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Governor Tom Corbett (R. PA) has a great excuse for why unemployment is high in Pennsylvania:

The state’s unemployment rate has dropped to 7.9 percent, but the “number of people working in Pennsylvania tumbled by about 14,000 in March, following a drop of 6,000 in February.” Private employment has remained flat for 13 months, “growing by a mere 1,000 jobs” and landing the state “49th in the nation for job creation during March.”

During an appearance on a local radio show this week, Corbett sought to explain away Pennsylvania’s less than stellar performance, arguing that the state gained 111,000 private sector jobs since he took office and is “doing better than other states.” But then he grew defensive and complained that “a lot” of businesses are still having trouble filling their ranks because too many Pennsylvanians use illegal drugs:

CORBETT: The other area is, there are many employers that say we’re looking for people but we can’t find anybody that has passed a drug test, a lot of them. And that’s a concern for me because we’re having a serious problem with that. - Think Progress, 4/30/13

This isn't that surprising since Corbett attacked the unemployed with insensitive remarks when he was running for governor back in 2010:

Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Corbett on Friday accused some jobless Pennsylvanians of choosing to collect unemployment checks rather than going back to work, prompting swift criticism from his Democratic opponent and one of the state's top labor leaders.

"The jobs are there. But if we keep extending unemployment, people are just going to sit there," Corbett told Harrisburg radio station WITF at a campaign stop in Elizabethtown. "I've literally had construction companies tell me, 'I can't get people to come back to work until . . . they say, "I'll come back to work when unemployment runs out." ' "

Democratic candidate Dan Onorato charged Corbett with being out of touch at a time when Pennsylvania's unemployment rate is at 9.1 percent, a 26-year high.

"I don't know what world Tom Corbett is living in," Onorato said in a statement. "Our economy is struggling, families in Pennsylvania are hurting, and Harrisburg insiders like Tom Corbett aren't doing anything to help them."

AFL-CIO president Richard Bloomingdale told the Associated Press that he was astonished by Corbett's remarks.

"Unemployed workers would rather be working, feeding their families, and paying the mortgage than living with the uncertainty of not having a job, earning less than half their wages, and going without health care and pensions," Bloomingdale said.

He said more than 25,000 people are jobless in Lancaster County, in which Elizabethtown is located. - Philadelphia Inquirer, 7/10/10

With remarks like that, and a long list of other reasons, probably explain why Corbett's approvals are in the tank:

But Corbett isn't concerned about the unemployed.  He's more concered about a political win:

More than a month after a bill to privatize liquor sales passed the House, the state Senate begins consideration of the measure with a hearing this morning.

The man on the hot seat today is Bucks County Republican Senator Chuck McIlhinney, chairman of the Senate committee that will vet the House Liquor bill. McIlhinney has already been targeted with TV ads by a conservative group that wants him to take a hard line on privatization.

But, McIlhinney is vowing to hear out all proposals and says he will not be pressured into rubber stamping the House bill.

Winning a majority in the 50 member Senate will likely be tougher than it was in the House, in part because Democrats who favor the state store system hold only a few fewer seats than Republicans in the Senate. - CBS Philly, 4/30/13

Corbett is hoping to make liquor privatization his saving grace fro re-election:

It’s his most popular issue with a majority of the state. Polls have consistently shown a large majority of Pennsylvanians want the government out of the state liquor business, which it has controlled since Prohibition ended. The most recent poll on the matter, conducted for the anti-union Commonwealth Foundation, found about 60 percent of Pennsylvanians support getting out of the business—and those numbers have been pretty steady for the last few years.

“In Pennsylvania, our hands are tied,” Corbett noted. “Whether it’s a party or an event or just a dinner with your family and friends, neighbors: If you want to have beer, wine, liquor, you’ve got to make three separate stops.” He then told the audience that Pennsylvania’s system should be more like that of Sao Paulo, Brazil, which is where he was visiting on a trade mission to bring 74 jobs to Chambersburg, Pennsylvania.

“Selling liquor,” he continued, “is not a core function of government.”

The plan Corbett laid out in his budget earlier this year would send one-time cash made from selling the state liquor stores to the state’s education system. He estimated it’d total $1 billion. The House passed a privatization bill earlier this month and the Senate is set to take it up before the final budget is voted upon.

But a Quinnipiac poll released today shows only 38 percent of Pennsylvanians approve of the job the governor is doing as the executive of the state government, with 47 percent disapproving. If the election were held today, Corbett would lose to every potential candidate, with the worst defeats being against either former U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak or U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz.

Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University polling institute called the poll a “triple dose of bad news” for the governor. “Three Democratic challengers would beat him handily if the election for governor were held today,” he said, of Sestak, Schwartz and State Treasurer Rob McCord.

There’s no evidence to say this is the winning issue the governor needs, but, well, stranger things have happened. - Philadelphia Weekly, 4/29/13

Corbett's desperate for a political victory because he just can't catch a break:

A judge has postponed a hearing on the NCAA's request to dismiss Gov. Tom Corbett's antitrust lawsuit over sanctions college sports' governing body imposed on Penn State over the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse scandal.

Oral arguments had been scheduled for Wednesday. But the Centre Daily Times reports U.S. District Judge Yvette Kane has postponed them until May 20, citing plans to attend the funeral for Chief U.S. District Judge Gary Lancaster.

Corbett sued the NCAA in January, arguing the sanctions violated federal antitrust laws. His lawsuit accuses the NCAA of exploiting the Sandusky case to increase the power of the organization's president and help some universities gain a competitive advantage. - The Express Times, 4/30/13

Pennsylvania Democrats have an amazing opportunity to unseat this clown next year.  Lets just hope the primary doesn't get too crowded, expensive and nasty because Democrats will need a strong candidate to unite over and make this race a referendum on Corbett's awful record as Governor.

By the way, Corbett may want to think twice about making abortion a big issue in his re-election campaign:

Corbett, whose poll numbers are shaky for an incumbent, has a major problem with women voters by most measures. Monday's Quinnipiac University poll found women opposed to his reelection by a 2-1 margin - 54 percent to 27 percent. (He's considerably stronger among men, but still in negative territory.)

Democratic opponents are bound to try to widen the gender gap in the coming campaign - a tactic that worked wonders in the 2012 presidential race - perhaps by reminding voters of Corbett's "close your eyes" comment. He was referring to a bill requiring women to get an ultrasound in the 24 hours before an abortion.

Now, in context, Corbett was saying he didn't think anyone could be forced to look at a fetal image, and that in any case he opposed the type of ultrasound that involves an internal probe. Plus, the bill didn't pass.

But don't look for those distinctions to be honored in the heat of a campaign.

UNITED STATES - NOVEMBER 15:  Rep. Allyson Schwartz, D-Pa., speaks at a news conference with members of the New Democratic Coalition in the Capitol Visitor Center on how to deal with the upcoming
Another possible inflection point for the abortion issue: U.S. Rep. Allyson Y. Schwartz, considered the front-runner for the Democratic nomination, was executive director three decades ago of a women's health center that provided abortions and other services.

To be sure, it was a reputable clinic, and all the major Democratic candidates have the same position on abortion as Schwartz, i.e. supporting a woman's right to choose.

Yet, most analysts looking to 2014 figure somebody will make an issue of that early entry on Schwartz's resumé. "It would be the biggest grassroots motivator in a generation," said GOP consultant Jeff Coleman, who is wired into the social-issues conservative movement.

In other words, economy or no economy, look for both sides to use abortion to rally the base.

"Could social issues become a real vote-decider next year?" said veteran pollster G. Terry Madonna of Franklin and Marshall College. "It's a possibility." - Philadelphia Inquirer, 4/30/13

By the way, gubernatorial candidate Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz (D. PA-13) made a big endorsement yesterday:

With three weeks until Primary Day, federal and county officials are throwing their support behind Democrat Jeanne Sorg, candidate for Mayor in Ambler.

Sorg picked up a key backer this week by receiving U.S. Congresswoman Allyson Y. Schwartz’s endorsement.

“Jeanne has shown her dedication and commitment to our community time and again," Scwartz said. "Her knowledge and experience in Ambler matter. I am proud to support Jeanne Sorg, our candidate for Mayor of Ambler!"

After receiving Schwartz’s endorsement, Sorg said she was “truly thankful and humbled by the support [she is] receiving from the very public servants Ambler will need to partner with to move borough forward.”

Sorg previously received endorsements from Montgomery County Commissioners Chairman Josh Shapiro and Vice-Chair Leslie Richards. - Ambler Patch, 4/29/13

Originally posted to pdc on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 11:59 AM PDT.

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

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Comment Preferences

  •  yea I'm on drugs.... (11+ / 0-)

    ...prescription drugs I can't afford without help from relatives.

    Fuck him.

