Governor Tom Corbett (R. PA) has a lousy record as Governor of Pennsylvania.  From voter ID laws to education cuts to mandatory ultrasounds to refusing Medicaid expansion to claiming that the unemployed are on drugs to corporate tax break give aways to privatizing the lottery and liquor stores, the list just goes on.  It's really not a mystery why his approval ratings are in lousy shape along with Pennsylvania's sluggish economy.  Now of course we've heard the same argument that Tom Ridge (R) and Ed Rendell (D) suffered poor approval numbers in the middle of their first terms.  We've also heard the argument that with Pennsylvania's long electoral history of re-electing Governors since the law was changed in 1968 to allow them to have two terms, history is on Corbett's side.  But that's not the case with Corbett because he is a big piece of the biggest scandal in Pennsylvania history and it's going to make him a one term Governor:


Fallout from the child sex-abuse case involving former PSU football assistant coach Jerry Sandusky helps keep the Republican governor's job-approval ratings low and could damage him in the 2014 reelection campaign, political analysts say. A new poll last week agreed.

Sure, it's not as visible an issue as the economy, or taxes, or privatization of the state liquor stores. But the Penn State rip current keeps exerting its force.

Many voters think that Corbett, when he was state attorney general, was slow to build the case against Sandusky. The current attorney general, Democrat Kathleen Kane, owes her job in part to her argument that Corbett played politics with the prosecution. She has launched an investigation of the investigation, with the potential for damaging findings any time. (Sandusky was convicted on 43 counts and is in prison.)

And then Corbett, an ex officio member of Penn State's board of trustees, was involved when the board fired iconic coach Joe Paterno. He endorsed the findings of the Freeh report that blamed lack of institutional oversight of the football program, and embraced the NCAA's brutal sanctions.

The governor eventually got religion on the sanctions, filing an antitrust suit against the NCAA; a federal judge dismissed it last week, ruling that there was no plausible evidence of anticompetitive behavior.

"The timing of all this is mind-boggling, and it's the story that won't end," said G. Terry Madonna, pollster and professor at Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster. "It's taking its toll on Corbett."

A significant number of voters, 47 percent, said in the latest Quinnipiac University poll on Thursday that the Penn State situation would be a "very" or "somewhat" important factor in their choice for governor next year. By a margin of 58 percent to 23 percent, voters thought that Corbett did not do enough to pursue Sandusky. - Philadelphia Inquirer, 6/11/13

This really is a huge issue that will end Corbett's political career.  Penn State football has forever been tarnished thanks to this scandal.  How Corbett handled the investigation so he could win over the Penn State Alumni Association's endorsement in 2010 just enrages so many Pennsylvanians.  Corbett may be your heavily funded Tea Party Governor who does the Koch Brothers bidding but unlike Scott Walker (R. WI) or John Kasich (R. OH), no amount of unlimited campaign funding can save Corbett.  He's officially the most corrupt Governor in Pennsylvania history.  Even if the economy picks up, all Democrats have to do is remind voters how Corbett handled the situation and let Sandusky on the loose and they will punish him at the polls.

Democrats like Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz (D. PA-13) want to make next year's election about the economy, which is understandable.  It will give Schwartz and Democrats the chance to make the argument that their policies are better for Pennsylvania workers and jobs.  But the Penn State scandal is the biggest weapon they have on Corbett and it would be foolish not to use it.  I have no doubt that how Corbett handled the Penn State sex scandal and Jerry Sandusky will be brought up a lot in next's year election but I'm interested in how and when Schwartz or whoever the Democratic nominee will use it to defeat Corbett.  We shall have to wait and see.  Also, Corbett's own party isn't making his life any less difficult.  Especially when it comes to his Corbett's agenda which includes transportation, liquor privatization, and pension reform:


It's not clear how closely Republican legislators tie their electoral fates to a governor who has been earnest in keeping his austere campaign pledges, but has too often stumbled in his messaging and political strategy.

Some argue that Republican lawmakers believe they rise or fall with their Republican governor.

“If they miss this opportunity to pass transportation, it looks like the Senate Republicans can't govern,” said one influential Capitol lobbyist who did not want to be identified.

Others say that Corbett is so politically weak that GOP lawmakers are already distancing themselves from him in anticipation of their own re-election efforts on the same 2014 ticket.

“They don't think in terms of whether it's good or bad for Tom Corbett,” said another Harrisburg GOP lobbyist who spoke on condition of anonymity. “They think in terms of whether it's good or bad for themselves.”

That legislative distancing could be quickened as Corbett's re-election prospects appear to worsen. - The Patriot-News, 6/11/13

We have a lot of vulnerable GOP Governors like Rick Scott (R. FL), Rick Snyder (R. MI), Nikki Haley (R. SC) and Rick Perry (R. TX) but Corbett by far is the most vulnerable Governor in the country.  His own party doesn't want to be associated with him and he's become and even more corrupt and polarizing figure than former Senator Rick Santorum (R. PA).  With a destructive Tea Party agenda and fumbling the biggest scandal in Pennsylvania history in an increasingly blue state, Tom Corbett truly is toast.  When your own party won't help you get your agenda passed because you're serious political baggage, you know it's over.

While the Pennsylvania GOP is abandoning Corbett, Schwartz is out building support with organized labor:


Over the weekend Service Employee’s International Union held their Leaders in Action conference with US Rep. Allyson Schwartz as the keynote speaker.

“We are looking forward to a great speech. Our members know her. Even as a State Senator from Philly she has stood up for working people,” said SEIU 668 Legislative Director Bill Bacon.

Opening to the Rocky anthem, Director of the SEIU State Council Mike Burnell introduced Schwartz with sincere enthusiasm.

Schwartz spoke for 20 minutes highlighting her rise to Congress starting with the opening of a woman’s health clinic, her support for labor and even her mother’s experience coming to America.

“She taught me…it is not better to raise children in fear and abandonment and violence, it doesn’t actually make you stronger,” Schwartz said. She also highlighted her claimed PA Senate achievement in the creation of CHIP.

There was of course the requisite Corbett-bashing by the gubernatorial candidate.

“In all my years I have not seen a Governor with more disdain for working people,” she blasted.

Her aim was clear.

“I need organized labor, and particularly I need SEIU,” Schwartz told the crowd. - Politics PA, 6/10/13

Pennsylvanians would be making history next year by making Schwartz the first female Governor of the Keystone State.  If you'd like to get involved with Schwartz's campaign, you can do so here:
Rep. Allyson Schwartz of Pennsylvania addresses the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., on Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2012. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Originally posted to pdc on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 12:12 PM PDT.

Also republished by Pittsburgh Area Kossacks, Philly Kos, DKos Pennsylvania, In Support of Labor and Unions, and The Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party.

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