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,  His self-syndicated model has earned him the largest cumulative media voice in Pennsylvania. He can be reached at






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

Fattah: We’re Buying Your Votes

Well, not in so few words.

“Unemployment continues to drop and those people who are unemployed, they’re not going to be voting for the party who wants to cut their benefits — cut access to food stamps, cut job training,” Fattah, Senior Member of the House Appropriations Committee, told MSNBC’s Al Sharpton last night.

Fattah quickly reformulated his analysis of why the unemployed will back Democrats. “I think on this election day, those who have a job can credit the administration for stabilizing our economy and those who don’t know that this administration is trying to put them to work,” he said.

At least someone watches MSNBC out there.

April 26, 2012 at 9:08 pm Comments (0)

Blue Dog Dems Lose — The Party Opts for Left-Wing Extremists

From the Huffington Post:

The polarization of Pennsylvania politics continues as the Democratic Party purges itself of moderates.

Reps. Tim Holden (D-Pa.) and Jason Altmire (D-Pa.), both members of the dwindling conservative Democratic coalition, lost their primary races on Tuesday. Before the defeat of the two incumbents, there were just 25 Blue Dogs left in Congress, after the coalition’s members were wiped out in the 2010 election.

Holden lost to progressive candidate Matt Cartwright, an attorney who attacked the incumbent for voting against President Barack Obama’s health care reform. Holden is the second House member to lose to a newcomer in the 2012 primaries. The other lawmaker was Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-Ohio). Both were also targeted by the anti-incumbent super PAC, the Campaign for Primary Accountability.

Getting a progressive Democrat into Pennsylvania’s newly redrawn 17th Congressional District was a priority for progressive groups, including MoveOn and the League of Conservation Voters. The latter ran the largest independent expenditure campaign in the race, which included a $230,000 TV ad buy on broadcast and cable networks in the Scranton media market. The spot criticized Holden for opposing Obama’s clean energy plan.

The League of Conservation Voters “targeted Representative Tim Holden for defeat explicitly because he has opposed policies that will curb harmful global warming pollution and build a clean energy economy,” said Gene Karpinski, the group president. “Tim Holden is the first candidate this cycle to lose because he is out of the mainstream on global warming and clean energy, but he won’t be the last.”

As National Journal pointed out, Cartwright was able to level the playing field in terms of money, “loaning $380,000 to his campaign and banking dozens of high-dollar donations from fellow trial lawyers and family members.” Besides the League of Conservation Voters, the Campaign for Primary Accountability threw in more than $350,000 to oust Holden. The incumbent, meanwhile, received just $95,000 in outside help.

Altmire lost to Rep. Mark Critz (D-Pa.) in the state’s newly redrawn 12th Congressional District. Pennsylvania’s Republican-controlled legislature combined the seats of the two incumbents in redistricting, after the state lost a seat in the recent reapportionment.

Altmire was initially seen as the frontrunner in the race, but Critz received more than $83,000 in support from organized labor. Altmire also angered many progressives because he voted against Obama’s health care reform; Critz did not take office until after the Affordable Care Act passed.

Read the whole thing here. See also the WaPo story here.

Tim Holden was my congressman and, though I disagreed with him on many issues, I found him to be reasonable and have voted for him in the past. Only a rabid partisan could see his defeat by an ambulance chaser, heavily funded by national far-left wing activist groups, as a good thing. This marks a significant turning point in Pennsylvania Democrat politics. The party has turned its back on reason and moderation and is moving rapidly toward the extreme left.

This leftward lurch by Pennsylvania Democrats poses real dangers and will require a massive effort on the part of Republicans and moderates to counter. Cartwright’s opponent in the Fall will be Tea Party activist Laureen Cummings. She starts with a tremendous deficit. Not only is Cartwright well-known in the northeast due to his firm’s incessant advertising on local media, but Dems outnumber Republicans in the district by 24%. To win Cummings will have to have solid support from Republicans while at the same time reaching out to independents and Holden’s old moderate supporters. Can a Tea Party candidate attract moderate and Democratic votes? It will be interesting to find out. It seems to me that the only way she can do so is to emphasize Cartwright’s radical extremism, and that will require major media buys. She needs money, folks. Here‘s a link to her website. See if you can’t throw a few bucks her way.





April 26, 2012 at 12:51 pm Comments (2)

Smith! Raja! Rick!

