Re: Re-election

Look, I know things aren't going all that well.

There's your dismal poll numbers. And fallout from that thing you said about the state's unemployed being too high to get jobs.

And that sorta dovetailed with that thing you said in 2010 about the unemployed staying unemployed in order to collect benefits.

And it reminded everybody about that thing you said in 2012 about women opposed to ultrasounds just having to close their eyes.

Don't worry. You get one a year. And you've had your one for this year. Just try to avoid another one between now and next November.

And, yeah, I know, it's the godless left-wing media's fault or the Democrats' fault and you were quoted out of context, but let's be honest: Say things that can be interpreted as insensitive, stupid or both, and it gets noticed, repeated and exaggerated.

Might not be fair (like folks blaming you for what happened to Joe Paterno) but, as you know, it's the way of the world.

The good news is, there's recovery time. And you can count on Democrats to bludgeon each other and spend their money and nominate someone more liberal than most voters in a low-turnout midterm election.

That's in your favor.

But there's also a risk you'll get stuck on a road to political perdition.

So, because I know how you value my advice, I offer five things you can do to pave a path to re-election.

1) Nominate a woman to the vacancy on the state Supreme Court. I imagine that I don't have to tell you why.

2) Now that Bruce Castor wussed out of a primary, forget about playing to the ideological right. Do something inclusive.

Reinstate basic health insurance for low-income adults, rather than pushing your appeal against a court order to do so. This can soften your opposition to the federal expansion of Medicaid.

Or go big. Pull a Pat Toomey. Urge universal background checks. You saw his numbers bump up, right?

3) You and I both know that the Legislature is incapable of doing three significant things - liquor, transportation, pensions - while also passing a budget. Concentrate on one.

If you get anything on liquor, some hybrid, some phaseout, you're the first governor in state history to move away from the current bipolar system; a big plus with independent drinkers.

4) Pull back on having the Brits manage the lottery. Let it slip away. It's a fight you don't need, a distraction from getting stuff you do need, and you always can revisit it later.

5) Start running at least Internet re-elect ads now.

Aggressively present yourself as other than you're caricatured - namely a poster boy for industry whose main concern is corporate breaks - before it's too late.

I understand that you believe a cost-cutting, pro-business approach is in the long-term interest of the state economy and therefore of all its citizens.

Find a way to sell that.

You can't score if all you ever play is defense.

I know that you're hoping that Allyson Schwartz is your opponent, because she served in the Legislature and Congress and has a voting record - lots of which won't play well in much of the state - and that she therefore is your salvation.

But she might not be the nominee. And, if she or another woman is, remember: Republicans, yourself included, have a knack for seriously annoying women; there are more female voters than male voters; women vote in higher percentages than men. So be wary of what you wish for.

Time is on your side. History is on your side. All you need are the people of Pennsylvania on your side. If you don't act soon, they won't be.

Oh, and by the way, you're welcome.