Monday, May 10, 2010

The Race For Governor: An Autopsy

Pennsylvania's gubernatorial race is already over, at least for those who prefer a good governor. This autopsy is based largely on a comment associated with the Infindorsement message:

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

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

With a campaign like that, who needs opponents? And with opponents like Jack Wagner (whose comatose campaign makes sense only if he has inside information about a huge imposter turnout) and Anthony Williams (who is just building a foundation for a school voucher push, whether he understands it or not), Hoeffel's lackluster preformance is all the more baffling.

Why hasn't Hoeffel targeted Onorato's maniacal devotion to preserving unconstitutional, regressive, unfair property taxes based on inaccurate assessments? Show a $3 million house (in an affluent neighborhood, ideally inhabited by a big Onorato contributor) assessed at less than $1 million, then a $40,000 house (in a struggling neighborhood, ideally occupied by a Medal of Honor recipient) assessed at more than $60,000. Pinpoint the amounts of undercharge and overcharge -- each year -- and emphasize the unfairness.

Why doesn't Hoeffel highlight the hypocrisy of "fiscal stewardship" claims from the politician who shoved what was probably the largest tax increase in county history (a regressive, business-stifling tax) 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, cooks and small-business restaurateurs?

How about a spotlight on Onorato's obnoxious pay-to-play record -- naming the names -- and the obvious expectations of repayment among his current campaign's big-money contributors? Out-of-state energy interests, the List-Makers, bond lawyers, public-project unions, Rendell cronies . . . the stars of effective campaign messages.

Should none of those points excite Hoeffel, 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 . . . ) were available.

If Hoeffel's campaign against a relatively weak Democratic field reflects how Hoeffel would run against Tom Corbett, or -- more important -- indicates 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 could be made for another approach, but the Infindorsement goes to "reload in 2014." Pennsylvania's 2010 gubernatorial race is already bleeding out on Dr. Wecht's stainless steel table.

1 comment:

Jami said...

hmmm...i thought i had made up my mind to vote for Hoeffel; now I'm not so sure!

still, I better take the chance and vote for a candidate out of conscience and not whether I think they'll win against Corbett. Frankly, I might vote for Corbett over Onorato myself.