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Gov.Corbett Could Have Stopped Sandusky — But Didn’t

An open letter to Pennsylvania’s governor, who refuses to answer disturbing questions about his role investigating the Penn State sex scandal

 

Bursting with righteous indignation, his cheeks flushed with rage, the Governor banged the podium in disgust while berating a journalist — in fact, chastising the entire media — for the audacity to ask questions on the issue.

We’re not talking about New Jersey’s Chris Christie, who gets away with such outbursts because of his stellar track record and pure gravitas.

No, this tantrum came from Pennsylvania’s Tom Corbett after being queried about his incredibly long investigation of child predator Jerry Sandusky.

And it backfired in spectacular fashion. Why?

Because Tom Corbett is no Chris Christie.                      

*****

Since questions on this matter remain unanswered, it seems only fitting, on behalf of the media and public, to pen an Open Letter to Mr. Corbett.

For the record, no media commentator in Pennsylvania supported Corbett’s ideas more than Freindly Fire during the 2010 campaign, from increased Marcellus Shale drilling to school choice to liquor privatization. In fact, FF even backed Corbett’s decision to subpoena Twitter during the Bonusgate corruption probe — a highly unpopular position. Bottom line: this isn’t personal, and it’s not partisan.  It’s only about one thing: the truth.

*****

Dear Governor Corbett:

Since there are a number of questions which you have failed to answer concerning your investigation of Jerry Sandusky, on behalf of the media and the public, I respectfully ask for clarification in the following areas:

1) Based on a decade’s worth of evidence of Sandusky’s predatory activities, why did it take the Attorney General’s office three years to arrest him? I fully understand that it takes time to conduct an investigation, but as numerous prosecutors have stated, you could have arrested him quickly and continued building the case.

Tragically, it is probable that Sandusky continued to molest victims during your epic investigation, as predators do not stop preying unless forced to do so.  Had he been arrested early, (standard procedure in many cases with a lot less evidence), Sandusky would have had to post bail, had restrictions placed upon him, and, most important, been under an ultra-intense media and community spotlight — every minute of every day until his trial.

In short, children would finally have been safe. And contrary to your assessment, this would have created a much more favorable environment for additional witnesses to come forward, knowing their bigger-than-life demon could hurt them no more. Arresting Sandusky quickly would have in no way jeopardized the strength of the case.

One of two things seems to be true, as there is no third option. Either A) you were an incompetent attorney general, which virtually no one believes, or B) the investigation was deliberately understaffed and drawn out  because you did not wish to be the gubernatorial candidate who took down fabled Penn State — with its massive and intensely loyal alumni network — and the beloved Joe Paterno. Since doing so would have presented difficult campaign challenges, many are asking if politics was placed above children’s safety.  Which leads to the next question.

2) Why was the investigation so understaffed? Yes, you just now claimed — after eight months — that media reports are wrong that only one investigator was assigned the case for the first 15 months. The real number, as you now state, was a whopping two.  We know you were busy with Bonusgate, but political corruption never threatens anyone’s physical well-being, particularly defenseless children.

And the two investigators assigned were narcotics agents. While Sandusky’s heinous crimes were many, drug offenses were not among them.

Yes, they were former police officers. But wouldn’t the reasonable course have been to assign agents with experience in child molestation cases? Did their inexperience lengthen the investigation more than normal…say, past your election in November, 2010?

Additional resources were available. Upon becoming governor, you placed state police on the case. You could have made that same request to Governor Rendell, and, given the stakes, there is virtually no possibility he would have refused. And since you are a former United States Attorney, you undoubtedly realized that federal assistance was also available.

3) Do you believe ethical and moral lines were crossed when, after investigating Penn State as Attorney General, you then participated as a member of the Board of Trustees upon becoming Governor?  

In other words, knowing full well that the investigation was still in full swing, conducted by your handpicked Attorney General successor, you nonetheless chose to sit on the very Board you had been — and still were — investigating!

Did you ever consider recusing yourself from Board activities until the investigation was concluded? Since governors rarely attend Board meetings, this would have in no way raised suspicions.


4) As governor, why did you personally approve a $3 million taxpayer-funded grant to Sandusky’s Second Mile charity, given your knowledge that Sandusky was under investigation for multiple child rapes?

Your statement that blocking the grant would have tipped people off to the investigation is utterly disingenuous, particularly since the media reported on the investigation in March, and you did not approve the funds until July, 2011.  

Vetoing the charitable grant would have simply been viewed as another financial cutback in a budget full of slashed programs.

So one has to ask if the $640,000 in campaign donations from board members of the Second Mile, along with their businesses and families, had anything to do with your actions?

If not, fine.  But how did such a massively significant point slip your mind — until the media brought it up? And was that question also out of line?

Since these are matters of grave concern, I and many others look forward to your immediate response.

 

*****

 

The media talks about Penn State’s Big Four casualties: Joe Paterno, former President Graham Spanier, Senior Vice President Gary Schultz, and Athletic Director Timothy M. Curley. But perhaps they are missing the biggest: Tom Corbett.

He has always claimed to hold himself to a higher standard, and has roundly criticized Paterno and others for not doing more to stop Sandusky. But when it came down to it, when Corbett had the power to put a speedy end to Sandusky, he didn’t.  

If mistakes were made, fine. People can accept that.  But to stonewall reasonable questions on such an important matter, and then stalk off , is something that should not, and will not, be tolerated.

Tom Corbett has a choice, perhaps the biggest of his career.  He can either answer now — or in 2014.

 Link to column in Delaware County Daily Times:

http://www.delcotimes.com/articles/2012/07/17/opinion/doc500484c4eef82305964009.txt

An accredited member of the medi\a, Chris Freind is an independent columnist, television/radio commentator, and investigative reporter who operates his own news bureau, www.FreindlyFireZone.com. He can be reached at CF@FreindlyFireZone.com

 

 

 

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July 17, 2012 at 7:59 am Comment (1)

Smith can win in November

It’s possible.  It shouldn’t be vastly more difficult than a Romney win in PA.

Granted, if you believe the polls, a Romney victory assumes an optimistic scenario.  But given that 2008 and 2010 were both outlier years, there is a degree of uncertainty in the turnout models used by pollsters.  I’m also a fan of playing everywhere.  If you don’t plan to win in PA, you’re planning to lose it.  Obama won a couple of extra states in 2008 because he was organized in every state.  [Begrudging hat-tip to Howard Dean's "50 state strategy" at the DNC.]  And if we lose PA at the Presidential level once again, we’ll see the Keystone state being written off for the indefinite future.

Obama is the worst President within anybody’s living memory.  Economic policy, foreign policy, social policy… pretty much disasters all around. (At least LBJ and Nixon could tell our allies from our enemies.)  What will it say if we can’t beat Obama in 2012?  That’s not a scenario I care to contemplate.

So for the purposes of talking about the Senate race, I assume that it’s at least conceivable that Romney wins in PA.

