In November, Pennsylvania will hold its Governor’s election along with the mid-term Congressional Representative’s race. Most of the attention, however, is focused upon the Governor’s job. Will incumbent Republican Tom Corbett retain his position or will Democrat challenger Tom Wolf prevail?
If polls are any indication, Corbett ought to be looking for his next job. I wonder why?
Try four simple positions.
- Education. In 2010, Pennsylvania was still in the throws of recession and tax revenues had fallen. On top of lower tax revenues, a one time “Federal stimulus” grant had not been replaced so balancing the Pennsylvania State budget would require new or increased taxes. Corbett’s campaign pledge of “no new taxes” (sound familiar) meant he would need to create a budget on less money than his predecessor. Hmmm. Result: cuts of over $1 billion in State aid to education.
- Voting Rights. Following a GOP nationwide script, with the Governor’s support, the Republican controlled legislature passed a “voter photo ID” law aimed at guarding against voter fraud. Despite the fact that there were no instances of voter fraud, the new law required Pennsylvanians to present an authorized photo ID in order to vote. The Governor maintained his support claiming the law was “constitutional” rather than necessary.
- Gay Rights. Again following a conservative national campaign, the Governor staked out his position in opposition to gay marriage. He supported the State’s ban on same sex marriage providing a familiar argument that same sex marriage was like the marriage of a brother and sister. Subsequently Courts struck down the Pennsylvania law.
- Healthcare. Oh, and yes once again like other GOP Governors, Corbett refused to expand Pennsylvania’s Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act. The usual reasons were provided (too costly, there was a better way). To date, Pennsylvania’s Medicaid roles have not been expanded despite the demographic need.
With the election a little over a month away, Governor Corbett is grasping at campaign positions that might revive his chances. His opponent is a little known business executive who has simply promised to do better. Corbett’s ploy is “tell us how”.
The truth of the matter is there is no evidence that Wolf could or would be a better Governor. Corbett, however, chose some very short sighted goals and voters have concluded he is a mean spirited person.
For sure Healthcare and Education are complicated issues. Opening the checkbook and simply doling out money may not be the right answer. Turning ones back and not sincerely trying to find genuine compromise makes for an uncomfortable bed to sleep in.
Voter Photo ID and opposition to gay marriage are, on the other hand, straight forward unkind and discriminatory positions. In a closely divided red-blue State, it should be no surprise that swing voters will pile on the Wolf bandwagon.