More on the Pennsy Race

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More on the Pennsy Race

Post by Corlyss_D » Thu Jun 01, 2006 7:20 pm

Contract With Pennsylvania
The Republican wing of the Republican party.

Thursday, June 1, 2006 12:01 a.m.

LEBANON, Pa.--The Republican primary of 2006 in this state has been called a "political massacre," an "earthquake" and "payback." It has been discussed in media outlets across the country and across the political spectrum. Now, more than two weeks have elapsed since May 16, and pundits, editorial writers and political analysts are still trying to figure out what led to the defeat of 16 incumbent state legislators--including Pennsylvania's top two state Senate Republicans--at the hands of underfunded, and in several cases--including mine--unknown challengers.

Many, including some of those incumbents who lost, are crediting (or blaming) the huge pay raise of July 2005, which approved increases of up to 54% for elected officials and was passed under the cover of darkness by a Republican-controlled Legislature at the behest of a liberal Democratic governor, Ed Rendell. Some take a more philosophical approach, attributing the dramatic political shift to a general disdain for Harrisburg; others think it was due to a need for the people to take back control of the government from ineffective politicians.

My personal experiences working the campaign trail this past spring made it apparent to me that the political upheaval was due to a coalescing of two fundamental perspectives held by the rank-and-file: Government needed to be reformed; and the state Republican Party needed to be reformed, too.

Conservatives had long been chafing at the fact that an ostensibly conservative Legislature had linked arms with Mr. Rendell to raise income taxes, push up state spending to record levels, and expand both corporate- and social-welfare spending without any apparent means of accountability--while a comprehensive property tax reform package continued to stall in the Legislature.

These people at the grassroots no longer viewed the state Legislature as a servant of the people but as an exclusive club for political insiders. They fumed as the legislators voted to increase their own pensions by 50%, in addition to excessive daily allowances just to show up for work, and at the practice of allowing members to take expensive junkets to resort locations.

It was as if the Republican Party leadership in the state capitol had forgotten everything they'd been taught by Ronald Reagan--that the core values of the Republican Party were lower taxes, less spending and limited government.

Then came the notorious pay raise, and the camel's back was broken.

The pay raise particularly stung Republicans, for it was their political party that was in charge of the Legislature when this blatant violation of the state Constitution (and common sense) was rammed through. These Republicans, I came to understand, felt the time had come to clean their own house.

A critical part of such housecleaning requires viable candidates who are willing and able to challenge incumbent legislators, and who inspire passionate support among the voters. Conservative Republicans are not stupid; if they don't like the choices presented, they will stay home.

Rank-and-file conservatives do not gravitate toward candidates simply because they are not "the other guy." While the pay raise energized voters and gave them a reason to consider other options, it was the duty of the challengers to explain why they were better choices than the incumbents. It is my conviction that Republican voters were just as desirous of a positive vision that they could embrace--a vision that demanded accountability and reform at the state level--as they were to remove those incumbents who had failed to uphold the traditional ideals of their party.

And that is why "The Promise to Pennsylvania" was so important. The Promise--drafted by my campaign and that of three other candidates--codified the elemental Republican principles of lower taxes and less government and sketched out how these principles should be applied at the state level. For all intents and purposes, it was a Contract With America--for Pennsylvania.

The Promise gave Republican voters an opportunity to re-evaluate exactly what it was they believed in. Did they want to continue down the path of higher taxes and growing government, or did they want to see real tax reform and constraints on spending?

For the many Republican reformers who won their respective primaries, the Promise holds the key for eventual victory in the fall. It is a standard around which other Republicans can rally, clearly outlining an agenda for the next legislative session and defining the critical, core issues for the party.

It is also my conviction that while the leadership of the Republican Party is still trying to figure out how it will deal with the fallout from May 16, it is imperative that the GOP come together in time for the Nov. 7 election. There are critical races to win--most notably Rick Santorum's fight to beat back state treasurer Bob Casey Jr. and keep his U.S. Senate seat, and Lynn Swann's campaign to upend Ed Rendell and become Pennsylvania's first black governor.

I was a reluctant candidate. Family and friends urged me to consider public office, but it was only after much thought and consideration and prayer that I agreed. One factor that appealed greatly to me was the vision the Founders had of a citizen-legislature--of a body consisting of ordinary folks who would fulfill their civic duty for a period of time and then step aside to allow others to do theirs. We've gotten away from that; but public service is not something reserved only for the rich or popular or well-connected. (I was outspent nearly 20 to 1 in my primary campaign against the state Senate majority leader.)

But the most important factor was that ideas matter. I have confidence that the Pennsylvania Republican Party can move forward victoriously not only this coming fall but in future elections. Yet in order to do so, it is imperative that we do not forget the principles that made the Republican Party great.

In many ways, then, the Pennsylvania situation mirrors that of the country as a whole.

Mr. Folmer, a tire salesman, is a Republican candidate for the Pennsylvania Senate.

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Post by Ralph » Thu Jun 01, 2006 9:08 pm

Pennsylvania is a great state to vacation.

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Post by Barry » Fri Jun 02, 2006 9:41 am

Ralph wrote:Pennsylvania is a great state to vacation.
And you've been promising to visit me in Philly since I first met you!
"If this is coffee, please bring me some tea; but if this is tea, please bring me some coffee." - Abraham Lincoln

"Although prepared for martyrdom, I preferred that it be postponed." - Winston Churchill

"Before I refuse to take your questions, I have an opening statement." - Ronald Reagan ... re=related


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