A counter-punch from the Right

Posted by By at 19 January, at 17 : 18 PM Print

I guess by now I should stop being surprised by the repetition of nonsensical attacks by those with a near, visible, ax to grind, but like the closet optimist that I am I repeatedly expect members of the media to be fair and candid.

Instead, what do I get? The disingenuous sudden onsets of morality and self-righteousness. Today’s example comes courtesy of Central Pa’s premier fish wrapper, the Patriot News, and columnist Laura Vecsey.

Laura is upset this morning because yesterday, at an event that is little more than the last stop on the campaign trail (or the first stop on the re-elect trail, take your pick), Gov. Corbett did not address the anti-drilling protestors across the way. You know, like Obama addressed the legitimate concerns of the Tea Party during his “listening tour” stops over Obamacare…oh wait, he didn’t?

The point is, Laura wants to smack Tom for not agreeing with her on the shale issue and thinks that the mere presence of protestors made it imperative that he explain his failure to do so – at his swearing in, naturally. The attack is so disingenuous because she knows as the protestors knew, where Tom stands, and that he was hardly going to debate himself in his inaugural address. That is why they were there.

What Laura also wanted to do was raise the specter of campaign cash – calling the crowd “well heeled” (for the record, the tickets for the Inaugural were free and available online weeks ago; I know because I signed up for them) and alluding to sinister interests cutting $10,000 checks to gain access.

This sudden campaign cash outrage is laughable. Tom raised around half of what Ed did each cycle, and the “drillers” accounted for far less for Tom than the lawyer lobby did for Ed. Now, did people in the gas industry want a Governor elected who would allow for the development of the resources they paid to acquire? Yup – just like the trial lawyers wanted a Governor and legislature opposed to tort reform and spent millions trying to get the same.

These interests – in fact, damn near ALL Interests – spend money to gain influence and elect people who reflect their views. I cast my vote in much the same manner – making me as “corrupt” as Ms. Vecsey is implying the “billion-dollar” gas interests must be.

I wonder if Ms. Vecsey sees the teacher’s unions as corrupt? Or AARP? Or AFSCME? They spent millions to get Obama elected and as a result, have visible – and effective, by all measures – access. And Obama, elected with those tens of millions, still failed to address his opposition to school choice in his Inaugural. I bet someone along the parade route wanted to know why, so shouldn’t he have done so.

My point is this: “pundits” like Ms. Vecsey would be better served by stating “I disagree with Gov. Corbett’s stance on Marcellus drilling and here is why,” rather than trying to couch herself as some disinterested third party observer. She has an agenda, and it is obvious. She makes veiled accusations of undue influence without EVER addressing the substance of Tom’s KNOWN position – at least, assuming Ms. Vecsey read her own paper it would be a known position. Ms. Vecsey essentially uses a lazy construct to try to taint Gov. Corbett without ever engaging the why.

Several months ago I wrote a pair of columns on where I stand with the Marcellus and ways that we can move forward. I have, repeatedly, disagreed with Gov. Corbett’s position on taxing and managing the shale resource. I did so logically, straightforwardly, and without trying to score cheap political points.

I only wish the Laura Vecseys of the world would do the same and save the blogger-style hit pieces for DailyKOS. Her presumed underlying point – that we should carefully manage the shale and how its extracted – might have been effective if not buried in personal distaste.

(To read Laura Vecsey’s commentary just click on Rock The Capital.)


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Scott Paterno is an accomplished policy analyst and political consultant based in Hershey, PA. Mr. Paterno, never one to sit still, has practiced law, run for a house seat, and worked as lobbyist in Harrisburg and Washington. Paterno is Vice Chairman of the Sustainable Energy Fund and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Political Science. He is happily married with three children. - Email scottp

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