Just another prime example of why Corbett is the worst governor ever:Pennsylvania Republicans have officially decided against expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, arguing that covering more low-income residents would cost the state too much money. Last week, Gov. Tom Corbett (R-PA) took the debate a step further, saying that residents who are already enrolled in the program — including pregnant women and breast cancer patients — are receiving too much free care and should pay into the system.
“What I hear all the time coming out of the administration in Washington is that it’s the working poor [who benefit from Medicaid],” Corbett told WTAE, a Pennsylvania local ABC affiliate, on Saturday. “Yes it is working, but you should be investing five, ten dollars in co-pay to understand that you go to to the hospital or the doctors, you just can’t keep going and going and going and think everything is going to be covered. You have to know that you have some interest in what’s going on.”
The state’s Department of Public Welfare website addresses copayment information, saying that while children, pregnant women, and breast cancer patients don’t pay the fees, many beneficiaries do contribute for the services they receive. Corbett seems to be suggesting that the exempt enrollees are abusing the free services and that everyone should pay more for health care. - The Jane Dough, 7/10/13
It's actions like these that make Corbett so polarizing that he can't get his agenda passed:In 2011, Corbett signed a bill that targeted abortion providers by forcing most of the freestanding abortion clinics to close. This June, he signed a bill that prohibits private health insurance companies that sell coverage through the Pennsylvania state health insurance system from covering abortions, even if there is a medical emergency, the mother is endangered, or there is a severe fetal anomaly.
Now, Corbett has blocked federal money to help expand Medicaid in his state. Over 700,000 Pennsylvanians will be left without state health insurance.
"It leaves a lot of Pennsylvanians in the dust in terms of their access to health care and that’s just unconscionable," said Pennsylvania Representative Erin Molchany of Mt. Washington.
The Rand Corporation reported that Corbett's decision will cost Pennsylvania over $3 billion in federal aid, which could have brought 35,000 new jobs to the state. Also, hospitals will lose $550 million annually in emergency room costs that would have been covered by the expanded Medicaid program. - Policy Mic, 7/10/13
And of course there's this:1. Liquor privatization: Despite the vast majority of Pennsylvanians favoring the state getting out of the liquor business — with the reasonable expectation that consumer choice would rise and prices would fall — nothing happened. Given the Republicans’ total control, this abysmal failure must be laid at the feet of Corbett. Saying “I want privatization” but not lifting a finger to get it is pathetic. There was no barnstorming the state, no use of the bully pulpit, no playing hardball with recalcitrant Republicans. In fact, he all but ignored the legislature until the 11th hour, and even then screwed the pooch. But what else is new?
2. Pension reform: The problem of massively ballooning pension payments over the next several years is so monumental that it threatens the very stability of the state. Given that Corbett has demonstrated an inability to handle even the most basic matters, the assumption that he could tackle such a pressing problem was a fairy tale. But he and the legislature punted on even the most fundamental reform: requiring all future state employees be given a 401k plan rather than a pension. A no-brainer, to be sure, and one that no reasonable person could oppose, since public employees should never have a hands-down advantage over those in the private sector. But nothing was done.
3. Transportation: This is yet another issue that, while long overdue, thankfully didn’t happen. Incomprehensibly, the Senate passed a bill that would have placed a 37-cent-per-gallon gas tax on Pennsylvanians to fix roads and bridges. Thankfully the House nixed that, but here’s the kicker: Corbett wanted upward of a 75-cent-per-gallon tax, which would have made Pennsylvania’s gas tax the highest in the nation.
4. Second-highest corporate tax: One way not to attract business is by maintaining the second-highest corporate net income tax in the country. Lowering it is an issue both business and labor could and should agree upon, and it should have been done on Day One. Creating jobs floats all boats, union and otherwise. But nothing was done.
5. Philadelphia’s schools. The way not to bail out the black hole called Philly schools is by throwing more taxpayer money at the problem and holding onto jobs that need to be eliminated. Shedding 3,800 school district positions isn’t a travesty — it’s a good start. Cutting art and music isn’t the answer, however — increasing revenue is. But rather than force Mayor Nutter and Philadelphia to live within its means, however, like families and businesses do, Corbett and the legislature just perpetuated a failed system.
