Notes & Asides

Posted by By at 25 April, at 13 : 16 PM Print

Notes and asides for April 25.

Don’t rely on trends. There are some near-bible truths in Pennsylvania politics: we never vote out a sitting governor, we switch party ownership of the mansion every 8 years, and we never elect a Democrat Attorney General. The last one may be joining other now defunct “truths” such as “no one loses an election over a pay raise” and “we never elect an Attorney General governor.”

In case you missed it in the middle of all the clutter out there, one announcement for 2012 caught my attention: former Congressman Patrick Murphy is running for Attorney General. In a “stand alone” fight against any of several capable candidates – I am personally a fan of a couple central Pa guys, only one of which appears to be running – Murphy would be at a disadvantage.

But politics are not about merit anymore nor are they often about one candidate against another. In all but the actual top ticket race, the fortunes of many candidates are in the hands of that same top ticket race. There are exceptions – Tim Holden throttling me in 2004 was contra to the district vote for President, for example, but in the main so called “down ticket” races are won and lost in large measure by the standard bearer at the top.

Which makes this an exceptional year to be running as a credible Democrat in just about any statewide race. Consider all the wind at their back and you can see what I mean.

Most importantly, the President is seeking re-election. Right out of the gate the democrat “GOTV” efforts will be taken care of for you without raising a finger. This will drive up youth and urban voter turnout – two pools that are likely to stay with all the Democrats on the ticket. Philadelphia alone could yield an insurmountable lead. Added bonus: the GOP has yet to field a serious contender, making it all the more likely that BHO will overcome soft PA re-elect numbers.

And as if this wasn’t enough, you have the state’s all-time champ in votes running for re-election to the US Senate. Where Chicago Barry is weak, Bobby is strong, making even disaffected Democrats likely to still get out to vote for Bobby (and the other Dems not named Obama). Between the two top ticket races – and don’t forget Scranton native Biden lurking out there although that may be the GOP’s only saving grace – the table will never be better set for a Democrat seeking the Attorney General’s office.

Which, I suspect, is why former Congressman Murphy is taking the shot. Its also why the GOP wasted no time attacking Murphy – because he is and will be formidable. If the GOP wants to hold the AG’s office, it just got a whole lot more expensive.

In an allegedly unrelated story, Congressman Fitzpatrick seen jumping for joy…

Some disturbing news…I was and am in favor of a people’s self determination, which I why I was willing to accept the instability that accompanied Mubarak’s fall in Egypt. The Israeli government was not so inclined, with good reason. Those reasons deepened this past week.

One of the leading candidates for the Egyptian Presidency, and Arab League Secretary General, Amr Moussa stated that the Camp David Accords have expired. The significance of such a statement – Moussa was part of the team that negotiated the Accords in 1978 – should not be understated. Mubarak abided by the accords during his reign and Israeli-Egyptian stability during that time was largely due to that fact.

Moussa is staking out new ground, and has stated “what governs the relationship between the two countries is the Arab Peace Initiative of 2002 and the Egyptian-Israeli treaty.” In effect, Moussa is saying that there should be a Palestinian state with a right of return for refugees and that Israel should surrender the Golan Heights.

Moussa is no fool; these statements were made to young people and they are popular views within Egypt. He also knows that these demands – unpopular in 2002 – are completely untenable in 2011 Israel.  They are not idle political banter, however, Moussa is likely to be the next Egyptian President, making his views likely to become state policy.

Regardless of other benefits, the fact is the Israeli-Palestinian situation likely just got more complicated as a result of Mubarak’s demise.

And now for something completely different. Is it just me or has the whole flipping country forgot that we won the Revolutionary war and negotiated an honorable peace in the War of 1812? Why on God’s green Earth do I care whom George the Third’s progeny is marrying – and why is ANYTHING about it on ESPN? Does anyone really think that there will be a choice between Draft coverage and what color draft horses pull the carriage for the red blooded males who comprise 98% of ESPN’s viewership?

The invasion of Royal Wedding coverage makes me thankful Washington turned down a crown. Could you imagine this country with a crown prince to marry off? We’d end up making it a reality TV show called the Royal Bachelor, and we would decapitate the losers…wait – now THAT you could put on ESPN. But I digress.

Thank goodness this is almost over. That said, if I were PM Cameron, I would push a major initiative that will drive the liberals nuts out on Wednesday – no one will see it for a week. Sadly, the same could be true here.

Keep an eye out for this story…With the primary legally within sight – legally in a sign posting sense – its time to watch for the “sign stealing” story. Trust me – there will be one. Every contested race gets one, and the side that complains about the lost signs first always loses.

All kidding aside, take some time this month to actually read something about the candidates in your local elections. I am embarrassed to admit that I need to do the same – school board used to literally put me to sleep until I started paying property taxes, for example, and I still have to remind myself that the people in these elections define how I live on my own land a lot more than almost any other level of government. So check out some of the many places you can now actually find information on these candidates.

It could be fun. A number of years ago the school board director was ousted for posting some colorful things on Facebook about himself – and then complained that people invaded his personal life. Finding out who is determining what your kids learn is a good thing, especially when they appear to be that dumb.

Quick hits…You have to wonder on exactly which economic policy GE’s honcho advised the President – how to avoid paying any taxes? Not blaming GE for maximizing its advantage, but it seems odd that this is the guy advising an administration seeking fat cats to pay their fair share…BTW, when you hear the “pay their fair share,” remember that the top 10% of wage earners already pay more than 65% of the taxes in this country; 47% pay no taxes at all. Who exactly is being treated unfairly? Thought so…Add Haley Barbour to the growing list of GOP Presidential candidates in the race with no hope of winning in November 2012. Barbour will not be able to pull key states in the Midwest like Ohio back from BHO – states that someone like Paul Ryan could win…Not downplaying the damage done by the BP oil spill last spring and summer, but does anyone think the Japanese fishing industry recovers anywhere near as quickly from the impacts of the nuclear disaster? Didn’t think so – and pass me some gulf shrimp – its fine to eat already…and finally, thank goodness the White House is focused on the really big issues of the day: “made from FSC-certified, U.S. hardwood and packaged in SFI-certified paperboard…” Yup – that is the description of 2011 White House Easter Egg.

This post was written by:
- who has written 77 posts for Rock The Capital
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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