Day By Day

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Pennsylvania Politics -- The Gubenatorial Story Line

Reporting on Bill Scranton's withdrawal from the contest the Inky characterizes the campaign between Lynn Swann and Ed Rendell in these terms:
The 2006 governor's race has quickly come down to this: A sports-infused smackdown pitting East vs. West, Pat's cheesesteaks vs. Primanti Bros. sandwiches, Eagles vs. Steelers.
Read it here.

What about issues?

Swann wants to cut property taxes but doesn't say how he will do so. Rendell wants to cut property taxes and will pay for them by legalizing slot machine gambling.

I'm sure they'll find something to disagree about somewhere... eventually.

Right now the media is emphasizing the Eagles vs Steelers [Fast Eddie does sports commentary for the Eagles] and the Philly vs Pittsburgh rivalry.

Completely left out of the equation are those of us who live in the "T", but then we're used to that.

As always Terry Madonna is quoted everywhere. He sees the election as being essentially a "referendum on Rendell" [here] which will be a problem for Democrats. There is a strong anti-incumbent movement here in Pa. and Rendell has been a pathetically inept governor. As Madonna points out he has extremely "weak" job-approval ratings outside of Philly.

Some fascinating factoids. Swann is expected to choose as his running mate Montgomery County Commissioner, Jim Matthews whose brother is..., ta da., MSNBC's Chris Matthews.

Parenthetically, Greta Van Susteren's sister, Lisa, is running for the Senate as a Democrat in Maryland.

Think about it -- a FOX, MSNBC, Matthews vs. Van Sustern tag team smack-down. No, on second thought..., don't think about it.

Right now things are looking good for Swann. He will run extremely well in the west of the State, and will probably win the central and northern counties which trend Republican. That leaves Rendell only Philly and the southeast suburbs. Swann will be looking to pick up votes there from Matthews who is from Montgomery County and some black votes out of Philly.

But then Rendell is the "piranha of fundraising" and has a huge war-chest. That will count for something. And Swann is a political novice who might make some embarrassing mistakes. The money disparity will begin to even out as national funds start to pour into Swann's campaign. But also, Swann will soon have to take positions on specific issues and that might cut into his support.

This thing is up for grabs.

Stay tuned.


My Pennsylvania politico correspondent says that Swann's "vision for Pennsylvania," which consists of little but platitudes, is going to be coming under attack from the Rendell people. Their strategy is to force him to take specific stands on as many issues as early as possible. I also hear, from elsewhere, that Rendell plans to "run on his record." That would be a mistake -- Rendell's record is not very impressive.

Just think, it was only a few years ago that Rendell was being talked up as potential presidential material. Not any more. There's more to politics than fundraising.

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