The LuLac Edition #417, Feb. 10th, 2008
PHOTO INDEX: SENATOR JOHN McCAIN AND GOVERNOR TOM RIDGE.
RIDGE CAUTIONS GOP
Former Governor Tom Ridge spoke at the Winter Meeting of the Statewide GOP on Saturday. Calling his time in office (he calculated it down to the last day) as the most significant of his political life, the popular Republican weighed in on the Presidential race. He urged the assembled to get in line behind John McCain and made several good points. They were:
1. You run to win an election. Then you get to govern. Ridge’s point was that politicians need to be pragmatic or else if they are regarded as ideologues, they won’t win and therefore won’t ever govern. Ever hear of Presidents Robert Taft, Barry Goldwater or Patrick Buchanan? Nope, didn’t think so.
2. Ridge said that no candidate is perfect and that everybody has a disagreement or two. But he again told the GOP to put aside the differences and support the presumed nominee.
3. Ridge talked about Senator McCain’s 25 year record of consistency on the main issues GOP party members care about. He also outlined the Senator’s courage in the face of adversity when he was a POW during the Vietnam War. Ridge, himself a veteran of Vietnam was stern in his warning to the statewide gathering.
It was an impressive speech from an impressive member of the party. Ridge was a Congressman from Erie who beat an entrenched Democrat in the 80s at the urging of Vice President George Bush and his son George W. He got into the Governor’s race in 1994 when it became clear that State Attorney General Ernie Preate’s legal difficulties would drag into the general election. Ridge ran TV ads wearing a leather bomber jacket, talking about his vision for the state and even sharing the fact he grew up in an Erie Housing project. Ridge’s point then was government can bring people up and the fact that a Republican grew up in less than huge economic circumstances also gave him a leg up with swing voters. Ridge ran a tough campaign against incumbent Mark Singel pulling out all the stops when he criticized the Ltn. Governor’s Pardon Bureaus record. Getting virtually no help from his mentor, Governor Casey who was piqued about Singel’s ’92 Senate run and his flip flop on abortion, Ridge rode into the Governorship and stayed there until being named Homeland Security Director for President Bush after 911. His only faux pas was when he said he needed to quit the Cabinet to make some money to give his kids an education. That created a minor firestorm who felt the usually politically adept Ridge all of a sudden developed a tin ear when it came to working class voters. Other than that, he is a respected figure in the party and on this issue, they should heed his advice.
John McCain has a choice to make and it’s not about picking a Vice President. McCain has vanquished the right wing of his party, no other alternative except for Mike Huckabee exists. Newt Gingrich has shown no interest in coming in late to the party and Ron Paul is regarded as a fringe candidate. So McCain has beaten a wing in the party that has been a major player for the past thirty years. He has been gracious, he has been accommodating. But the time has come for McCain to set his sights on the general election. He was booed at a conservative forum last week and didn’t lose his cool. Good for him. But his comment on who would make a good Veep choice spoke volumes. He said geographic considerations weren’t that important and said he wanted someone qualified to be President. McCain also talked about values sharing which scared the heck out of the Bible beaters in the party. (An interesting report on NPR last week said the pro-Christian right was not as familiar with simple bible stories and references as they should be. Values without information or what it all means, at least to me, is back woods ignorance.) Anyway, McCain should reconcile himself to the fact the religious right will never love him and pick someone who can work with him to change the country. It can be Haley Barbour of the South or Tom Ridge of the North. But he cannot be pressured by the right because the people who might want to vote for him will forsake him in the general. There is a reason why the candidates of the right have gotten little or no traction. No one will say it out loud but Republicans who supported McCain are tired of an 8 year GOP administration that has over spent, lied, taken away personal freedoms and given us an atmosphere of fear in this country. McCain needs to maintain his own voice and stand for what he believes in. It worked once in 2007 when he was left for dead by the pundits, it’ll work again in 2008. He just needs to make it happen. Like that old country and western song says, “if you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for everything”.
SCAVO ON THE MOVE
An area school board member has begun collecting signatures in an attempt to oppose incumbent state Rep. James Wansacz, D-Old Forge, this fall. Republican Frank J. Scavo III, 45, who’s serving his second term on the Old Forge School Board, began circulating petitions and collecting signatures during a petition-signing party he hosted for congressional candidate Lou Barletta at Arcaro and Genell's pizza joint. Scavo said he wasn’t going to run for state office this year – he tried unsuccessfully in 2002, 2004 and 2006 – until he found out two Republican candidates considering a run again Wansacz changed their minds earlier this week. Scavo ran against Robert Melolow in a write in effort in 2006 and is a frequent caller to WILK radio’s talk show lineup.
WILK radio, Kevin Lynn is supposed to be back on Monday from sunny Jamaica. In the meantime, Vince Sweeney outlined his day with Nancy Kman on his blog: here’s his link: