Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Barletta Leads Northeast in 4Q Fundraising

Barletta raised $146,978.98 and had $269,498.39 on hand.

Vinsko raised $20,574.75 and had $52,786.21 on hand.

Marino raised $68,717.76 and Holden raised $99,885.68 during the same period.

Barletta has over five times as much available and raised over seven times as much in the same period as Vinsko. As a matter of fact, Vinsko was almost the worst performing Democratic candidate to file a fourth quarter report in the Commonwealth.

As Gort reported, POLITICO declared that Bill Vinsko was among the top Democratic challengers in the country in October. They might want to rethink that.

It appears the Democrats already have, since Vinsko failed to be included in their Red to Blue program of "top Democratic campaigns across the country" selected to receive support from the national party.

Congrats to Lou for dominating the Northeast this quarter.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Real Margaret Thatcher

On Labor, Taxation, and Nation:

On Socialism:

On Free Society:

On Globalization:

On Conservatism:

And a tribute:

Haggerty Swings and Misses

Kevin Haggerty has announced his intentions to challenge Ken Smith in the Democratic Primary to represent Pennsylvania’s 112th Legislative District in the Commonwealth’s House of Representatives. Haggerty penned an attack on Smith, but in his zeal, demonstrated a lack of understating of the issues which he believes are “near and dear to Democrat families in the 112th district.”

His most breathless attack deals with redistricting. In it, Haggerty makes the wild statement that:

“When Mr. Smith talks about why the Governor won’t tax big oil and gas, just take a look at his recent vote of yes for Senate Bill (SB) 1249. This Republican bill is responsible for the most gerrymandered redistricting this state has ever seen, and Democratic leaders are taking this matter to court.”

Senate Bill 1249, deals with Congressional redistricting. And yes, Ken Smith along with many of his fellow Democrats did vote for it. That’s about where Haggerty’s redistricting accuracy ends.

Democratic Leaders are not in fact taking the matter of Senate Bill 1249 to court as Haggerty alleges. Actually, Pennsylvania Democratic Congressmen called for state Democrats to pass this legislation.

What Democrats are doing is fighting the decision of the Legislative Redistricting Commission which dealt exclusively with reapportioning the State House and State Senate districts. There are 11 such challenges which the Supreme Court will hear on January 23rd.

Another relevant document to the discussion of redistricting is the Pennsylvania Constitution. Article II, Section 17 deals with redistricting and explains the process in terms anyone should be able to understand.

Before arguing against the current plan, Mr. Haggerty should also take a look at the alternative Democratic proposal for congressional redistricting. Here is the map, and here is the plan. Democrats deserve credit for proposing an alternative plan but their plan fails to address the primary argument against most redistricting which is that it unnecessarily carves up counties. By that measure, the Democratic plan would be far worse for Northeastern Pennsylvania than the Republican plan.

A review of the Democratic proposal shows that they wanted to carve up virtually every county in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Mr. Haggerty’s home county would have three members of Congress in the Democratic plan instead of two in the Republican plan.

What Smith and many Democrats actually voted for was a plan that better consolidated representation for Lackawanna County with these two congressmen instead of three. The Republican plan also largely gave the more Republican areas of Lackawanna County a Republican Congressman and the more Democratic areas a Democratic Congressman.

In short, this whole line of attack doesn’t appear to be well thought out.

There are plenty of legitimate criticisms of Smith. His vote on redistricting isn’t one of them. Haggerty would do well to put aside the hyper-partisan attacks and instead, focus on the issues that really matter most to all of the families in the 112th Legislative District, regardless of their political affiliation.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Democratic Attorney General Race

The Democratic field for Pennsylvania Attorney General currently consists of Ex-Congressman Patrick Murphy, former Assistant District Attorney Kathleen Kane, and former Assistant District Attorney Dan McCaffery.

Recently revealed facts prove that Congressman Murphy never took the Pennsylvania Bar Exam. Obviously, this hurt Murphy and created an opportunity for his opponents to attack him. On the heels of that revelation, Murphy released the results of an internal poll. No doubt, to keep supporters from hemorrhaging.

Republicans were quick to pounce. PA GOP Chairman Rob Gleason released the following statement:

“The fact that Patrick Murphy has never taken the Pennsylvania bar exam and has never tried a case in Pennsylvania’s courts shows he has little respect for the Pennsylvania Constitution and should send a message to voters that he is not prepared to be Commonwealth’s chief law enforcement officer. If he could not take this small step, we cannot trust him to lock up child predators, elder abusers and drug dealers.

“Sadly, this is just another example of Patrick Murphy being a career politician but short on real experience and he obviously cannot be trusted when it comes to protecting Pennsylvanians. We need an Attorney General whose first thought is how protect our citizens and enforce the law not just try and get elected to a new office.“

The results of the poll demonstrated that Murphy was leading the pack of Democrats seeking the office – particularly in the must-have Philly area. The lineup was Murphy by a wide margin, Kane, and then McCaffery.

If the other campaigns had numbers to prove otherwise, they probably would have used them instead of just rhetoric.

Another vulnerability, and probably a more important one, for Murphy will be his voting record. Murphy was a member of Congress which, of course, means he has one. For instance, Patrick Murphy voted for Obama’s failed stimulus plan, Obamacare, and the Cap and Trade job-killer. Not the type of stuff that will come up in a Democratic Primary, but definitely what you can expect in a General Election. His liberal voting record in Washington is what made him a former congressman. No Democrat will be able to attack him on these items and not run afoul of both Casey and Obama.

Kane has also had some trouble recently. Under the headline, “Kane dumps Randol as Campaign Manager” the Scranton Times reported that candidate Kathleen Kane and campaign manager Liz Randol parted ways. Kane dismissed it as “no big deal” in the story but political observers will likely see it differently. Campaigns are expected to operate under high-stress situations. If the leadership in the campaign can’t keep it together before the race really starts, it’s tough to see how it can handle the race when it gets really hot. If it had to happen though, it is better to have happened when it did.

Kane also recently touted in a press release that she will report $2 million in her campaign coffers for the close of 2011. She does not however reveal the source of the funding.

Tactically, this was both a bold display of strength and a political miscalculation. If the Kane campaign was going to dump this release while her party is dishing about “the rich” she should have released the source of the funding in the release. By not doing that, her campaign allowed the focus to be on whether this demonstrates strength in personal finance, strength in developing relationships with special interest groups, or strength in building a real fundraising apparatus that can propel her campaign moving forward.

It would be interesting to know her position on the Occupy Movement. If she self-funded, does she consider herself in the 1% or the 99%? Considering how much the Occupy movement permeates both labor and the Democratic Party and the President’s proclivity for class warfare, she should probably figure that one out pretty quickly. If she wins the Primary, she could find herself pitted against her Party and her President’s rhetoric – again, if she self-funded.

As for Dan McCaffery, he has yet to really make his mark on the campaign. That might hurt his chances of an endorsement at the Democrat State Committee Meeting this weekend. Not much can be said about his campaign beyond that at this point.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Mayor McDowell?

Remember when Scranton’s Democratic Tax Collector, Ken McDowell, “found” a few million in taxpayer dollars? It appears that Scranton’s Democratic Mayor, Chris Doherty, also “found” a few million.

Apparently, millions of dollars were accruing in an account over the last three years that no one in the Doherty Administration thought about checking. The Scranton Times reports Democrat Doherty claims $3 million “fell through the cracks.”

Those are some pretty big cracks Doherty must have in his financial management skills to lose $3 million. Also troubling, this money was unaccounted for when Doherty was proposing both a 29% tax increase on the city of Scranton as well as gutting its fire protection.

Had these millions been accounted for prior to the completion of the 2012 budget, perhaps firehouses would have been able to remain open. Instead, many of them are closed in Scranton. Maybe Scranton’s taxpayers could have evaded a tax increase.

Sadly, Doherty’s inability to manage Scranton’s finances was not uncovered in time to prevent either from occurring.

Scranton, like virtually every other city in the Commonwealth unable to escape distressed status, is run by Democrats. Doherty, like fellow Democrat McDowell, has demonstrated the inability to manage the trust of the taxpayers.

Since losing the Lackawanna County Controller’s race in 2011, Ken McDowell has been without an elected office. If Doherty is going to run the city like Ken McDowell ran the tax office, maybe Ken McDowell should run for Mayor of Scranton in 2013. Even better, maybe the Republicans should finally put up a good candidate to take on Doherty.

America’s GITMO Vacation

While you were probably out grabbing last minutes items for Christmas, the Democrat-controlled Senate was passing the National Defense Authorization Bill for Fiscal Year 2012 (NDAA). It passed with bi-partisan support with 86 Senators (including both Casey and Toomey) voting for it, and 13 voting against it (one didn’t vote.) The Senate bill was largely coordinated by both Republican Senator John McCain and Democrat Senator Carl Levin.

The bill authorizes the appropriations for fiscal year 2012 for military activities of the Department of Defense, for military construction, and for defense activities of the Department of Energy, to prescribe military personnel strengths for such fiscal year, and may allow the Federal Government to detain American Citizens without trial in GITMO.

The last part is the controversial part.

President Obama said he wouldn’t sign it. Obama caved. He broke out the auto-pen and signed it on New Year’s Eve, also when you probably weren’t paying attention.

President Obama claims that the NDAA does not apply to US Citizens. Both the ACLU and Natural News debunk that myth. Natural News goes on to explain further why you should be concerned with the legislation. It’s worth the read.

By signing this bill, President Obama has attempted to legalize tyranny.

Republicans in Congress are fighting back with H.R. 3676. There are presently 31 co-sponsors. You can track the list of Congressmen that will protect your rights here.

Every member of the House of Representatives is up for election in this year. As is Democratic Senator and NDAA-supporter Bob Casey. Voters should thoughtfully consider both their representative's and their senator's stance on this bill before casting their vote in 2012. And really, is there a better time for tough questions than an election year?

Chuck Woolery on Democracy