The chance to fix education through school choice, competition and other reforms came and went. So things will only get worse, if that’s even possible. However, if city revenue were increased by attracting business and residents, then at least the rest of the state wouldn’t yet again be funding Philadelphia’s bad habits. But it’s a case of chicken and the egg. How do you entice companies when you are the cumulatively highest-taxed city in the nation with skyrocketing levels of crime, homeless and poverty? - The Philly Post, 7/9/13
Corbett's made himself the number one Republican Governor most likely to lose re-election:Corbett has also been hurt by the sexual abuse case that brought down legendary football coach Joe Paterno. Some charged that Corbett delayed bringing charges against Jerry Sandusky’s actions at Penn State to avoid offending his Penn State alumni donor base–a large constituency in Pennsylvania. Attorney General Kathleen Kane pledged during her campaign in 2012 to investigate why it took the attorney general’s office (lead by Corbett) three years to files charges. “The story is so awful that we suspect it will remain on many Pennsylvanians’ minds for years,” Sabato said. “Bad feelings about Penn State in fall 2014 may invariably translate to bad feelings about the incumbent governor,” he said. - MSNBC, 7/8/13
Now of course pundits argue that Corbett may have a few things going for him:Democrats are headed for a competitive primary between suburban Philadelphia Rep. Allyson Y. Schwartz, state Treasurer Rob McCord, wealthy businessman Tom Wolf, and others, but they should have a credible nominee.
A May 30-June 4 Quinnipiac University poll showed Corbett losing to Schwartz and McCord by 8 points to 10 points. Corbett’s job rating was 35 percent approve and 48 percent disapprove.
We’re moving the race from Pure Tossup to Tossup/Tilt Democrat in the Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call ratings. - Roll Call, 7/10/13
But Pennsylvania voters have been on a role making history in the state's political structure. Last year, the voters helped Kathleen Kane (D. PA) become the first Democrat and female to win the Attorney General's position. And it looks like Kane is helping make history happen again:Corbett does have some advantages going into his re-election. In 2010, he was able to raise nearly $30 million and is expected to raise as much, if not more in 2014. Midterm elections tend not to replicate the higher voter turnout of presidential election years. In 2010, nearly two million less voters showed up to vote than in 2008 when Barack Obama was at the top of the ticket. Corbett will not have to share a ballot with President Obama or even the popular Bob Casey. He’ll face one of the six relatively unknown Democrats vying for the nomination in what could be a costly and bruising primary. Finally, Corbett will have history on his side, as no incumbent in the state’s history has ever been defeated for re-election. - MSNBC, 7/8/13
The strong contempt from Corbett's staff towards Kane is amusing because it puts Corbett in a tough spot:State Attorney General Kathleen Kane, a Democrat, said Thursday that she wouldn’t defend the ban in court — raising the issue on a state level for the first time since the Supreme Court ruled against the federal Defense of Marriage Act.
The American Civil Liberties Union filed the first known legal challenge to Pennsylvania’s Defense of Marriage Act in Harrisburg earlier this week, naming Corbett, Kane and three other state officials as defendants. The suit argues that Pennsylvania’s law violates a fundamental right to marry and also goes against the Constitution’s equal protection clause.
Since Kane has declined to defend the law, the responsibility falls to Corbett to decide what to do. Pennsylvania General Counsel James D. Schultz said in a statement Thursday afternoon that Corbett’s office “will continue to review the lawsuit” — and took a swipe at Kane.
“We are surprised that the Attorney General, contrary to her constitutional duty under the Commonwealth Attorneys Act, has decided not to defend a Pennsylvania statute lawfully enacted by the General Assembly, merely because of her personal beliefs,” Schultz said. - Politico, 7/11/13
Corbett has pissed off the right-wing base a decent amount of times from the gas drilling tax proposal to endorsing moderate Republican Steve Welch over Tea Party Tom Smith in the 2012 Pennsylvania Republican U.S. Senate primary. He has to get in good with the base but he also risks making himself look even more out of touch with the voters. It's already bad enough for him that he looks like an incompetent Governor that can't get anything done:It's a quandary of risk versus reward. Corbett could decide to defend the gay marriage ban - his general counsel, James Schultz, could do the honors - because his conservative base will virtually demand it. If Corbett were to bail on the ban, the base would bail on him. His '14 bid for a second term would be doomed.
On the other hand, how can an unpopular conservative male possibly expect to win over the swing voters in the populous suburban Philadelphia suburbs if he's in court defending bigotry? A Democratic opponent like Allyson Schwartz would hang that one around his neck.
The shrewdness of Kane's chessboard move is best measured by Team Corbett's pained wailing. Schultz, the general counsel, said that he and others in the governor's office were "surprised that the Attorney General, contrary to her constitutional duty under the Commonwealth Attorneys Act, has decided not to defend a Pennsylvania statute lawfully enacted by the General Assembly, merely because of her personal beliefs."
