Thursday, October 2, 2008

State House Republican Candidates Need A Lifeline. They Phone a Friend: Tom Corbett

A Captain Renault post: No one in the Republican Party can say that Attorney General and Space Cadet Tom Corbett isn't doing his part to save the Republicans in this election year. Corbett is earning big points with the statewide Republican leaders for his all-but-announced race for Governor in 2010.

As this article by John Micek of the Allentown Morning call points out, the Republican party and it's candidates in PA are in a bad spot right now. Barack Obama is likely to win the state, Democrat registration is up everywhere, and there is a real enthusiasm gap between the parties.

From the Morning Call: John Micek: "Four weeks before Election Day, figuring out whether House Democrats or Republicans will emerge victorious in this year's state legislative races is harder than deciphering the ending of ''The Sopranos.''

At first blush, this is a political season that should be blowing the Democrats' way. Voters are sour on the economy, the party has registered hundreds of thousands of new voters, and in Barack Obama there's a candidate atop the ticket who has energized the party faithful.

But there's a major buzz-kill: the public-cash-for-political-gain scandal known as Bonusgate that so far has resulted in the arrests of a dozen current and former House Democrats on a litany of corruption and theft charges.

And that's where Republicans are hoping to score, particularly in conservative areas such as western Pennsylvania. The GOP hopes Bonusgate rekindles outrage over the short-lived 2005 legislative pay raise."

Captain Renault: So let's see if I have this right. The Republicans are in the minority by 1 seat in the State House. Things don't look so good. But then Republican candidates for the State House used a Lifeline. They phoned a friend. And Tom Corbett picked up the phone and gave them the answer. In fact he had the answer all year and it's called Bonusgate.

Tom Corbett Lifeline answer was to do the most important thing he could do to help Republicans win the State House this year: "investigate" House Democrats for 18 months and indict some before the election and then "run out of time" to investigate and charge any Republicans by election day. Throw in some vague statements about "investigating all 4 caucuses" and you have the answer for the politically vulnerable House Republicans in a year favoring Democrats: use Bonusgate as an example of the corrupt Democrats in Harrisburg as your best (and this year only) campaign attack.

It's a brilliant strategy in the short term. That is if you can include the term brilliant when you describe a strategy that undermines and politicizes the justice system. And it is brilliant in the short term if you can get most of the press corps that covers PA politics to go to sleep, ignore, or dismiss the obvious political motivations of the strategy. And it is brilliant in the short term if most of the Democrats are too scared, too wimpy, or too dumb to fight back and call Corbett the partisan political hack that he is.

In the long term? Maybe not so brilliant. Why not? Two words -- Alberto Gonzales.

It has now been proven that Gonzales and his allies in the Justice Department and the White House clearly made the US Justice Department their political playhouse. The result was ruined careers, subversion of justice, political US Attorneys with incredible corrupted power, political indictments, cases (good and bad) dismissed by Judges because of the unfair taint of politics, investigations and hearing in the US Congress.

Politics in the justice system? It does happen. It did happen. Someday the news media in PA may cover this part of the Bonusgate story. Someday Corbett -- and the people of PA -- may pay for his abuse of the justice system.

But for now, Tom Corbett has provided the State House Republicans with his Lifeline answer: Bonusgate Democrats.

Developing....more to come.

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