Sunday, May 9, 2010

Infindorsement: For Governor, Reload in 2014

The campaign for Pennsylvania's gubernatorial nominations has been a march of manacled midgets, destined to produce a pair of weak candidates for November's general election.

Republicans are to choose between a mediocre, grandstanding, politics-tainted prosecutor, Tom Corbett (right), and a God-guns-and-gays fringer from Bob Jones University, Sam Rohrer. Neither deserves an Infindorsement.

On the political divide's other side, "D" stands for disappointment.

Jack Wagner (left, seated) has decided not to run, or even to walk; instead, he appears to be attempting to vindicate a theory that a statewide primary can be won while seated in a South Side parking chair.

Anthony Williams embodies special-interest seed money (from the school voucher industry) and 'why is he running?' candidacy; his most prominent legislative achievement was being the subject of an ex-wife's letter to his colleagues that is the reason the legislative mailroom no longer delivers such en masse letters.

Joe Hoeffel is earnest and, unique among the candidates, a discernible Democrat. He has nevertheless failed to achieve traction, and his performance is destined to disappoint liberals, progressives and anyone who prefers any portion of the Democratic Party platform.

Dan Onorato has a lead built on cash from contributors eyeing government contracts and subsidies. Support from those who covet public accounts can not be an automatic disqualifier; every candidate seeks and most attract such support. Onorato, however, specializes in predators who suck the public teat dry, then chew and swallow the nipple. Onorato (left, with aide) also presents little or no offsetting reason for Democratic support. If he is a genuine friend to any of society's underdogs (gays, the underprivileged, minorities, the struggling, low-wage workers) he keeps those positions effectively closeted. He clings to cowardly ambiguity on many issues (abortion, gun control) while stridently promoting regressive fiscal policies (reassessments favoring affluent taxpayers, the drink tax). With respect to property taxes, in particular, Onorato has his head so far up his assessments policy that he apparently can no longer distinguish right from wrong.

Against a background of substandard candidates, the Infindorsement belongs not to anyone seeking to be elected governor in 2010 but instead to the proposition that Pennsylvania voters should concentrate on breaking the eight-year rule (two terms for one party, followed by two terms for the other) of Pennsylvania's governorship by choosing a better governor in 2014 than will be elected this year.


Gloria said...

"Onorato (left, with aide)"

That's a good one, thanks for injecting humor into this dour, bore of a gubenatorial race.

Bram Reichbaum said...

How can you not Infindorse Hoeffel, if your only constraint is that he has not achieved traction? Are you saying that Hoeffel would do worse against Corbett than Onorato or the others?

The media paid attention to Sestak vs. Specter because it was one-on-one, and a narrative easy to understand (Arlen switches sides! Arlen is swiftboating!). In the general election, that will be provided by DEMOCRAT VS. REPUBLICAN.

Unless you'd like to expand on your criticism of Hoeffel, which would be timely constructive. I'm a little stumped. I'd have spent less time SHOWING the flip-flop sandal into camera, and more time making a political attack on Onorato's huge warchest.

Bram Reichbaum said...

BTW, at least Jack can tweet from his parking chair.

Infinonymous said...

Joe Hoeffel is conducting an inexplicably ineffective campaign. He is magnifying his financial disadvantage by squandering opportunities on potent issues and wasting effort on unproductive, almost foolish, activities.

Today, instead of directing attention to Onorato's weaknesses and distortions, the Hoeffel campaign distributed a media advisory concerning tomorrow's huge announcement . . . concerning the unveiling of the Hoeffel arts agenda.

Why hasn't Hoeffel targeted Onorato's maniacal devotion to preserving unconstitutional, regressive, unfair assessments? Show a $3 million house (in an affluent neighborhood) assessed at less than $1 million, then a $40,000 house (in a struggling neighborhood) assessed at more than $60,000. Pinpoint the amounts of undercharge and overcharge -- each year -- and emphasize the unfairness.

Why doesn't he use media access to point to the dubiousness of "fiscal steward" claims from the man who shoved what was probably the largest tax increase in county history (a regressive, dumb tax, by the way) down the throats of county businesses and taxpayers? Contrast the huge tax breaks for Fox Chapel and Sewickley mansions against a tax on struggling waitresses and small-businses restaurant proprietors?

How about a spotlight on Onorato's obnoxious pay-to-play record, and the obvious expectations of repayment among his gubernatorial campaign's big-money contributors?

If none of those points excites Hoeffel, there are many similar lines of attack (leaving the county in shambles, voodoo accounting, shenanigans at the authorities, a cascade of one-time budget tricks, lack of consolidation, hiding employees off the books . . . ).

If Hoeffel's campaign against a relatively weak Democratic frontrunner reflects how Hoeffel would run against Corbett, or -- more important -- how a Hoeffel administration would operate, Joe Hoeffel might be no better than Onorato.

An Infindorsement must be earned. No gubernatorial candidate has earned one. Two Republicans with unacceptable flaws; four Democrats working overtime to squander a huge statewide registration advantage. March of the manacled midgets.

A reasonable argument can be made for another approach, but the Infindorsement goes to "reload in 2014."

Blue Number 2 said...

I have to agree whole-heartedly with this dissection of the governor's race. I haven't a clue who I'm voting for as no one on either side inspires me enough to want to cast a vote. Guess I better figure something out before next Tuesday.

Bram Reichbaum said...

I'm in general agreement with what you write above. Perhaps there exists a notion of not desiring to mortally wound a likely fellow Democrat and eventual nominee? Perhaps even Hoeffel *really is* running to pull the party as progressiveward as he can, rather than going for broke?