It can be difficult to get a word out edgewise while gang-shoveling free, fist-sized shrimp in, but Pennsylvania Societeers are an elite corps up to the task, especially when politico porn -- this list of "most influential" political Pennsylvanians -- circulates on Society weekend in New York.
The lists (50 Republicans, 50 Democrats) feature the same level of attention to non-photographic editorial content one encounters in Hustler -- other than the obvious picks, the lists appear to have been authored by a random-name generator. But several inclusions and omissions stimulated interesting conversation.
On the Republican side, Christine Toretti's listing seems stale; a salute to whomever misspelled Glen Meakem's name; and it is always nice to see InsolvenCity Mayor Emeritus Tom Murphy's former fundraiser, Leslie Gromis Baker, mentioned.
On the Democratic side, Ravenstahl/Onorato handler John Verbanac -- a Republican -- made the cut. This seems attributable more to the lack of insight that left Dave Matter, Dave Malone, the Goodrich boys and the Zappala empire off the list than to any legitimate conclusion that Verbanac belongs on a list of influential Democrats.
Listing Kevin Kinross -- a one-trick pony whose horse has not yet proven ready for the top tracks -- while omitting Lazar Palnick (center of photograph, at the right hand of Cliff Levine) is flat-out silly.
Most insiders seemed unimpressed, but nonetheless fascinated, by the lists. If nothing else, the lists spawned some great jokes, none of which will be repeated here.
UPDATE: No jokes, or off-the-record revelations, but a few observations:
Chris Doherty's campaign for lieutenant governor appears strong. People seem interested, and he delivers on substantive policy.
Tom Corbett excites no one, but no one is prepared to cross him publicly (or discuss the Ramaley verdict) in a party that defers to authority and money. Reminiscent of the greased-rail locomotive that brought George Bush Jr. out of Texas. Let's hope this version doesn't include an invasion and botched occupation of West Virginia.
Mary Beth Buchanan's political future does not appear to exist.
Democratic gubernatorial discussions consist mainly of hollow expressions of confidence in public, nervous (almost neurotic) handicapping in more private settings.
Can anyone explain why Democrats attend the Pennsylvania Society weekend? The Society tolerates Democrats solely when it is time to meet hotel room and catering guarantees. And even if Democrats break the Republican grip on the Society's neck, why not insist that the annual event become a Pittsburgh-Philadelphia-Hershey rotation? A 'buy Pennsylvania' campaign sounds bulletproof.
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