As of this writing, the Real Clear Politics spread for the Presidential race in PA is Obama+8.  The spread on the Senate race is Casey+15.2.  Step-one is to close the spread.  Casey has a truly atrocious, liberal voting record.  Given that Casey and Obama are about 98% the same person, and if you think about it, Tom Smith is in a lot of ways a more likeable guy than Mitt Romney, closing the gap should be somewhat easier than people think.

It seems some folks still haven’t gotten the memo that Casey really isn’t a moderate.  Whether you believe the conservative organizations (ACU = 5.65, Heritage Action = 3, NTU = F, Club for Growth = 2) or the liberal ones (ACLU = 73, Americans for Democratic Action = 100, League of Conservation Voters = 100, NAACP = 100, SEIU = 91), Bob Casey Jr. has an extremely liberal voting record.  Our supposedly “pro-life” Senator even scores 65% from NARAL.

Those are the aggregate numbers. Behind those abstract figures lie real liberal votes.  He voted for ObamaCare, destroyer of jobs and religious freedoms. He voted for the abominable stimulus/”Recovery Act” that sunk us deeper into debt to China for no discernible economic benefit.  He voted for EPA regulations that will hurt Pennsylvania both in the form of lost coal industry jobs and in the form of skyrocketing higher electricity costs.  He voted to continue taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood, provider of approximately three hundred thousand abortions per year. He voted to continue funding for ACORN even after multiple video stings revealed a systemic propensity to help pimps of underage children evade law enforcement, to say nothing of ACORN’s sordid history with voter registration fraud.  (Hey, didn’t we just go through some kind of big scandal with child sex abuse? Think that issue might have any resonance?)  He supports EFCA/”Card Check”, giving free hand to employee intimidation by union organizers.  He supports taxpayer bailouts of private pension programs.  He voted against several international free trade agreements that would have helped the US economy, including the Colombia FTA, which was a no-brainer for approval from a US jobs perspective, and the rejection of which was a gross geopolitical error (in favor of Hugo Chavez and against a cooperative Colombian government).  He voted against common-sense labor reforms like allowing union workers to earn raises.  He voted for higher taxes on domestic oil production.  He voted for higher taxpayer mortgage guarantees for rich people.  And he voted against Senator Toomey’s amendment that would eliminate legislative earmarks, currency of shady vote-trading in Congress and source of much abuse.

That Casey continues to skate by as a “moderate” with such an abysmal voting record is astonishing.

Expose Casey as being objectively something other than what the voters were led to believe he was, and that Presidential/Senate vote gap should close up pretty nicely.  Assume that the national environment will continue to favor Republicans, and hope that the Romney campaign has some mojo.

So yes, I think it’s possible that Smith wins in November, assuming a few stars align correctly.  They did for Pat Toomey, another guy who “couldn’t win”, and who we now refer to as “Senator”.

July 9, 2012 at 5:40 am Comments (0)

Should Obama Get Credit For bin Laden Killing? Absolutely!

As published in Philadelphia Magazine’s Philly Post:

 http://blogs.phillymag.com/the_philly_post/2012/05/07/obama-full-credit-killing-osama-bin-laden/

 

Coaches aren’t on the field, but they get credit for success.  Why the double standard from the Right?

 

If you’re wondering why America is no longer able to make even the most basic, common-sense decisions, there are two simple answers: extreme partisanship and willful hypocrisy.

 

Forget the desire to seek truth.  Many on the Right and Left are simply incapable of seeing the real picture, even if it’s smacking them in the face.  And those rare souls who do rise above partisanship to tell the truth are viciously discredited by their own, branded “traitors” and “sellouts.”

 

The incessant calls for “bipartisanship” are nothing more than pure campaign posturing. Once the election is over, the personal attacks begin anew, demonizing adversaries for miniscule partisan advantage.

 

Nowhere is this more apparent that the Right’s nonstop barrage against President Obama for his “politicizing” the killing of Osama bin Laden — an attack, by the way, that will backfire as it repels swing voters from the GOP and pushes the Prez closer to re-election.

 

There are countless articles, commentaries and videos (including a particularly apalling one from Veterans For  A Stronger Future) that bash Obama on everything related to the bin Laden raid.  Outside of throwing red meat to the far Right (who obviously aren’t voting for Obama anyway), this misguided strategy is destroying whatever credibility the Right may have had. Some common themes we are hearing include:

 

-Obama deserves absolutely no credit for the raid that killed bin Laden;

 

-It is George W. Bush who really should be praised for nailing bin Laden (as Obama did nothing at all to contribute to the hunt — he was just a lucky guy who happened to be on watch when the terrorist was located);

 

- It is the Navy SEAL’s who deserve one hundred percent of the credit, as they are the “real heroes” who did the job (see Point One);

 

-The President never thanked the SEALs or the intelligence community, instead taking all the accolades for himself because he used the word “I” in a few sentences;

 

-A Republican would never politicize anything about high-profile killings, war, or terrorism — especially in front of a foreign leader.

 

Yeah, good thing George Bush never politicized Iraq, Afghanistan, the war on terror, the capture of Saddam Hussein, WMD’s, or anything related to national security.  And not to throw a bone to the conspiracy theorists, but since national security/war on terror was, literally, the only issue in which Bush and the Republicans held an advantage over the Democrats (after 2004), didn’t it seem like there was a “non-specific color-coded heightened terror alert” every other week, especially right before elections? 

 

Of course Bush politicized security matters. How many videos do you need to show the truth?  Just Google it.  And, for the record, Bush even politicized the terror issue in front of a foreign leader (the Iraqi Prime Minister).  But to those on the Right, those things are simply not acknowledged, conveniently overlooked, or hypocritically justified.  Which is why they can’t make inroads winning the hearts and minds of The Great American Middle.

 

Speaking of hypocrisy, please explain how Bush should be credited with the bin Laden killing (he put the intel apparatus in place, we are told), but Obama should not. A) Most intelligence analysts uniformly agree that the search for bin Laden actually decreased under Bush, as assets were pulled from that mission and re-directed to Iraq, Afghanistan and the general war on terror. B) Obama made the search for bin Laden a priority.  C) He ordered the raid. D) He is Commander-in-Chief. Bush had eight years to get the job done, and didn’t.  Obama did. What am I missing?

 

And because The President wasn’t physically carrying a machine gun into the compound means that he had nothing to do with the raid? So a coach should get no credit when he guides his team to a Super Bowl because he isn’t on the field? Parents don’t deserve recognition for their children’s academic performance because they aren’t in the classroom taking the test? CEO’s shouldn’t be lauded when profits are up because they weren’t on the widget line?

 

And would the same “Obama wasn’t physically there” litmus test be used if Bush had been in office when bin Laden was killed? Not a chance.

 

Make no mistake about one thing. If U.S. personnel were killed or captured, or the helicopters crashed into a Pakistani house, you can bet the ranch the President would have been crucified by the Right for incompetence.  You can’t have it both ways.  He either owns the mission or he doesn’t.

