Gathering momentum like a speeding freight train, the grassroots movement for better government is heading straight for the 2010 elections.
Tea Party, 9-12, Patriot, and similar groups are altering the political landscape this year by actively supporting candidates at all levels who have a record of opposing intrusive government, higher taxes, and infringement of personal liberties. These groups will be a powerful force in deciding who will win elections this year.
The potential for political gain by tapping into the Patriot movement is not lost on gubernatorial candidate Tom Corbett. Mr. Corbett is well aware of the movement’s support for Sam Rohrer, his proven, conservative, Constitutional Republican opponent, and has been desperately crisscrossing the state searching for TEA Party meetings in an attempt to convince them that he, too, is a defender of their principles.
The only problem when he meets with these groups is that Mr. Corbett is able to parrot all of the correct conservative buzzwords but has no concept of their substance, even going so far as to blatantly and shamelessly steal Mr. Rohrer’s talking points (“Didn’t I hear that somewhere before?”, April 3).
So, let’s see if Mr. Corbett’s actions support his conservative rhetoric.
- On January 9 it was reported that “Corbett revealed that he would not rule out a tax increase if elected governor”. At a town hall meeting in Kempton on January 12 Mr. Rohrer confirmed his eighteen year record of never voting for a tax increase by publicly signing a no tax increase pledge. Shortly thereafter, Mr. Corbett did an abrupt about-face and signed a similar pledge. Oops – you were caught flip-flopping on that one, Mr. Corbett. Which is it, tax increase or no tax increase?
- In a report about a mid-March interview on MSNBC with Governor Ed Rendell, Mr. Rendell confirmed Mr. Corbett’s center-right credentials when he said that Mr. Corbett “has been a moderate before” and that he was “trying too hard to pick up more conservative voters”. Nice statement, Mr. Rendell. Even though I’ve never agreed with anything you’ve said you apparently hit the nail on the head with this.
- On March 10 the conservative watchdog Commonwealth Foundation graded Mr. Corbett’s economic plan as “FAIL”, noting that “Corbett offers nothing more than the same failed mistakes of the past” and said that Mr. Corbett’s Governor’s Action Team expansion is the same as one of Ed Rendell’s “favorite tools to pick favored companies for corporate welfare”.
- On March 31 the Commonwealth Foundation unveiled its Pennsylvania Gubernatorial Candidate Survey. Many of Mr. Corbett’s answers were anything but conservative. Here are his responses to a few of the questions that are likely most important to true conservatives:
Voter referendum for tax increases: Undecided.
Right-to-work, no compulsory union membership: Undecided.
Repeal prevailing wage laws that can add as much as 30% to the cost of public construction projects: Undecided.
Enact citizen initiative, referendum, and recall: Undecided.
401(k)-style defined contribution pension plans for government employees: Undecided.
Mr. Rohrer, by the way, agreed with all of these principles. The full details of the survey are available here.
For a number of the questions Mr. Corbett attempted to shift the blame for his responses to the legislature, effectively saying that he can do nothing until they act. Where are your conservative principles, Mr. Corbett? Where’s the leadership?
In a future post I’ll detail how some of these answers may have been influenced by quid pro quo for campaign donations by certain organizations.
The bottom line is this: despite Mr. Corbett’s attempts to appear conservative in an effort to attract the vote of Patriot groups, his words do not in any way match his actions or policies. His deceitful pronouncements are merely a pandering burlesque of authentic conservatism.
Your strategy will not work, Mr. Corbett. You can talk the talk but you’ll never learn how to walk the walk. The good people you’re trying to deceive know the difference.