PHOTO INDEX: ON THE SET OF WYOU TV'S INTERACTIVE NEWS MONDAY NIGHT, SEATED; FORMER SCRANTON MAYOR AND POLITICAL CONSULTANT JAMES McNULTY, YOUR BLOG EDITOR, STANDING; POLITICAL JUNKIE AND CO-ANCHOR ERIC SCHEINER, CO-ANCHOR AND PROVERBIAL ROSE AMONG THE THORNS CANDACE GROSSKLAUS AND WEATHERMAN, AKA "MR. ACCURATE" DAVID KUHARCHIK.
I'd like to take this opportunity to say thanks to the folks at WYOU TV for having me as a guest on Monday night on their 11PM news. I had the honor of sharing the set with a man familiar to the WYOU studio, former Scranton Mayor Jim McNulty. As always, the WYOU staff, in front and behind the cameras were wonderful and made the experience another one to remember. I shared Jim McNulty political trivia with the former Mayor, (telling him the color of his old campaign signs), found out that Eric Scheiner was quite the political reporter in New Hampshire and elicited from Candace Grossklaus that even as a Viking fan, she too loved Brett Farve. Thanks again for the chance to give my opinions and promote this site.
With all the hoopla surrounding the Hillary Clinton campaign in this area, we should be aware that she has a formidable opponent. But Senator Obama has a huge task in front of him to persuade Pennsylvania voters to come to his side. Obama's challenge will be the make up of the state, not the geographics but the mentality of the Commonwealth. We are not change agents by any means and that is at the core of the Obama campaign. This is a state that is behind the trends in social and political engineering. In 2007, the State Legislature for the first time in 50 years started to talk about a bill controlling lobbyists in Pennsylvania. It took years to get an open records bill through both houses in Harrisburg. (Might have been quicker had there been a payraise attached to it!) Until that payraise, the retention rate for Legislators in the state was an unreal 96%. We, as a people here resist change. And Obama's challenge will be to implore the citizens here that they can make true change. They can do the following:
1. Think out of the box and go for Obama. Obama's pitch can be that if Pennsylvania goes his way, the state will have a say in making history paving the way for his nomination. Obama can say that with the Pennsylvania vote, the election will be decided and he can get on with the business of offering Senator Clinton the second spot on his ticket. Or better yet, he can have his wife suggest it, like Mr. Clinton did.
2. Obama needs to appeal to Pennsylvania's collective pride and shame. He has to send the message that this state can change the dynamics of politics as we know it. His message must imply that it would be a shame if Pennsylvania stayed stuck in their "rut" and let another state or group of faceless super delegates change history.
It is a challenge because we Pennsylvanians love our "ruts". But there is an opening. Obama must reach out to those voters with specifics, not platitudes. Pennsylvanians want to know "what's in it for me"? We've been screwed by the best of them, steel and coal barons, union busters and corrupt political machines that owned our votes in blocks. The shame is we let them do it to us. Obama has to shake the state by its roots and ask the voters if they want "in" on his change war or not. That's the only way for him to succeed.
During the 1968 campaign, Gene McCarthy won the primary here. Not because people wanted to end the war but because he was the only guy on the ballot. In 1972 when the nation was going for McGovern in droves, Pennsylvania reached into the past and voted for Hubert Humphrey. By the 1976 campaign, Jimmy Carter was already gathering the established Democrats across the land quickly dispatching a more liberal voice, Representative Morris Udall. In 1984 Gary Hart whistle stopped by train but Walter Mondale prevailed. We are never on the cutting edge of change in Presidential elections, as a matter of fact we tend to go against the "new and different", "warm and fuzzy". Overcoming that mindset will be Obama's greatest challenge but might be a key to winning.
TO THOSE WHO WAIT
Governor Spitzer resigned Wednesday. Only in America can a TV talk show host like David Letterman rant on about the Governor without retribution from his network and his (Spitzer's) recent playmate comes forward and says "she'd like a music contract please" for engaging in sex with the Guv. The only person on the winning side here is the Ltn. Governor who is thrust (sorry no pun intended) into the limelight. He is by the way one Mr. David Patterson who according to Albany sources is very qualified. But Ltn. Governors are pretty much in the same position as Vice Presidents. In 1989, a co-worker and I went to New York state on a day trip. I wanted to get some fine New York state wine and she wanted to see an old boyfriend. While she meandered off with him, I bought my wine and took a tour of the State Capitol. The Albany Capitol is a testament to the brilliance of Nelson Rockefeller's view of government. The buildings are outstanding. Anyway, as I was entering an elevator to get to another area of the Capitol Building, two other men entered after me. Two people in the elavator greeted the one man as "Governor". I knew immedtaiely it was Mario Cuomo's Ltn. Governor Stan Lundine who ran with Cuomo in 1986 and served until 1995. At that time there was rampant speculation that Cuomo would run for President in 1992. As we traveled to the designated floor, one of the men asked Lundine what was on his agenda for the year, he said jokimgly, "A little bit of this and that, but mainly just waiting around". That's essentially what second in commands do. And this week, the waiting for David Patterson stopped.