That's just rhetorical eyewash from people who were outmaneuvered. Under state law, the Attorney General, as head of "an independent department," can refuse to enforce a law that he or she deems to be "not statutorily authorized or unconstitutional." And Kane's refusal is not exactly unprecedented; her counterparts in Illinois and California have refused to defend their states' gay marriage bans, and the Obama adminstration's legal team refused to defend the now-defunct Defense of Marriage Act. - Newsworks, 7/12/13
This time around, history is not on Corbett's side. His approval numbers during his first term are lower than Tom Ridge (R) and Ed Rendell's (D) approvals where at this point of their terms. Plus Corbett, who had a reputation as an effective crime-fighting Attorney General fumbled the biggest scandal in Pennsylvania history for political gain. There's no coming back from that. Even Republican polling has Corbett in danger of becoming a first term Governor:Tom Ridge, a popular and effective governor, enjoyed Republican control of the legislature during his entire eight-year tenure. Yet he still failed to pass several of his priorities, including school choice and liquor privatization.
Ridge, however, never made school choice or liquor privatization must-wins for his administration.
Corbett, by contrast, did make passage of his priorities the central policy focus of his first term.
Consequently, the failure to pass these items cannot be interpreted other than a failure for Corbett.
To be sure, it was that. But much more important and much less understood, it was also a defining moment for the state legislature.
The making of the legislative sausage is the quintessential “black box” in state politics.
Few get to see how it gets made; fewer perhaps care.
But understanding what happened and didn’t during those crucial end-of-June days probably matters more to state politics than the ultimate fate of Tom Corbett. - Centre Daily, 7/11/13
Pennsylvania is on track for making history again next by making Corbett the first term Governor since 1968 when the law was changed and Governors could run for a second term. And even though the Democrats have a crowded primary, I am still a firm believer that they are going to make history too by making Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz (D. PA-13) the first female Governor of Pennsylvania. By the way, Schwartz recently had this to say about President Obama's possible decision for a complete troop withdrawal from Afghanistan:There's some serious bad news for Gov. Tom Corbett in a new Harper poll out today: Barely a quarter of state voters (24 percent) say the Republican governor deserves a second term, compared to 56 percent who say it's time to change horses.
And two key demographic groups, independents (40 percent) and somewhat conservative voters (45 percent) also say they'd like to see a change at the Governor's Mansion. The poll of 844 people has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.44 percentage points.
Respondents narrowly favor a generic Democrat (41 percent) over a generic Republican (40 percent) in the poll, so it's probably too soon for the pack of Democratic wannabes to start breaking out the party favors. Pennsylvanians have also been historically disinclined to change governors after one term. But the poll does indicate what most already know -- Corbett has some heavy-duty political problems as he heads into 2014. - The Patriot-News, 7/8/13
Schwartz's gubernatorial bid has also been getting praise in the local press:Schwartz said the president was responding appropriately to the situation.
“President Obama is right to consider every option for withdrawing our troops from Afghanistan in the quickest, safest and most responsible way possible,” she said through a spokesman. - The Patriot-News, 7/9/13
Schwartz has been endorsed by Rendell and Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter. By the way, you can sign up for a chance to meet Schwartz in person next month:Allyson Schwartz, running for governor in 2014, represented my Philadelphia suburban family for 20 years — first in Harrisburg as state senator, then (and currently) in Washington, D.C. as U.S. representative. We always knew where she stood on political issues. When she served in Harrisburg, her proudest moments were leading the way on the Children's Health Insurance Program, which enabled many families to purchase health coverage for their kids. Her work provided the model for the federal CHIP program.
There is much to be done at a time when more women than men vote, when the main issues for the next election — jobs, health care and education — need creative solutions. She has a proven track record of transcending partisan politics. - Pocono Record, 7/12/13
You can click here to sign up to host a house party to meet Schwartz here:On the afternoon of Sunday August 4, I am going to pay a visit to the homes of my supporters all over the state - and one of those homes could be yours! But here’s the thing - I need to know if you are willing to host a house party for our campaign.
Can you click here and let us know that you want to be a host?
I of course can only speak from one location, but we'll be streaming my speech live to house parties all over the state. At these parties you’ll not only be able to chat with me and ask questions, you’ll also have a chance to meet and talk with your fellow grassroots supporters from all across Pennsylvania. Whether it's Cambria County, Luzerne County, or Columbia County, I'll be dropping in homes all over the state. Supporters have already signed up- make sure you're a part of this.
Click here to learn more and sign up to host a party.
It’s quick, easy, and we will tell you all the steps that you need to take to make your party is a success. The house parties will be a great way to be involved, informed, and engaged early in the campaign.
Looking forward to meeting you!
And you can get more involved with Schwartz's campaign here: