Posts Tagged candidates
Radio Program Schedule for the week of June 6, 2015 – June 12, 2015
This week on Lincoln Radio Journal:
- Eric Boehm has news headlines from PAIndependent.com
- David Taylor of the PA Manufacturers Association and Matthew Brouillette of the Commonwealth Foundation have a Capitol Watch update on the state budget process
- Lowman Henry has a Town Hall Commentary on why the Pennsylvania delegation would play a king maker role in a brokered GOP Presidential Nominating Convention
This week on American Radio Journal:
- Lowman Henry talks with Dr. Tom Stossel of the American Enterprise Institute about how government regulations are stifling the development of new medical treatments and technologies
- Andy Roth of the Club for Growth has the Real Story on Congress’ busy summer agenda
- Rob Nicoletti joins Eric Boehm for a Watchdog Radio Report on new EPA regulations on the use of ethanol
- Colin Hanna of Let Freedom Ring, USA has an American Radio Journal commentary on the redefinition of marriage
Visit the program web sites for more information about air times. There, you can also stream live or listen to past programs!
There are two ways to remove a Band-Aid; in one sharp motion getting the pain over quickly, or pulling it off slowly allowing the pain to linger. Democrats in Pennsylvania appear to subscribe to both approaches when it comes to dealing with the misdeeds of their statewide elected officials.
Former State Treasurer Rob McCord abruptly resigned from office in late January revealing he was going to plead guilty to charges that he attempted to extort campaign funds from companies interested in doing business with the state. The crimes occurred while McCord was battling now-Governor Tom Wolf for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination last spring.
The McCord denouement came swiftly. In a town that leaks like a sieve, there was surprisingly little advance rumor of the charges; news of which McCord broke himself. The former treasurer spared the commonwealth the usual drama which surrounds such things by accepting responsibility for his actions and promptly leaving office. He has now disappeared from the headlines.
And then there is the case of Kathleen Kane. The term “embattled” is appended to virtually every news article written about the attorney general who is currently under investigation by the Montgomery County District Attorney for allegedly leaking secret grand jury information. Charges have been recommended by that grand jury and the Pennsylvania Supreme Court recently ruled the process legal and correct.
Suffice it to say General Kane is in hot water. As if that were not enough, news broke that she scuttled an investigation into a northeastern Pennsylvania casino probe. And, the Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams has successfully prosecuted another investigation Kane dropped involving several Philadelphia legislators who allegedly took bribes. This, along with a revolving door among her top staffers has produced an agency in crisis and an attorney general in political peril.
Unlike McCord, Kane is fighting back. She has hired big guns associated with her political patrons, Bill and Hillary Clinton, refuses to resign and plans to fight any criminal charges which may be filed against her.
This could not be worse news for Pennsylvania Democrats. The party can ill afford going into a major election year with the state’s highest elected law enforcement official under a cloud, or possibly under indictment. Add in the McCord misfire, along with the Philadelphia legislator scandal, and what you have is the image of a political party steeped in corruption.
Already the steady stream of negative headlines is having an effect. In just the last couple of weeks Democrats lost a special election for a legislative seat in Philadelphia, something that hasn’t happened in decades. A Quinnipiac University poll shows Republican U.S. Senator Pat Toomey leading likely Democratic challenger Joe Sestak by double digits. The poll even found U.S. Senator Rand Paul leading presumptive Democratic Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton by one point. And, the poll was taken before Senator Paul’s official announcement of candidacy which likely will give him a further bounce.
Clearly the scandals surrounding Pennsylvania Democrats could have national implications. Pat Toomey has been listed as one of the most vulnerable Republican senators up for re-election next year, if only because of the large Democratic voter registration lead in Pennsylvania. But, to date, he has overcome that edge. And, there is absolutely no plausible mathematical formula for Democrats to win the White House in 2016 without carrying Pennsylvania.
It remains to be seen whether or not Republicans will be able to take advantage of the culture of corruption surrounding state Democrats. But one thing is for sure, the slow removal of the Kane Band-Aide ensures the issue will remain alive for the foreseeable future.
(Lowman S. Henry is Chairman & CEO of the Lincoln Institute and host of the weekly Lincoln Radio Journal. His e-mail address is email@example.com)
Permission to reprint is granted provided author and affiliation are cited.
Days before the November election I was listening to a radio talk show and the topic of discussion was a prominent Democrat who suggested that congressional terms should be made longer. Specifically, he suggested having U.S. Senators serve for eight years rather than six and electing members of the U.S. House of Representatives to four year terms instead of two.
The reasoning behind suggesting such a change was to limit the number of opportunities voters have to impact the system to ensure more stability in the federal government. Prompting the discussion was voter propensity to deal President Barack Obama mid-term electoral set-backs compromising his ability to enact his policy agenda.
Interestingly, when someone dislikes the verdict of the voters or an elected official misbehaves the search goes on for a systemic weakness to blame. Inevitably, the “solution” to such non-existent problems is to remove from those rascally voters the ability to express their will through the electoral process.
Such is the case in Pennsylvania where recent episodes of elected officials behaving badly have prompted calls for systemic change that, in the end would erode the power of voters and diminish the ability of “We the People” to impact the composition of our own government. Specifically, structural “reforms” that would enhance the power of elites to the detriment of grassroots voters include reducing the size of the state legislature and enacting the merit selection of judges.
The recent forced retirement of state Supreme Court Justice Seamus McCaffrey for excessive use of the send button on his computer has re-energized the merit selection movement. Presumably, a merit selection committee would have asked McCaffrey if he liked to forward along pornographic e-mails, he would have admitted such, and thus been eliminated from consideration. Likewise the last justice to be impeached, Rolf Larson, would have admitted his addictions to the merit selection committee and informed them of his plan to use staff to acquire prescription drugs illegally.
It is folly to believe a merit selection committee would be error free in its choices. The only sure outcome of merit selection is that the selectors and those who select the selectors would gain incredible influence over one-third of state government with no voter oversight or recourse. True, voters are often ill informed when it comes to judicial candidates, but the same can be said for many other offices as well.
Reducing the size of the General Assembly is another “reform” that would diminish the impact of voters while giving leaders greater control. A smaller legislature would mean larger districts. Candidates must spend more to be elected in larger districts, thus the role of campaign cash would grow while the ability of less well financed candidates to compete through grassroots campaigning would be lessened. Do we really want to make money in politics more important?
At the national level, lengthening the terms of congressmen and senators would severely curtail the ability of voters to express their will. The framers of the U.S Constitution intended for the House to be volatile, representing the momentary views of the people. Senators were granted six-years terms to be the “cooling saucer” of those who could take a longer term view. It was and is a good compromise that has served our nation well.
The old saying that our system of government is the worst there is – except for all the others remains true. Constitutions are written and systems are established so the framework of government is timeless and not whipsawed by the winds of current events. Any system is only as good as the men and women who serve within it. The key to better government lies not in changing the system, but in being more vigilant on whom we select to represent us.
(Lowman S. Henry is Chairman & CEO of the Lincoln Institute and host of the weekly Lincoln Radio Journal. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Permission to reprint is granted provided author and affiliation are cited.
How would you like to be able to stalk someone? Or perhaps harass them? Maybe even threaten to use a weapon of mass destruction against them?
And how would you like to do that legally?
It’s simple. Just get involved in a labor dispute and all such actions are perfectly legal. In fact, those tactics have been used regularly by labor unions right here in Penn’s Woods.
It seems though that one union has been collared by the feds for going too far. Ten members of the Ironworkers Union Local 401 in Philadelphia were indicted recently for, among other things, vandalizing a Quaker meetinghouse that was under construction.
Yes, those Quakers; the religion that preaches non-violence.
Meanwhile, back in Harrisburg, legislation that would eliminate the so-called carve-outs in state law that permit stalking, harassment, and threats of mass destruction awaits action. It is cued up and ready for a vote in the state House, but for some reason has yet to hit the floor for a vote.
This should be an easy vote for lawmakers. In the post-911 era who can justify allowing anyone to legally threaten to use a weapon of mass destruction? Well, aside from one prominent labor leader who appeared before the House Judiciary Committee to offer a half-hearted defense of the carve-outs. His justification was that business supports and uses the carve-outs as much as organized labor. However, a poll of business owners and chief executive officers conducted last Fall by the Lincoln Institute of Public Opinion Research found 84% opposed the carve-outs. Just 3% voiced approval.
Among voters statewide there is strong support for the legislation to end the carve-outs. A Lincoln Institute poll conducted in November found 83% support the bill, 16% oppose. While it is somewhat disconcerting that 16% of Pennsylvanians would support allowing anybody to legally stalk, harass, or threaten to use a weapon of mass destruction, any legislative proposal that achieves the support of over 80% of voters would seem to be an easy vote for lawmakers to cast.
A culture of threats and violence has long been part and parcel of the labor scene among the construction trades in the Philadelphia region for generations. It is evidence of the influence these unions have in Harrisburg that they were able to get carve-outs allowing psychological tactics included in state law. More amazing is that the loopholes have not yet been closed.
Even when union tactics advanced past threats to action, law enforcement and prosecutors in the Philadelphia region have long turned a blind eye. Finally, however, at least one union over-stepped its bounds. The indictment against ten leaders of Ironworkers Local 401 alleges the existence of a “goon squad” that among other tactics set fires, took crowbars to those who stood in their way, and incited riots. All under the cover of getting more work for their members.
The vandalism and threats against the contractor at the Quaker meetinghouse in Chestnut Hill seems to have been the tipping point. The indictment claims Ironworkers Local 401 business agent Edward Sweeney ordered the hit on the work site. And this apparently was not an isolated incident. The union’s operatives nicknamed themselves “THUGS,” short for The Helpful Union Guys, but actually quite descriptive of their activities.
The egregious nature of such actions is, however, only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to union privilege in Pennsylvania. Also making its way through the General Assembly is a bill that would end the practice of having government deduct union dues and political contributions from the paychecks of their public sector members. Since Pennsylvania is not a Right to Work state, certain public employees are required to join a labor union as a condition of employment. Then, union dues and in some cases political contributions are deducted from their paychecks.
Pennsylvania’s jails are populated by former lawmakers who used government resources for political purposes. Yet labor unions have their dues collected at public expense, then turn around and use those dollars to elect candidates and lobby legislators to protect and enhance the many unique privileges they enjoy under state law.
With the Ironworkers Local 401 leaders under indictment and strong public support for ending at least the indefensible carve-outs allowing stalking, harassment, and threats of mass destruction you would think such action would top the legislative agenda. We’ll soon see if the Republican-controlled legislature gets the job done.