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.