Free Speech

Pennsylvania residents are getting a media preview of this fall’s election season and most likely the upcoming 2016 Presidential election. Incumbent candidates will have to run on their record and political advertisement distortions will go down as free speech.

Case in point, the race between Republican Governor Tom Corbett and challenger Tom Wolf. Remember 2010? A nation wide sweep of GOP gubernatorial victories herald in a new age of fiscal responsibility.

In Pennsylvania, Corbett’s first budget reduced funding to Philadelphia schools and triggered a series of school district staff and funding cuts. While the Philadelphia school funding crisis is more than just Governor Corbett, his Harrisburg swagger left a poor taste in many peoples’ mouth.

Adding to this Corbett’s anti-gay stances and his photo ID law aimed at eliminating a problem that did not exist (but would discriminate against some voters), Corbett has built a negative image in a State which is evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans.

So what does a candidate, with this type of public approval numbers, do against his opponent?

Amazingly, the Corbett camp has been running ads which recall Wolf’s recommendation for certain tax increases which Wolf made over six years ago.  The recommendations were made as an aid to former Governor Rendell.   This is old news.  Even more to the point, a Governor cannot impose taxes in the first place. Taxes must be passed by the legislature. Innuendo seems ok.

A more recent negative toned Corbett ad claims Tom Wolf moved his company headquarters to Delaware in order to avoid Pennsylvania taxes. Many corporations across the country are incorporated in Delaware for a variety of reasons, but these corporations must still pay taxes where they operate.

The Wolf campaign is fighting back with slick ads which call Governor Corbett on this point. The Wolf ads go on, however, to say that “if elected”, a Governor Wolf would tax the shale oil/gas producers in order to fund education. Again this is something a governor can recommend but cannot implement on his own.

Both campaigns are engaging in misleading (at best) and possibly dishonest (at worst) advertising. Corbett has four years in the books so despite what he says, voters have already an opinion. Wolf, on the other hand, can promise the moon.

The Supreme Court has reminded us that campaign spending is free speech. Hmmm.

“Free speech” appears to be more like a “free lunch”. It sounds great and is very inviting. A wise voter, however, will pause to think about what each party is promising before deciding for whom to vote.

Looking at the incumbent’s record is a must and should not be overlooked… unless the incumbent is a better promiser.

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Explore posts in the same categories: Conservatives, Democratic Party, Politics, Republican Party

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