Skip to content
Link copied to clipboard

Some stuff Pa. pols should be grateful for this Thanksgiving | John Baer

Politics can be a thankless gig but there's plenty that Pennsylvania pols can be thankful for this year. Including President Trump.

No shortage of turkeys in Pa. politics. (Dreamstime)
No shortage of turkeys in Pa. politics. (Dreamstime)

Ah, Thanksgiving, a day to reflect upon blessings. A day to, well, give thanks.

In honor of the annual holiday, I surveyed a bunch of Pa. political consultants for thoughts on what our state politicians, collectively or individually, should be most grateful for.

My favorite response? A prominent GOP strategist said our pols should give thanks for "overcrowded prisons."

This is clearly a person who knows Pennsylvania well.

Other blessings our pols should acknowledge? Voters have short memories. And, for legislators, the annual June 30 budget deadline is seven months away.

Speaking of legislators, a Democratic consultant from western Pa. suggests lawmakers give thanks for all those lobbyists providing meals, sports tickets and campaign funds.

And, of course, they should thank taxpayers for their annual automatic pay raises, soon to take effect.

But what about individuals?

A central Pa. GOP consultant says Gov. Wolf and all incumbent Democratic governors, maybe even all Democrats, should give thanks for President Trump.

Another says Wolf should, while passing the gravy, "give thanks for his second term."

But who knows what 2018 brings, eh?

For now, there also are Republicans giving thanks.

I'm betting, for example, gubernatorial contender and York State Sen. Scott Wagner is grateful for the GOP lay of the land.

Currently, his three May primary opponents are from Pittsburgh. Western Pa. has a penchant for backing its own in statewide elections. So, if announced candidates Paul Mango, Laura Ellsworth and the latest entrant, Mike Turzai, stay in the race, there's a good chance they all carve up the west, mostly leaving Wagner the rest.

The current Republican field should make Wagner yuk-yuk over his yams.

Oh, and House Speaker Turzai has something to be grateful for as well.

He can give thanks that whoever wrote and circulated a letter to his fellow House Republicans — allegedly from "Concerned Members" – didn't have the cojones to sign it.

The letter asks that Turzai step down as Speaker. It argues that running for governor takes time and money, and that Turzai instead should be raising money for the reelection of other GOP House members (not an entirely empty argument). But it caused little stir, and seems to have no legs.

Turzai's also running again for his House seat, thank you very much.

I'm thinking if his turkey day includes no legs, it might mean two pieces of pie.

Speaking of overreaching, Democrat Mike Stack has reason to give thanks.

The long-time Philly pol and Wolf's current lieutenant governor Tuesday announced he's seeking reelection despite a personal scandal and zero relationship with Wolf.

You'll recall Stack and his wife were stripped of their security and household staff after charges of verbal abuse that led to a Wolf-ordered Inspector General's investigation, findings of which since vanished like invitations to Stack to do anything, ever with Wolf.

Still, the Democratic primary for LG is shaping up as a multi-candidate event (three others have announced and one's seriously considering). The larger the field the better for Stack, thanks to his Philly base and name ID, such as it is.

I see him giving thanks for a full field while enjoying his holiday stuffing.

And what of others who face voters next year?

Well, since 2017 election results in Virginia and, especially in the Philly `burbs, turned out so well for Democrats and women, suburban GOP Congressmen Pat Meehan, Ryan Costello and Brian Fitzpatrick are likely giving big thanks that their reelection race wasn't this year.

Finally, every male in elective office is probably grateful he's not Al Franken. And privately whispering a per-dinner prayer that no evidence shows to suggest otherwise.

So, bon appetit, Pennsylvania, where politics has no shortage of turkeys.