 

Were the SEALs courageous and competent? As always, yes. Are they unknown heroes?  You bet.  But let’s keep the emotion in check here.  We don’t live in a military dictatorship. We are led by a civilian president elected by the people; the military — even the elite SEALs — work for him. Period. The SEALs didn’t go in until expressly authorized by the President, and, while that decision now seems like a no-brainer, it was infinitely more complicated and risky than the general public will ever know. The nation (and civilized world) owes a debt a gratitude to the SEALs, and they deserve high honors for their precision work.  But without question, the bulk of the credit must go to their leader. 

 

And the President did, in fact, congratulate and heap praise not just on the SEALs, but on everyone who helped make the mission a success. Let’s not forget that the SEALs didn’t find bin Laden; without good intelligence agents, there wouldn’t have been a raid.

 

And for a President who doesn’t deserve credit, here’s a pretty big irony.  Barack Obama and his family will, for the rest of their lives, have a literal target on their backs from bin Laden supporters.  Paybacks are a bitch, and as we have learned firsthand, Muslim fanatics redefine “patience.” Obama will always wonder if his house will be car-bombed, or a person at a speaking engagement (post presidency) has a bomb strapped to his chest.  Or if his children and grandchildren are safe. For all the dangers the SEALs faced, they will never have those worries. When their missions end, they’re done.  Not so for the President.

 

For a guy whom the Right tags as anti-American and in bed with the Muslim community, ordering the assassination of radical Muslims’ ultimate hero doesn’t exactly fit that mold. 

 

*****

 

Obviously, the Right does not have a monopoly on hypocrisy.  It’s just more pronounced because Obama currently occupies the Big Prize.  It was no different when Bush was in charge, as the Left refused to give him credit when the Fort Dix Six were captured, avoiding a mass killing spree.

 

I was a consistent critic of W. (and by no means am I on the Left), yet I gave him total credit for that security victory, since it happened on his watch. Only fair, even though Bush did not physically participate in the operation.

Archive link: http://www.freindlyfirezone.com/home/item/222-the-“fort-dix-six”-is-all-about-illegal-immigration

 

Mitt Romney should, but won’t, have the guts to chide those who are attacking Obama for something that any President would do — take credit for removing the most dangerous thug in the world from the living. Regardless of Obama’s stances on any other issues, the decapitation of al-Queda by whacking bin Laden stands as a mammoth achievement.

 

As Commander-in-Chief in the world’s most public job, Barack Obama will be receive the greatest amount of credit, and deservedly so.  And for anyone who doesn’t like that, one basic question: Would you rather have bin Laden still walking among us?

 

 An accredited member of the media, Chris Freind is an independent columnist, television/radio commentator, and investigative reporter who operates his own news bureau, www.FreindlyFireZone.com  His self-syndicated model has earned him the largest cumulative media voice in Pennsylvania. He can be reached at CF@FreindlyFireZone.com

 

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May 7, 2012 at 1:03 pm Comments (3)

Corbett’s Colossal Cockiness Castrates His Credibility

Candidate Choice Creates Calamitous Clusterf**k of Carnage

“Stevie Welch sat on a wall (of cards); Stevie Welch had a great fall (winning a mere two of 67 counties). All of King (or is it Joker?) Corbett’s horses (jackasses), and all the King’s men (endorsements by 27 County Commissioners and 35 State Legislators), couldn’t put Stevie’s candidacy together again (4 of 5 Republican voters rejected the Welch-Corbett-Obama “ticket”).

 

And so Freindly Fire’s prediction that Governor Corbett-endorsed U.S. Senate candidate Steve Welch would come in a whoppingly-bad third place was proven correct, though it didn’t take a political genius to guess that result.  After all, asking — strong-arming, actually — Republicans to support the Obama-voting, Joe Sestak-supporting Welch was anathema to common sense and political savvy.  And the resulting carnage is everywhere: the endorsement of the state Republican Party is as meaningful as being valedictorian of summer school; getting backed by Corbett now carries substantial negative baggage, and GOP legislators will think long and hard about aligning themselves with the Governor on his signature issues (are there any?), fearing that his promises of support could be akin to political suicide.

 

And all of this occurred just 15 months after being ushered into office with a ten-point margin and solid majorities in the House and Senate. And ironically, so easily preventable.

 

Many insiders will claim the blow to Corbett’s prestige will be a fleeting, short-term event. As is most often the case, those “experts” will be wrong. The political reality is that next month, when the Governor wants his ill-fated and unpopular voucher plan for only low-income families (which ignores the middle class) to pass, he will fall short, as his Party walks away from him. When he attempts to garner support for his proposed education cuts in the budget, he will meet substantial resistance. And should he try his hand at privatizing liquor, many in his GOP caucuses will cut and run.  Very few will risk their neck for a Guv who in the best of times was invisible, preferring the shadows to the bully pulpit. Now, Corbett has become a liability.

 

(Sidenote: Corbett’s low-income voucher allies made that issue the only issue this election, losing all of the races in which they were involved.  In particular, they spent big money trying to defeat West Philadelphia State Representative James Roebuck and mid-state Senator Pat Vance (who only ran again because she was “not going to be pushed out by any Political Action Committee.”). Both won easily — another reason Corbett will have a difficult time with that issue.)

 

Not only is Corbett’s popularity plummeting, but his reputation has been cemented as a lightweight empty-suit who simply can’t deliver.  The fact that he poisoned his own Party and made it a national laughingstock is icing on the cake.

 

In addition to Corbett’s endorsement of Welch (and the fact the he personally recorded the voice vote of every State Committee member during the GOP endorsement process), he went to the mat for his boy through mailers, phone calls, fundraisers and speeches.  Yet his election night was a disaster. Consider:

 

-The Corbett- Welch-ObamaDrama Ticket had all the advantages going into the race. With Santorum out of the presidential contest, many conservative-leaning Republicans did not vote — and low turnout elections almost always favor the endorsed candidate (especially the hand-picked favorite of a Governor).  The Party’s organizational structure and resources are usually sufficient to propel the anointed candidate to victory, but many Party committee people rebuked the Governor by openly supporting non-Welch candidates.

- Even better for Welch, there were two other major candidates in the race (Tom Smith, Sam Rohrer), both of whom would split the anti-establishment, anti-endorsement vote (and the remaining two candidates, David Christian and Marc Scaringi, did the same, taking 18 percent collectively). It should have been an easy “divide and conquer” campaign for Welch. Instead, it was a Kamikaze mission.
-There was a large snowstorm the day before the election across much of western Pennsylvania — Smith’s critical home base. Any dampening of that vote should have proven beneficial to the endorsed candidate, but it was Smith’s supporters who out-performed the once-vaunted statewide GOP machine.
- It should have been a slam-dunk for Welch to raise millions from Corbett and the big GOP donors.  But he took in an embarrassing $150,000 in the entire first quarter —half of Smith’s total and, quite possibly, even less than Smith’s dog. That lack of gravitas is quite telling.
- There was one bright spot: Welch’s campaign consultants reaped the benefits of the $1 million Welch personally gave his campaign.  The effectiveness of how they spent that money is another story, since there was no Philadelphia broadcast TV, limited media, and, come to think of it, virtually no campaign at all — usually not the best way to win an election.

