wet finger into the air to see which way the wind is blowing.

But even before he lost in court, the wind was blowing against him; he just wasn’t smart enough to figure that out. And when he lost in court, he caved. His principles went out the window.

I’m personally glad he didn’t waste money appealing. He was sure to lose. But if he had been a real leader, he wouldn’t have found himself in the conundrum of turning on his principles in the face of adversity.

It’s an election year and I’m betting Tom Corbett will be redefining himself for the next few months. But one definition we won’t get is the one on leadership. He doesn’t know what it means.


Another GOP Failure

Once again the New York Times Wine Club has made me an offer I can’t refuse—and once again I must refuse. That’s because Pennsylvania is one of the 21 states that wine clubs are not allowed to ship to.

I’m a 9th-generation Pennsylvanian who except for four years of service in the Navy and 10 years in New Mexico have lived in Pennsylvania most of my 70 years. And I’ve been hearing for decades how the Republicans want the state to get out of the liquor business.

So I figured that with a Republican governor and a Republican legislature it was finally going to happen.


When my wife and I returned from New Mexico to Pennsylvania in 2011 and registered to vote, we decided not to register Republican, which had been our lifelong registration. Instead, we went with no affiliation.

After the George Bush years in Washington, we considered the Republicans a lost cause. They say they’ll reduce the size of government, but when they have the chance, they don’t. Washington. Harrisburg. Doesn’t matter. Promises made, promises not kept.

At least the Democrats usually carry out their promises—even when it’s things I don’t want.

I want to be able to order wine from clubs. The Democrats won’t give up their grip on the state store system and the Republicans will never deliver.

In vino veritas means nothing in Pennsylvania.