“Representative Sam Rohrer voted for the pay raise.” There you go, Tom Corbett. I’ve saved you the energy of having to say it again.
And just as a guide toward the things you’ve purposely left unsaid, here are a few prompts in the unlikely event that you somehow decide to tell the whole truth about your gubernatorial opponent:
Mr. Rohrer’s vote for the pay raise was not illegal or unconstitutional.
Mr. Rohrer unwillingly voted for the pay raise under threat by the House Republican leadership that they would force his signature property tax elimination bill to die in committee if he didn’t do so.
Mr. Rohrer did not accept the pay raise as an unvouchered expense, unlike a great number of his legislative colleagues.
Mr. Rohrer fought against the leaders of his own party in helping to lead the charge to repeal the pay raise.
Mr. Rohrer has publicly and candidly admitted his mistake on numerous occasions and has apologized for it.
I find it most amusing, Mr. Corbett, that you’ve managed to conceal so many important details.
Oh, and there’s one more thing you forgot to mention, Mr. Corbett: That YOU happily accepted that same pay raise without any objection whatsoever. Hmm. That must have somehow conveniently slipped your mind along with the other facts. Could it be said that this is the other “big elephant in the room”? But wait – I’m getting ahead of myself here.
On March 31 the Committee of Seventy, Common Cause and The PA League of Women Voters hosted a gubernatorial candidates’ forum on ethics in government at Harrisburg Area Community College. All six candidates for Governor – Republicans and Democrats – participated.
The discourse was civil and professional, with all candidates responding to questions from their policy perspectives. With a large group of candidates such as this you might expect some rancor and sniping, but such was not the case. Without exception, all of the candidates were courteous and respectful of one another except for one – Tom Corbett, who took the opportunity to level a sleazy cheap shot at Representative Rohrer.
On the previous night Mr. Rohrer and Mr. Corbett were the sole gubernatorial candidates who participated in a forum sponsored by the Lehighton 9-12 Project.
The last question of the evening was posed by a member of the audience who asked if the pay raise vote was illegal or immoral. Mr. Corbett was given the opportunity to respond first to this question.
Instead of immediately responding, Mr. Corbett sat silently for a full ten seconds with a smug, supercilious smirk on his face, using to full advantage the pregnant pause he created. When he finally deigned to respond, Mr. Corbett’s first words were “That’s the big elephant in the room”, a thinly veiled reference to Mr. Rohrer’s vote.
In interviews and public appearances throughout the state, Mr. Corbett, you have repeatedly brought up the pay raise vote in your attacks on Mr. Rohrer. You are attempting to tarnish a good and decent man’s reputation and to define his unblemished eighteen year tenure in the House of Representatives through a single unwise vote. Your arrogant, mean-spirited attitude speaks volumes about your true lack of character, integrity, and dignity.
Mr. Corbett, you obviously are unwilling or incapable of an honest, civil debate of the issues and, because of your ill-defined platform, instead apparently feel that you must resort to scurrilous, slimy attacks on Mr. Rohrer in an attempt to win this election. You clearly do not understand that the voters are fed up with dirty politics and vicious personal attacks on opponents and you are doing much harm to your campaign by employing a scummy tactic such as this.
On the other hand, who can blame you? Your platform changes with the mood and demographics of your audience and any honest debate of the issues against Mr. Rohrer’s clear and unwavering message is all but futile. Unfortunately, the blunt club of personal attack is your only available weapon in this obvious mismatch of policy and personal integrity.
That tactic, Mr. Corbett, is the REALLY big elephant in the room.