 

-By far the most surreal moment of the night was Welch crying poor, complaining about being outspent 5-1 —even though he is accurately described in every news article as being the self-funding millionaire entrepreneur.  All self-funders claim that they will only spend a fixed amount, and, of course, exceed that after consultants convince them they are “closing fast.”  That never happened with Steve.  The irony is that he was always perceived as a self-funder (and no one wants to contribute to a rich candidate), but he clearly wasn’t able to micturate (look it up) with the big dogs in the tall grass.  Playing the rich-guy card (against a really rich guy like Smith) without having the aces in your hand isn’t just a bad bluff. It’s a dead-man’s hand.

 

Kind of makes you wonder what the hell the point was in going for the endorsement — or running at all.

*****

 

So what happens from here?  Prosecutor Kathleen Kane, who whipped the whining Patrick Murphy despite his endorsements from all the wrong folks (career pols Rendell and Nutter), is in the driver’s seat to become the first Democrat Attorney General. And expect the Penn State scandal to be front-and-center in the fall election, with Kane pounding away about what former Attorney General Tom Corbett knew, and when he knew it.

 

Not only would a Kane victory reflect negatively on Corbett (since the Dems would have captured that prize on his watch, and in doing so, beaten the Governor’s hand-selected candidate in what should be a Republican-leaning election), but his image and effectiveness will be further compromised as more is learned — and publicized —about his role in how the Penn State investigation was handled. 

 

From having it all just a year ago, Tom Corbett will witness his own Party run away from him on the issues and in the election — and helplessly watch as the Democrats make him the issue.

 

It took George W. Bush six years to get to that point.   If Tom Corbett’s goal was to best the former President, well…Mission Accomplished.

 

 

An accredited member of the media, Chris Freind is an independent columnist, television/radio commentator, and investigative reporter who operates his own news bureau, www.FreindlyFireZone.com  His self-syndicated model has earned him the largest cumulative media voice in Pennsylvania. He can be reached at CF@FreindlyFireZone.com

 

 

 

 

 

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April 27, 2012 at 10:08 am Comments (0)

Corbett’s Love Affair With The Democrats: An Election Letter Back At Ya’

 Well, primary election day is almost here, and some of the races have gotten downright nasty. From disingenuous, mean-spirited campaign ads to a Democrat masquerading as a Republican accusing his opponent of being a Democrat (did you get all that?), there’s something to satisfy everyone’s entertainment needs.

 

Perhaps the ugliest race is the Democratic contest for Attorney General (an office that Party has never held), pitting a woman against a whiner: prosecutor Kathleen Kane and former congressman Patrick Murphy.  Murphy certainly can’t run on his record (there isn’t one), so instead has charged Kane with being a millionaire trucking executive. (Note: if you can figure out how being married to a trucking company owner would prevent a career prosecutor from being an effective AG, please let me know. Perhaps she would look the other way on the rampant truck-on-truck crime in Pennsylvania?)

 

Of particular concern to many is that Murphy, who as a congressman perfectly personified the deer-in-headlights legislator (remember the Hardball interview with Chris Matthews on the Iraq war?), is running for the state’s top law enforcement job despite never prosecuting a single criminal case in Pennsylvania. He will need all the help he can get to pull out a victory, and apparently that help has arrived. Sources tell Freindly Fire that elements of the Republican Party have been covertly (and even overtly) pulling out all the stops for the young doe.  And for good reason: they see him as infinitely easier to beat in November than an articulate (and better looking) female prosecutor.

 

And speaking of Republicans helping Democrats, for your reading pleasure we have a letter from Governor Tom Corbett pushing Steve Welch, the Obama-voting, Joe Sestak-supporting U.S. Senate candidate he personally endorsed (and strong-armed the Republican Party to do the same). Unfortunately for the Governor, his letter is being received by an ever-dwindling number of supporters, many of whom are flat-out rejecting his call to back Welch. From elected officials to the grassroots, they are so incensed by what Corbett has demanded of them (akin to Party treason) that they are openly supporting other candidates in the race. Welch is most likely heading for a second-place finish, and maybe even third, either of which would be an incredible embarrassment to Corbett and a severe blow to his ebbing credibility.  

 

Alienating the Party faithful in a mystifying way is not exactly a recipe for influencing people and making friends, a fact lost on this Governor.

 

So in the spirit of accuracy, it is Freindly Fire’s civic duty to correct the Governor’s letter to reflect the truth, though we will leave the bad sentence structure intact. Commentary in bold:

 

Dear Friend,
 
In less than two years we have turned the tide (by being just like Ed Rendell?), and are righting the wrongs of the liberal agenda here in Pennsylvania (yes, that same “liberal agenda” that, in fact, was passed by an overwhelmingly Republican state senate).  We brought a new way of thinking to Harrisburg after inheriting a recession and a $4.2 billion dollar budget deficit in 2011 (Sorry, Guv, but despite the constitutional requirement for a balanced budget, those deficits still exist because no one—Republican or Democrat — will address the issues that led to those deficits.  Examples abound, such as the $400 million in I-80 tolls used to “balance” a prior budget — even though that interstate never became a toll road, and the money was never “repaid.”). While we have witnessed others in the past attempt to solve our state’s problems by spending more of your hard-earned tax dollars, I have employed a fiscally conservative approach to our economic issues (Yes, by finishing Rendell’s spending legacy of bailing out the Philadelphia Shipyard to build ships with no buyers, constructing a new stadium for the (obviously poor) New York Yankees’ AAA baseball team, funding the multimillion dollar Arlen Specter library,  spending Delaware River Port Authority funds (AKA taxpayer dollars) on projects having nothing to do with the bridges while tolls continue to increase…we’d love to continue, but column space is limited to 10,000 words).
 
Together with the General Assembly, we have put our state’s economy back on track (uhhh, the natural gas industry is leaving the state, in part because of no political leadership, and the unemployment rate has not measurably dropped), not by demonizing the private sector, but by lowering taxes (Really? The job-killing taxes haven’t been touched, such as the nation’s second-highest corporate tax and the 18 percent tax on every bottle of wine and booze to rebuild Johnstown from the flood — of 1936!), cutting government spending (let’s be honest — that’s only because the federal stimulus dollars dried up), balancing the budget on time and giving businesses the ability to create jobs and drive economic growth. 
 
