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Thursday, August 24, 2006
Posted 11:25 PM by

Neither Rendell nor Swann deserves Pa. governorship

Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell doesn't deserve a second term and Republican challenger Lynn Swann has shown no signs of leadership.It isn't often I laugh out loud when the article I'm reading is supposed to be taken seriously. But the opening line in a story by Calkins Media's Harrisburg correspondent Alison Hawkes had me howling this morning.

"On the campaign trail this month, Gov. Ed Rendell quietly dropped a bombshell. He announced his support for legislative term limits, a change that if enacted would shake the Harrisburg political culture to its very core," Hawkes wrote.

Sure Ed wants term limits now. He can't run for governor anymore after this. The state Constitution forbids it.

It's just like how Rendell now supports tougher restrictions on campaign financing from gambling interests after accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars from them for his reelection campaign over the last four years.

Rendell's hypocrisy doesn't end there, either.

"Some of the legislators in Harrisburg are more concerned with their own power and perks than they are with doing the people's business," Rendell campaign spokesman Dan Fee told Hawkes.

However, that doesn't jive too well with what hizzoner told a group of Bucks County businessmen in April when he tried to explain why he approved last year's now-repealed legislative pay raise.

"If I didn't sign it, I might have been governor for the next five years but I would have gotten nothing done, literally, because I need the cooperation of the Legislature," Rendell said. "... So you have to kiss a little butt."

And if Rendell is so serious about reforming Pennsylvania politics, why did he tell the Philadelphia Inquirer this week he would consider a cabinet position in a Democratic White House - but only after his second term is finished if he is reelected in November.

"I really do like my job and I want to finish it out," Rendell said. "People don't believe this, but all the challenges, all of the fulfillment I need comes from this job, as it did when I was mayor."

Too bad he really has done almost nothing to warrant a second term in his statewide office.

Rendell's own Pennsylvania Transportation Funding and Reform Commission reported this week that the state's infrastructure is crumbling and needs at least another $2 billion a year to support mass transit agencies and rebuild crumbling highways and bridges.

And that's a basic constituent service. Rendell hasn't stopped PennDOT's practice of intentionally paying for shoddy construction work.

In fact, his only suggestion so far on how to deal with the mess is to privatize highways that our tax dollars have paid for and let the new owners charge motorists tolls to ride on them.

And he's the incumbent Democrat, not a Republican.

Meanwhile, Rendell's property tax reform plan was approved this year and will save the average homeowner just $200 annually. It changes nothing systemically in the way our schools tax and hikes tax rates on renters - all to justify the imposition of slot machine gambling across the state.

And if you think I'm being too hard on Rendell, remember, I'm a Democrat too.

If Republican challenger Lynn Swann weren't a political novice with no real ideas of his own, I might have been swayed to vote on the dark side this year.

But Swann lost any chance of getting my vote when he said that while he thinks legalizing slot machine gambling was poor public policy, he would never push for a repeal despite its corrupting influence.

A drive to overturn slots gambling would be "a waste of my time and energy. I'd like to win the election," Swann said.

So the only thing he's missing is a sense of leadership, which is kind of a prerequisite for the job of governor.


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