Yesterday was a Day of Restoration of Karmic Balance. Lots of people who deserved to win won, and lots of people who deserved to lose lost.

After Governor Corbett’s arm-twisting to get the Republican State Committee to endorse Steve Welch for US Senate, Tom Smith beat the crap out of him. Even Sam Rohrer beat him which has got to make the Tea Party and other assorted conservative groups happy. The best part is that if Tom Smith has the money, which I think he does, he can make this a real race for Bob Casey. I am personally looking forward to Tom Smith, guy who employs coal miners, debating energy policy with Bob Casey, guy who uses coal miners for political props. I’d hold the debate on the eastern side of the state in Coaldale and hold the one out west in Coal Center. There are any number of formerly operating coal-fired power plants that might serve as suitable venues as well.

The most delightful race of the evening was D. Raja’s curb-stomping of Mark Mustio. More on that here. I spoke to someone from Raja’s campaign who wondered if Mustio had imploded too late to affect the outcome of the race. No. No he did not. As an aside, the person in this race who will not get the credit she deserves is Sue Means. Sue is a true principled conservative who ran a squeaky clean campaign, and it’s nice to see that the voters recognized that. Although Sue didn’t win the Senate seat, she did win her Delegate race handily–she had more than double the number of votes of the guy who came in second.

Rick Saccone won his primary against Shauna D’Alessandro by a 63-37 margin, once again proving that the Post-Gazette’s endorsement is the kiss of death for Republicans. Incidentally, only in the P-G’s world can someone recruited by the House Democrats, funded by Elsie Hillman, and who has a penchant for tax increases be described as “principled”.

Take a victory lap, guys. November’s just around the corner.

April 25, 2012 at 8:44 pm Comment (1)

Show ID: Just Like Apartheid


This morning’s Philly Inquirer has a “story” about the doom, gloom and punishment that voters went through to show their ID’s during yesterday’s election.

One woman, described as a feisty Democrat in her late 80s, declined to show anything to poll workers, saying that “she purposely didn’t bring it, as a matter of protest,” said an election judge at Cathedral Village, a retirement community in Roxborough’s 21st ward. “We explained that we’d have to follow the law in November. She’ll be willing, she absolutely understands.”

Several women who showed up to vote at Cathedral Village expressed concern about older relatives living with them. “One woman said her mother is 101 years old. She can’t get her birth certificate and her only ID is an expired driver’s license,” said Kathryn Bagley, a majority inspector.

… and on and on.

To provide balance, one pro-ID voter was included.

Salimah Gainey, 25, of West Philadelphia, said she knew nothing about the new state law but thought it was already necessary to have ID. She had her driver’s license in hand when she showed up to vote at Lea Elementary School.

“I think it may be a good idea to keep people’s identity,” Gainey said. “I wouldn’t want somebody saying they’re me and they’re not.”

My wife, an Inspector of Election in Montgomery County regaled me with complainers. Nearly all of them were Democrats. (Though a few Republicans grumbled as well)

But nothing like this.

Wendell P. Bright, a judge of elections in Southwest Philadelphia’s 51st ward, said one woman came to his polling place at the Mitchell School with a protest sign, equating the new law with South African apartheid.

“That was ridiculous,” he said, “but I think it underscores how people feel. We already have a low turnout in this division, and I’m confident that this new requirement will cut the people willing to vote in half. There’s not a doubt in my mind that it’s going to discourage voters.”

Honestly, I do not understand how people function in society without any ID.

How do you buy alcohol? How can you smoke? Voting isn’t a vice, so how did these people drive? How do you rent a movie or buy medicine?

The state will give you ID if you are too poor to actually have any. But if you show up at the poll in November without, the best you can do is vote via a provisional ballot.

April 25, 2012 at 11:29 am Comments (0)

Mitt! Smith! Kane!

PA Election Returns

No surprise in Romney’s victory here in Pa, as his nomination is now a mere formality. The Ron Paulbots could not beat Rick Santorum (18%) who ended his campaign for President a few weeks ago.

Armstrong County’s Tom Smith defeats Chester County’s Steve Welch and Berks’ Sam Rohrer for the GOP Nomination against Bob Casey. Oddly, Bob Casey’s opponent Joe Vodvarka eeked out 20% of the Democrat vote. Against a Casey? Higher than I would have bet on.