    We Glory in war, in the shedding of human blood. What fools we are.

    by delver rootnose on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 12:07:44 PM PDT

    •  Me too. (0+ / 0-)

      When you come to find how essential the comfort of a well-kept home is to the bodily strength and good conditions, to a sound mind and spirit, and useful days, you will reverence the good housekeeper as I do above artist or poet, beauty or genius.

      by Alexandra Lynch on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 05:26:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Yes another thrilling adventure of TOM CORBETT (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GainesT1958, stlsophos


    I want 1 less Tiny Coffin, Why Don't You? Support The President's Gun Violence Plan.

    by JML9999 on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 12:27:02 PM PDT

  •  Yes, since my former employer (6+ / 0-)

    sold out to the highest bidder and dumped my ass without a second thought after eleven years of hard work the logical conclusion is that I'm on drugs. Makes perfect sense.

    Fuck him.

  •  To be fair PA liquor stores do suck, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    marina, Alexandra Lynch

    but they also employ a lot of people who have a tendency to actually vote. That's why this stupid systems has survived all these years.

    •  We don't have to sell it off (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      We could simply expand sales to some private venues instead of dismantling the whole system. I like my wine as well as the next person, and it's annoying that I have to drive 30 miles to purchase a bottle of Chardonnay, but I don't want the state system sold off--just add to it.

      The people who work in the liquor stores are unionized and solid citizens supporting families.

      We do not need to lay off any more state employees who make a steady contribution to the economy for a one-time deal on education that is just a cover for what Corbett's already stolen from school funds.

      •  I agree the State Store system should be kept. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Perhaps some minor tweeking, but not the seedy stores (with probably awful and non-union wages) that you see in NJ, Delaware. and Maryland. They're much worse then the Pa. stores.

        "They will not collect a ransom in exchange for not crashing the American economy. The full faith and credit of the United States of America is not a bargaining chip."

        by TofG on Wed May 01, 2013 at 06:56:35 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  You can't make this stuff up! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    With Corporate Tommie, it is a laugh line every week here in PA.  The guy is dummer than dog dirt, but still manages to do his masters' bidding at every turn.  I'll miss the comedy when he is gone after 1 term, but I won't miss him.

  •  Corbett's an ass, (0+ / 0-)

    but he's got one thing right: liquor sales are not part of a government's necessary functions, and are one of the areas better left to a (regulated) private sector.

    I'd want to break up the state liquor company, but I'd sell off the individual stores to local owners and institute tough laws restricting the number and business practices of retail giants in the liquor industry.

    "Violence never requires translation, but it often causes deafness." - Bareesh the Hutt.

    by Australian2 on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 01:57:16 PM PDT

  •  It's true! (0+ / 0-)

    Tons of PA representatives and senators are on drugs!

    I mean, they can't write (or speak) coherently...their ideological ideas are nonsense...

    Geez, every pothead I've ever known made more sense than any politician from PA.

    Maybe they should enroll in treatment programs?

    Irony takes a worse beating from Republicans than Wile E. Coyote does from Acme. --Tara the Antisocial Social Worker

    by Youffraita on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 03:57:18 PM PDT

  •  I don't buy Corbett's agrument at all (0+ / 0-)

    We live in a drug saturated society. If a company is having a problem finding qualified employees I would think they are not offering good enough compensation packages to attract those employees. If they are indeed rejecting a qualified employee because a drug test indicated that the employee had been exposed to cannabinoids within the last five weeks then maybe they should reevaluate their drug testing policies.

    Really don't mind if you sit this one out. My words but a whisper -- your deafness a SHOUT. I may make you feel but I can't make you think..Jethro Tull

    by RMForbes on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 04:35:48 PM PDT

  •  There are many more things wrong about Corbett (0+ / 0-)

    These stupid comments are getting national attention, but he is responsible for many more horrible policies that deserve attention.

    JPZenger was a newspaper publisher whose jury trial in the 1730s for seditious libel helped establish the freedom to criticize top government officials.

    by JPZenger on Wed May 01, 2013 at 11:42:06 AM PDT

  •  This is not photoshop - it is a real Americana (0+ / 0-)

    JPZenger was a newspaper publisher whose jury trial in the 1730s for seditious libel helped establish the freedom to criticize top government officials.

    by JPZenger on Wed May 01, 2013 at 11:43:58 AM PDT

  •  2014 PA Gov Polling (0+ / 0-)

    Though he has shown no interest in doing so, former PA governor Ed Rendell, having now spent one term out of office, is again constitutionally permitted to run for the governor. It would be fun if PPP could drop Rendell into its next PA Gov poll...

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