Unfortunately, we have a government in Washington, D.C.  stuck in the same liberal trap that Pennsylvania was suffering in. (Sorry, can’t help it.  You aren’t supposed to end a sentence with a preposition. Where’s your brain at? Or, to be grammatically correct, Where’s your brain at, Genius?) We started the fight in 2010 by talking about real change and real reforms (Very, very true.  It was, and remains, all talk.) With your help and support, I was elected along with a Republican State Senate and House Majority, U.S. Senator Pat Toomey and 12 Republican congressmen to cut wasteful spending and promote economic growth. This year, we have to continue our efforts and send U.S. Senate candidate Steve Welch to join the fight! (The irony is just dripping here. Pennsylvania elects all those Republicans to stop the “liberal” Obama agenda — and Corbett is pushing an Obama-voter who was, until fairly recently, a Democrat. Go figure).
 
I endorsed Steve because he has the passion and ability to take our shared Pennsylvania values (Another truism, as Welch’s vote for Obama helped the President win Pennsylvania, and Corbett has acted more like a Democrat than Republican) to Washington, D.C. and get our federal government’s reckless spending back under control.  He is a businessman who has worked tirelessly to achieve the American dream, creating a successful living for himself and creating jobs for hundreds of others.  In the private sector, Steve has helped young entrepreneurs achieve their own dreams of launching a successful small business (In keeping with the “dream” theme, who in their right mind could possibly dream that endorsing an Obama-supporter would rally the Republican Party?)
 
Steve is running for the U.S. Senate because he believes in the same values you and I do! (Wait, whose values? Obama’s or Sestak’s? Or both? And do most in the GOP share those values? Admittedly, the Party’s pick for Prez is the architect of government healthcare, but still…). Steve could no longer sit back and watch as President Obama and Senator Bob Casey continue to spend our way into oblivion and add more debt onto the backs of future generations (Damn! If only Welch didn’t vote for Obama, that line may have worked!!). Steve wants to bring fiscal responsibility back to Washington, D.C. and help others achieve the American dream, as he has. (Unfortunately for Corbett and Welch, that’s not going to happen. There are no points for second (or third) place.  Sorry, Bob Casey — it doesn’t look like Christmas is coming early for you.)
 
Remember that we have a great slate of statewide candidates including Steve Welch – David Freed for Attorney General, John Maher for Auditor General and Diana Irey Vaughan for Treasurer – who need your support over the next few days.   You can visit www.pagop.org to learn how you can help. 
 
Most importantly, I hope you will join me on April 24thand cast your ballot for Steve Welch for U.S. Senate and our entire statewide team! (Too bad Democrats can’t vote in the Republican primary, since that would at least give your man a fighting chance…)
 
Sincerely, 

Tom Corbett
Governor (well, at least until 2014…)

 

 

An accredited member of the media, Chris Freind is an independent columnist, television/radio commentator, and investigative reporter who operates his own news bureau, www.FreindlyFireZone.com  His self-syndicated model has earned him the largest cumulative media voice in Pennsylvania. He can be reached at CF@FreindlyFireZone.com

 

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April 23, 2012 at 2:03 pm Comments (0)

Corbett’s US Senate Candidate Is An Albatross Around His Neck

 

The Guv’s man, Steve Welch, is an Obama Voter, infuriating many in the GOP

 

It’s the bottom of ninth, you’re down a run, two outs and a man on second.  Should he try to steal?

 

Hell no. A single probably scores you, and getting thrown out ends the game. Simply stated, the risk outweighs the reward. But if, for whatever reason, the decision to steal is made, there’s only one rule: you damn well better make it. Fail, and you’re toast with the fans, the media and your teammates.

 

For the political equivalent, look no farther than Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett’s bewildering decision in the Republican primary for U.S. Senate.

 

For a year, there were those who questioned whether the state even had a governor. Then Corbett stormed out of nowhere to endorse young businessman Steve Welch, strong-arming the Republican Party to do the same.  But despite this pressure, and the fact that the Governor personally recorded the vote of every State Committee member during the public proceeding (secret ballot? forget it), the endorsement vote was still close.  Why?

 

Maybe it had something to do with Corbett asking loyal Republicans to do the unthinkable — back a candidate who voted for Barack Obama. No, that’s not a misprint, and yes, that bears repeating: Welch voted for Mr. Hope and Change himself.  But there’s more.  He also contributed to Joe Sestak, and hosted an event for the man who was arguably the most liberal member of Congress.  

 

Here’s the kicker.  Despite Corbett’s support, Welch is running third and even fourth in some tracking polls (in a five man race), and his fundraising is nowhere near what you’d expect from the anointed favorite of the Governor.  

 

Many rank-and-file in the GOP are still scratching their heads as to why Corbett would back a flawed candidate who, should he win the primary, faces a huge uphill battle against incumbent Bob Casey. Given the circumstances, a Welch candidacy in the general election would be a gift from God to the Democrats.  Consider:

 

The President’s approval rating remains dangerously low; gas prices are soaring; Obamacare is hugely unpopular; and the economy is not recovering to the satisfaction of many.  These are big negatives that may prove decisive in races around the nation, and could become a backlash against the entire Democratic ticket through “guilt by association.” So in a year that the normally unbeatable Casey has become very mortal, many in the GOP simply aren’t buying the Corbett line that Welch is the best candidate.
And for good reason. Because of Welch’s support of Obama, any attack against Casey can be easily rebutted. 

 

“Bob Casey —you supported the President’s agenda,” would be countered by, “Yes, Steve Welch, and by voting for Obama, so did you. Glad we agree. What’s your point?”

 

It doesn’t help that Welch’s story keeps changing. He claims he left the Republican Party because George Bush and the GOP Congress weren’t doing enough to advance the conservative agenda. Fine. Many felt the same way.  That’s why God made the Independent, Reform and Constitutional Parties. But it’s mindboggling that any conservative would leave the GOP for the ultra-liberal Democratic Party. 

 

Welch then claimed he voted for Obama to stop “Hillary-care,” which also makes no sense since Obamacare is a far more aggressive government health care system. So which was it? Hillary-care or dissatisfaction with the Republicans?  And his claim that he was duped into believing Sestak was a fiscal conservative is laughable. Perhaps more than any politician in the nation, Sestak has proudly been true to his core beliefs — all of them staunchly liberal.

 

*****

To save the Pennsylvania Republican Party from national embarrassment, rank and file Republicans would be wise to hang the Steve Welch/Barack Obama/Joe Sestak debacle right where it belongs— as an albatross around Tom Corbett’s neck. He owns it, and he alone should bear the consequences of what most likely will be a colossal failure.

 

Ironically, Corbett has placed himself in a Catch-22. He made his endorsement, misguided as it is, and with his image and credibility at stake, his candidate better “make it.”

 

If Welch loses — and worse, comes in third — Corbett takes a hit. And yet, if Welch wins, he almost certainly loses to Casey in November, a defeat many will lay at the Guv’s feet for backing a candidate who was doomed from the start.

 

But here would be the biggest irony of all.  Due to the Governor’s own ineptitude, a stronger Bob Casey emerges victorious in November, then takes on and defeats Corbett in two years.  And since no Casey has ever lost a general election in Pennsylvania history, that’s a real possibility. 

 

Talk about the chickens coming home to roost.

 

 An accredited member of the media, Chris Freind is an independent columnist, television/radio commentator, and investigative reporter who operates his own news bureau, www.FreindlyFireZone.com  His self-syndicated model has earned him the largest cumulative media voice in Pennsylvania. He can be reached at CF@FreindlyFireZone.com

 

 

 

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April 16, 2012 at 8:51 am Comments (0)

Conservatism or Tribalism?

One of the candidates for US Senate is pro-life, favors a balanced budget amendment, school choice, and term limits.

Another candidate was an 18 year legislator who is opposed to term limits and voted for the infamous Pay Raise.

Yet another self-styled “Conservative Republican” and “lifelong Conservative” has yet to actually vote in a Republican primary election.

But to listen to some folks, that first candidate would be the second coming of Arlen Specter, and represents all that is wrong with the Republican party.

True, I cherry picked the information presented. Indeed, Rohrer has been a largely stalwart conservative, and at least had the good sense to vote against Perzel in the 2007 leadership vote. (Despite being the less “conservative” position, I actually agree with Rohrer on term limits.) And yes, Smith had been active in tea party organizations, even as a Democrat.

And I obviously omitted any mention of Welch’s troublesome if brief dalliance with the political Dark Side of the Force. But amazingly enough, the folks who typically cheer “principle over party” seem very preoccupied with party registration. On the subject of Welch’s one-time support for Sestak, they love to point out that Sestak ran against Toomey. What they neglect to mention is that in 2006 Sestak was running against a sleazy incumbent Republican Congressman, and that by 2009 Welch declared his intention to challenge Sestak for the 7th Congressional seat. At no point did Welch support Sestak for Senate. Perhaps those insinuating so should apply for production positions at NBC News. I understand they may have an opening.

Ok, the party registration thing is not exactly a big selling point, to say the least, but at what point do we actually argue policy and ideology? Welch has taken on some pretty darned conservative positions. If he were to be elected on this platform he would be among the most conservative Senators in the entire body.

No, the Republican primary has descended into something more akin to tribal warfare than ideology. It seems to matter more which “team” the candidates are perceived as belonging to rather than their actual positions. “Conservative” is no longer an objective term, but a shibboleth.

April 8, 2012 at 12:09 am Comments (5)

I Was Wrong To Question The DRPA

 Later this year, it is possible — even probable — that the following individuals will all be in jail: former powerhouse Senator Vince Fumo, former House Speakers John Perzel and Bill DeWeese, Senators Jane Orie and Bob Mellow (both of Leadership), and former Representatives Mike Veon and Brett Feese (also from Leadership). 

 

On the one hand, seeing corrupt politicians brought to justice is a good thing, as is all the money they are giving back to taxpayers via forfeited pensions.

 

But there is a downside. While such offenders should obviously be prosecuted, people’s cynicism toward their government seems to be at an all-time high. Why? Because the rampant corruption still occurring — the kind that directly affects people — just isn’t being tackled seriously. 

 

Despite elements of corruption — both institutional and criminal — so apparent that even a law student could successfully prosecute the violators, nothing seems to get done. 

 

Worst of all are the pols who campaign as straight-shooting, law-and-order reformers, hell-bent on rooting out corruption, yet do nothing of the kind when elected.  Sadly, they often end up as corrupt as those they challenged.  The status quo remains intact, and, save for a bit of window dressing “reforms” here and there, it’s Business As Usual.

 

Nowhere is that more apparent that the Delaware River Port Authority (DRPA), one of the most powerful — and corrupt — organizations in the entire nation.

 

But wait! Could there be hope after all of reforming the Authority?  Sources say that a report from the New Jersey Comptroller’s Office will be released soon (possibly Monday), and that a gag order has been placed on its contents by the DRPA’s Chairman, Pennsylvania Governor Tim Corbett.  Sounds so cloak-and-dagger that it’s just possible to think maybe, just maybe, this might finally be the time when the bums are kicked out, replaced by honest folks with only one objective: responsible stewardship of the toll payers’ money.

 

After all, on the other side of the river we have firebrand Governor Chris Christie, who, like Corbett, is a former prosecutor.

 

So will this be the day we’ve been waiting for?

 

Fat chance. Very fat.

 

*****

 

Freindly Fire (FF) has been the longest-serving media voice taking on the DRPA and the heavyweights involved with the Authority (Ed Rendell, Jon Corzine, the Ballard Spahr law firm, CEO John Matheussen, and past and present Boards, to name just a few). For much of the past four years, FF has been alone in its quest to upend the corrupt regime, eliminate mammoth conflicts of interest, fire double-dipping executives, and bring accountability to the agency.  Joined by FOX 29 in 2010— and pretty much only FOX 29 — a number of the above objectives were met.  DRPA execs were scrambling (some were canned), a few reforms were instituted (though mostly toothless), criminal investigations were launched, and both new governors promised swift and decisive action.

 

But then it all fell off a cliff.

 

While we have moved in the right direction, it is not nearly good enough.  Quite frankly, this report will probably accomplish nothing.  Sure, there will be press conferences with harsh warnings from Corbett and Christie for the DRPA to shape up, Board members will say all the right things, and taxpayer and reform groups will fall for the same empty promises. And you know what will happen?

 

Absolutely nothing.

 

Therefore, it seems appropriate to take a new position regarding all things DRPA — I am apologizing.  In retrospect, I have been wrong across the board these past few years, and it is only fitting to publicly eat crow for those errors. I am man-enough to admit my mistakes.  Here are some of the most substantial:

 

1) I was wrong to think Tom Corbett would make good on his promise to clean house upon becoming Governor (and making himself DRPA Chair).  Instead, he chose to appoint hacks, lawyers (redundant?), former union officials, large-dollar political contributors and lobbyists to the Board, without so much as one reformer.

 

2) I was wrong to think Christie would use his office as a bully pulpit to demand the Jersey Board members (whom he can’t replace until their terms expire) to fire CEO Matheussen, under whose “leadership” the DRPA has become synonymous with “corrupt.”  This is a CEO, by the way, who has been working without a contract for years, makes more than either governor, and stands to pocket a six-figure sum of toll payer money in accumulated sick/vacation days when he finally leaves. Yet he remains because there has been no political will to remove him.

 

3) I was wrong to think the other media outlets (except FOX 29) would jump on board, exposing the DRPA for what it really is.  And I was wrong to assume they were capable of doing so in the first place, despite time and again giving them an exact roadmap for investigative articles.

 

4) I was wrong to think the Philadelphia Inquirer — both under former publisher Brian Tierney’s failed leadership and the current sell-out ownership — would cover the DRPA as a media watchdog should.  Could such inaction have been caused by Tierney begging Rendell for a taxpayer-bailout of the paper? And let’s not forget that, while R.endell was in power, the acting Board Chairman was John Estey of Ballard Spahr — Rendell’s former Chief of Staff, a major Rendell fundraiser, and a fellow member of Rendell’s law firm.  So obviously, I was wrong to even consider the possibility that the paper could objectively cover the matter.

 

5) I was wrong to expect that over $35 million in “economic development” money —codespeak for political slush funds used for everything under the sun —except the bridges — would be spent on 1) the long-overdue re-decking of the Walt Whitman Bridge; 2) helping offset yet another toll increase; or 3) paying down some of the DRPA’s enormous debt. 

 

And I would be wrong to end my list here, since there is so much more.  So check back next week for even more wrongs.  And who know?  Maybe all these wrongs might somehow make it right…

 

 

An accredited member of the media, Chris Freind is an independent columnist, television/radio commentator, and investigative reporter who operates his own news bureau, www.FreindlyFireZone.com  His self-syndicated model has earned him the largest cumulative media voice in Pennsylvania. He can be reached at CF@FreindlyFireZone.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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March 27, 2012 at 2:01 pm Comments (0)

Blame Impotent Congress – And Yourself – For Gas Prices

 Americans don’t have enough holidays.

 

Unlike our Euro brethren, who take off all of August to refresh themselves after their grueling 25-hour work weeks, those in the U.S. can’t catch a break.  Sure, we have Arbor Day and Wildflower Week, but we need to celebrate more.  So it’s only appropriate to propose a holiday to which we can all relate, one that stays with us for more than just a day.

 

National Colonic Month.

 

No, not the colonic used to flush the body of evil red meat. That would be pointless since, according to a new study, just looking at a hamburger increases the likelihood of death by 900 percent.

 

National Colonic Month would be the collective feeling of having a gas pump forcefully inserted where the sun doesn’t shine by the United States Congress each time we refuel our cars, buy groceries, heat our homes, lay people off, lose our jobs, pull out our hair and contemplate “crimes of opportunity” (aka siphoning your neighbor’s gas tank), all in the name of making Arab sheiks the world’s first trillionaires.

 

Since America has perfected its current position of being bent over a barrel, its posterior wide open and ready to receive whatever comes, what better time for a national colonic of Middle Eastern petroleum?  And here’s the best part.  Given America’s insatiable appetite, National Colonic Month would just roll from month to month. So whether gas is $4 now, $5 in the summer, or $9 when the Washington braintrust strikes Iran, we will never have to worry about a shortage of colonic activity.

 

Of course, as with any procedure, there are side effects.  In our case, it hurts a lot more as the price goes up, hemorrhaging can occur, and decay and disease may soon set in. And since we are the only doctor in town, yet remain impotent to solve, let alone diagnose, the problem, the prognosis for recovery isn’t good.

 

Kind of reminds you of Fletch’s most famous line, “Using the whole fist, Doc?” 

 

In America’s case, it’s a lot more than a fist.

 

*****

It’s really tough to figure out who is dumber: Congress or the people who elect them.

 

Are people up in arms about skyrocketing gas prices? You bet.  My answer? Shut up and take your colonic.  It’s no one’s fault but your own, so deal with it.

 

Oh sure, there are renewed calls for drilling now that gas is $4/gallon — just like in 2008 when it hit $4.50.  But then the economy tanked, oil prices collapsed, and gas returned to “normal” (under $3).  Result? Back to complacency.  The only thing that got drilled was the people, but they were too ignorant to know better.

 

Now that prices have spiked again, we are looking for a scapegoat.  Obama is a convenient target, and while he is partially responsible, so are his blamers, namely the Republicans. Consider:

 

1) It was George H.W. Bush who implemented the moratorium on offshore drilling.  And it was Junior Bush who, rather than being proactive by opening up ANWR and reversing Dad’s mistake while he had significant majorities in Congress (and let’s face it — after 9/11, he could have had anything he wanted in the name of security), waited until gas spiraled out of control to call for drilling.  Too late, as the Democrats slammed the door in his face.

 

2) A local Republican congressman told me during a 2010 interview that he couldn’t introduce a drilling bill while in the minority. Uhh, sorry, but Civics 101 says differently. The bill may not make it out of a Democratically-controlled committee, but it absolutely could have been introduced.  And, by the way, that would have been a coup, since Obama made offshore drilling and nuclear power a cornerstone of his 2010 State of the Union address.  But the GOP response? He didn’t really believe that. 

 

Remember, this is the same president who just green-lighted the first new nuclear power plants since 1978.  A Democrat doing that is akin to Ronald Reagan calling for a ban of all handguns.  But rather than work with the President on a (yes—Republican!) issue, the result was bitter, partisan attacks. Hence, no offshore drilling.

 

3) But Mr. Obama doesn’t get a free pass. He recently ridiculed those who advocate “drill, drill, drill” to lower energy prices. Well, not to be a stickler, but if you produce more of something, the price will, in fact, drop.  Yes, we should all be more energy-conscious. That’s common sense. And alternative energy resources should be developed so long as they are market-feasible. But let’s be real. Oil is the unrivaled king of the energy world. Since that will not change for decades, if ever, it’s time to remove our heads from the colonic area and do what we all know has to be done: drill domestically.

 

Obama delayed the Keystone XL Pipeline, which was a mistake.  But what damn near everybody is missing is that, save for a relatively small amount of product from North Dakota, the oil is all Canadian.  Granted, getting oil from our Canuck friends is certainly better than relying on Middle Eastern nations, but it misses the point entirely.  Why are we not responsibly drilling on our own turf, keeping the jobs and revenue stateside?

 

4) Natural gas just hit a ten year low, while oil (and gasoline) are soaring. Go figure. So the wells that should be tapping the unlimited, clean-burning natural resource literally beneath our feet are being capped, killing jobs and entire industries.  Well, except for colonics.

 

5) Most disturbing is that our local congressional representatives are spending their time holding hearings on the closings of the Sunoco and Conoco-Phillips refineries. No, that’s not a joke. Congressman Pat Meehan and Senator Bob Casey are looking for answers as to how the closings will affect oil prices and impact national security.  (This should be no surprise, as Congress routinely holds hearings on weighty matters such as how the College Football Bowl Championship should be decided).

 

Perhaps I could save a boatload of taxpayer cash by releasing the results of a poll conducted of a sixth-grade class I teach.  The closings will be bad. Very bad. Prices will continue to rise, since if there is less of something, its cost will increase. And we will be less secure. Next hearing?

 

When did we start prioritizing national security anyway? Congress cares infinitely more about the national security of Middle Eastern sheikdoms than it does America, despite some of those nations funding anti-American terrorist groups with our petro dollars.  And all for one reason: their oil.

 

Here’s the bottom line: as long as we refuse to domestically drill, American soldiers will continue to die in Muslim lands.  And no amount of hearings, protests, or political rhetoric will change that. And let’s be honest. Our men and women are not “fighting for our freedom,” nor are they “keeping the war over there.” They are simply doing the bidding of a Congress —and the people who elect them — who are too complacent, or worse, impotent — to do the responsible thing: protect America by harnessing our vast and unparalleled domestic energy resources.

 

And there’s no colonic to cleanse the soul from the blood we all have on our hands.

 

So to be crude, stick it in and fill ‘er up, Sheik.

 

 

An accredited member of the media, Chris Freind is an independent columnist, television/radio commentator, and investigative reporter who operates his own news bureau, www.FreindlyFireZone.com  His self-syndicated model has earned him the largest cumulative media voice in Pennsylvania. He can be reached at CF@FreindlyFireZone.com

 

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March 21, 2012 at 7:04 am Comments (2)

Why Mitt Romney Will Lose To Obama

 

Being in the media, I have no friends, as it should be.  If I did, however, 3 of 10 Republicans would surely take offense to this column, since it points out what is increasingly obvious to everyone but Mitt Romney’s 30 percent base of support: Mitt won’t beat Barack Obama.

 

Should Romney become the GOP nominee — likely, but not certain — he will have a difficult time unseating the President.  Can he win? Given the stagnant economy, high unemployment, and skyrocketing gas prices, yes.  But will he? No.

 

Since many Republicans are calling this election the most important in history, it’s worth a look at why Romney will fall short:

 

1) He cannot relate. Nominating Romney would be par for the course for a GOP that likes to elevate stiff, out-of-touch pols who can’t relate to most Americans.  John McCain, Bob Dole, and George Bush I (after he acted like he had better things to do than campaign for reelection) are prime examples.

 

Of course, it is rare for an incumbent president to lose, which occurred only four times in the 20th century.  But in those instances, sitting presidents lost to charismatic leaders articulating bold visions. Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton achieved success over Jimmy Carter and George H. W. Bush, because, more than anything, they were extremely effective communicators, speaking from the heart rather than a script. There was a widespread perception among Americans that these candidates were talking directly to them — that they were leaders who innately understood what the problems were, and how to solve them.

 

On a scale of one to ten, Romney’s ability in this regard is zero. Not only is he unable to relate, but when he tries, things gets worse. He either becomes a laughingstock (an aloof Northeastern moderate patronizing unamused Southern conservatives by saying “y’all” and “grits” as many times as possible) or a human gaffe machine (“$10,000 bet,” “I’m not concerned about the very poor,” telling unemployed people that he too is “unemployed,” he knows what it’s like to worry about getting a pink slip, and “I have some friends who are NASCAR team owners,” among countless other beauties).

 

Romney doesn’t understand that trying to be someone you aren’t is death to a candidate. Nowhere was that more apparent that in 1988, when another Governor of Massachusetts, Michael Dukakis, was photographed riding in an army tank. Given his liberal positions on national defense, Dukakis was ridiculed to such an extent that his candidacy never recovered, with that iconic photo symbolizing his ill-fated campaign.

 

Apparently not a student of history, Romney is doing his best to upstage his Massachusetts colleague.

 

2) Romney is regressing. After spending hundreds of millions over the last six years, Romney is still routinely losing 7 of 10 Republicans. And that is with a weak field. Ron Paul is running to keep the others honest, Newt Gingrich has won just two states, and Rick Santorum, who two months ago was polling at two percent, is surging only because he is the last “anti-Romney” candidate standing.

 

Comparing apples to apples, Romney is faring considerably worse than in 2008. That negative trend is bad enough, but even more startling is that four years ago, Romney faced a number of credible candidates, including John McCain, Rudy Giuliani, Mike Huckabee and Fred Thompson. In other words, he is doing worse now despite competing against a rag-tag cadre of opponents who have virtually no money or organizations and who mathematically can’t win the nomination.

 

The proof is in the pudding: of Romney’s 15 wins (out of 27 contests), he has barely broken fifty percent in just four — heavily Mormon Nevada and Idaho, his home state (Massachusetts) and Virginia, where Gingrich and Santorum weren’t even on the ballot. In fact, Romney couldn’t even attain 60 percent against “quirky” Ron Paul — known for his non-interventionist foreign policy and reduced military spending platform — in Virginia, despite it being one of the biggest military and defense industry states in the country. 

 

Four years ago in Minnesota, Romney garnered 41 percent, yet this time (as the “frontrunner”) he won less than 17 percent of the vote—yes, 17!  In his true home state of Michigan, where he grew up while his father was governor, he hung on just enough to defeat Santorum — and that was after a dismal debate performance by Rick.  In Ohio, despite vastly outspending his opponents, he eked out a one point win. And most recently, not only didn’t he win Alabama or Mississippi, but came in third in both states.

 

A successful candidate needs to win states in every region, an achievement that has thus far eluded Romney. A number of Mitt’s wins have been in states that will go Democratic in the general election (Vermont, Massachusetts, Washington and Hawaii), and he is struggling mightily in must-win battleground states (Minnesota, Ohio, Michigan). Not exactly a roadmap to success.

 

3) Flip-Flops.  Conventional wisdom keeps predicting that the Republican base, weary of the drawn-out primary season, desperately wants to coronate Romney so the focus can be on Obama. Yet every time another primary rolls around, Convention Wisdom is turned upside down. Why can’t Mitt seal the deal?  Because to many, he simply isn’t trustworthy.

 

Sure, Romneycare makes him wildly unpopular to many Republicans (whose main objection to Obama is Obamacare). But much more unsettling are his flip-flops, too numerous to list in their entirety, but which include abortion, gay rights, guns, government mandates , indexing the minimum wage, the auto and TARP bailouts, and even whether he is a Ronald Reagan fan.

 

But Romney’s inconsistencies go beyond the policy arena and extend into his personal life, such as the issue of illegal immigrants working at his home.  When questioned about that situation, Mitt responded that he fired the landscaping company that employed the immigrants, not because illegals working in the U.S. is wrong, against the law and hurts American citizens, but because, “I’m running for office, for Pete’s sake….I can’t have illegals.” Political expediency at its worst.
 

*****

 

Mitt Romney embodies an articulate politician without a soul, one who will say whatever it takes to get elected.   So prevalent is his flip-flopping that he couldn’t even decide whether to campaign in Iowa.

 

He’s so out of touch that he doesn’t understand the peoples’ yearning for a leader who stands for something and sticks to his guns.  Instead, Romney’s “be all things to all people” approach has him foundering, and should make him easy pickings for Obama in November.  

 

There are those who will say the media is deciding this election, because columns like this are killing Romney’s chances to win before the general election campaign even begins.

 

While it will be a bitter pill to swallow, those on the Right would be wise to realize two things. The “Anyone But Obama” approach is a losing strategy, since negative premises always produce inferior candidates.  And Republicans looking to cast blame for Mitt Romney’s troubles should stop looking for a scapegoat and see the real reason he will flop: Mitt Romney himself.

 

 

 

An accredited member of the media, Chris Freind is an independent columnist, television/radio commentator, and investigative reporter who operates his own news bureau, www.FreindlyFireZone.com  His self-syndicated model has earned him the largest cumulative media voice in Pennsylvania. He can be reached at CF@FreindlyFireZone.com

 

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March 19, 2012 at 8:37 am Comment (1)

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