Finally, for Attorney General Democrat Kathleen Kane defeated former Congressman Patrick Murphy who will return to Bucks County attempting to find another job in government. The election was the closest statewide race of the night, 52 to 47. Kane will move on to David Freed, in her bid to be the first elected Democrat Attorney General.

In the Congressional for the 12th District, Congressman Mark Critz defeats Congressman Jason Altmire in a match up caused by redistricting.

Incumbent Democrat Congressman Tim Holden is defeated by lawyer Matt Cartwright for the Democrat nod in the 17th district.

April 25, 2012 at 12:17 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 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…)

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,  His self-syndicated model has earned him the largest cumulative media voice in Pennsylvania. He can be reached at


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

Mark Mustio slings too much slime even for the Post Gazette

It pains me to say nice things about the Post-Gazette, but I have to give credit where it’s due. In an unprecedented move, the Post-Gazette did something principled and rescinded their endorsement of Mark Mustio for the State Senate.

Mustio has gone pretty low in this campaign, but he has gotten more and more desperate as of late and has not-so-subtly played the race card.

Mr. Mustio went further when he superimposed an image of the flag of India behind a photo of Mr. Raja in earlier advertisements and fliers. Although born in India, Mr. Raja — like millions of immigrants before him — came to this country as a young man, made it his home by becoming a U.S. citizen and founded a successful business here. He also earned master’s degrees at the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University.

Mr. Mustio followed that up by crossing a line this week with an insidious mailing aimed at stirring up prejudices about Mr. Raja’s foreign birth. Even though Mr. Raja is known simply as Raja or D. Raja in his business dealings, personal life and politics, Mr. Mustio displayed prominently his opponent’s full given name –Dakshinamurthy — in a campaign flier.

We don’t buy Mr. Mustio’s explanation that he used the long name because it appears on lawsuits in which Mr. Raja was involved. The subtext is clear. In fact, Mr. Mustio makes it even clearer in his newest, so-called positive television ad in which the narrator intones, “Mark Mustio. He’s one of us, not a politician.”

I live in the 37th District, and I’ve been getting these mailers for weeks. I glance at them and largely ignore them, but Mustio sent out the first piece of mail that has ever made me angry.

Dakshinamurty? Seriously? Why didn’t Mustio just put DIRTY FOREIGNER with a big arrow pointing to Raja’s head all superimposed on the logo of a 7-11? That may actually have been more subtle.

With no Democrat in the race for the 37th, I can’t say I’m surprised at the P-G’s endorsement of Mark Mustio. He voted for the pay raise, he’s in bed with the unions, and opposes liquor store privatization. He’s as close as they’re going to get to a Democrat in this race which makes him the second perfect “Republican” that the Post-Gazette has endorsed this election cycle. I blogged about the other one here. It’s nice to know that there’s a line that even the Post-Gazette thinks shouldn’t be crossed.

April 22, 2012 at 11:09 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,  His self-syndicated model has earned him the largest cumulative media voice in Pennsylvania. He can be reached at




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

Get out of my party

I’m fairly “big tent”, but there comes a point…

From the front page of Sunday’s Patriot News — “Some in Pennsylvania GOP seem to back Sen. Bob Casey quietly“.


“We all know Casey,” said one party boss, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “He doesn’t make a lot of enemies.”

Oh geez…
“Another GOP power broker”:

“It’s going to be very difficult to beat Bob Casey,” the high-ranking Republican said. “You can call him ‘Sen. Nothing’ and ‘Sen. Zero,’ but he hasn’t alienated anybody.”


But one of the state GOP bosses comfortable with Casey said he was “just as conservative” as any prominent Pennsylvania elected official, leaving little motivation for a change.

“The only motivation that Republicans have [to defeat Casey] really is who controls the Senate,” the power broker said. “It’s not an anti-Casey thing. It’s a control thing.”


He voted for the Porkulus, Obamacare, and taxpayer bailouts of union pensions. He has an ACU score of 5.65, an NTU grade of “F”, a Club for Growth score of 2%, and a Heritage Action score of 4.

I find it rather implausible that a person could rack up such a dismally left-wing voting record without alienating anybody.  How is this even remotely “just as conservative” as any Republican?

Get out of my party now.  You are a disgrace.

April 15, 2012 at 2:41 pm Comments (0)

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