Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The LuLac Edition #1860, December 14th, 2011

Why are these boys smiling? Look at their new districts. Santa was very, very good to the GOP Joy Boys! Pictured Tom Marino and Lou Barletta.

The new Sheriff in town, Tim Holden. To Pittston, Wilkes Barre and Scranton, welcome to the 17th.


Lou Barletta just won the biggest political lottery of his life. The gods of gerrymandering and redistricting have smiled brightly on the fair haired (okay dark haired boy) from the Mountain City. Lou Barletta now loses the Democratic bastions of Pittston, Wilkes Barre and Scranton. (Scranton sometimes has a penchant for voting in Republicans as their Mayor but that’s only after disaffected Democrats changed their affiliations and the Dems candidate was so bad a GOP win was a foregone conclusion). Wilkes Barre and Pittston speak for themselves in terms of Democratic supremacy. No Republican has served in Wilkes Barre since the Council-Manager form of government in the 60s and no one in Pittston has served as a member of the GOP since the late 1950s. Taking these Democratic strongholds out of the district will do a few things:
1. Diminish the fight of any re-election effort Barletta may have saving resources and money. This helps when you’re still trying to recover from a failed expensive effort in 2008.
2. Give Barletta more breathing room to vote more often with the House GOP majority. That will help Barletta politically but not necessarily help the people in the district who are part of the 99% getting their middle class lifestyle taken away day after day.
3. Give Barletta time to get seniority to help his new district constituents. It will also give the Congressman political cover for any mistakes that might come his way in his early Congressional career.
As predicted, Barletta told the Times Leader’s Bill O’Boyle, “Personally, I’m sad to lose parts of my district where I made so many friends and fought for so many people that I will no longer represent.” That’s a nice statement to make and knowing Mr. Barletta as a nice man, I’m sure it’s very true. But as a tried and true political animal, I’m sure there was a big sigh of relief as Barletta might have been contemplating the political ghost of one James Nelligan who scored an upset win in 1980 for the 11th Congressional seat and was summarily dismissed in 1982 by a Democrat who won a Democratic district.
Barletta’s new 11th District will stretch from Wyoming County to Dauphin and Cumberland counties at the southern end. Half of Carbon County has been taken from the district, while all of Columbia County is retained and all of Montour County is added. Again these are all Republican strongholds.
Barletta’s presumed 2012 opponent Bill Vinsko, the Wilkes Barre City Attorney told the Leader that issues don’t stop at district lines and even though he won’ be in the district, he can run for the seat. Bill Vinsko is a good guy. Maybe too good a guy. He should reassess his position and candidacy right now for the following reasons:
1. The GOP attack machine will eat him alive for not living in the district. Vinsko will be swift boated like John Kerry was in 2004 for a reason beyond his control. Any good works he has done in the past or the future will be compromised by his decision to run.
2. Vinsko might think it will be admirable to continue the race and the fight. He made a commitment, he gave his word. I applaud that but in the cold light of day only his family and close friends will remember his heroics. Why go on a fool’s errand when you have such a promising political career?
3. If Vinsko thinks the local Democratic parties in those areas are going to help, he better look hard at past election totals in those districts. He will not have the luxury (such as it is) of a weakened, wizened Democratic machine in Luzerne County to get him block votes.
I like Bill, known his family for years on his dad’s side. I urge him to stay out of this race and do something more productive. The late Governor Casey said “history judges you when they say what you did when you had the power”. Vinsko won’t get any power by going after Barletta in this district.
Meanwhile, in the 10th Congressional District, barring any unforeseen activities like choking a girlfriend or having the opposition misrepresent your vote on an important issue like the GOP did with Chris Carney, Tom Marino or a Republican derivative of him seems set for life.
Marino's district is expanded to all or part of 15 counties, including Pike, Wayne, Susquehanna, Bradford, Sullivan, Monroe, Union, Snyder, Northumberland, Lycoming, Tioga, Perry, Mifflin and Juniata. Most of those are traditionally Republican counties. So with Barletta getting his early Christmas present, and Marino getting the gift that seems to keep on giving, you can be sure there will be a Republican, conservative configuration that may last another generation.
As for the cities of Pittston, Scranton and Wilkes Barre, welcome to the 17th Congressional District. Your representative is Tim Holden who used to be a County Sheriff. Holden has been in Congress for twenty years and is the dean of the House delegation. Holden has been through reapportionment before when his district was merged with then GOP Congressman George Gekas 10 years ago. Holden bested Gekas and has been the representative for the southern region ever since. But by beating Gekas he acquired districts in the Harrisburg area. Now those are gone. (Dauphin, Lebanon, Berks and Perry counties.)
Holden added Easton and Northampton counties and part of Monroe County. With the addition of Scranton, Wilkes Barre and Pittston, as a Democrat Holden will be unbeatable and has an opportunity to be this generation’s new John Murtha.
When I mentioned to Mrs. LuLac that we will now be the 17th Congressional district, she said, “I’ve been in the 11th all my life”. Her reaction brought to mind this thought, your vote has consequences. To those who shunned Paul Kanjorski and Chris Carney in the last election in favor of Lou Barletta, and Tom Marino, this is the end result. You gave us Barletta and Marino for a long time with
unprecedented political power and aquired yourself a new representative that will ultimately serve you well, but needs time to get to know you. So if there are any complaints or reaction to less than better constituent service you enjoyed, do not blame your new representatives. Blame yourself. Believe me the ramifications of this new change are more than losing a lifelong district identification. Welcome to the brave new world my friends. Your vote in 2010 brought us here. Hope you’re prepared for the ride.


At 3:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh shit!

At 6:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It isn't just the voters, it is all the politicos that made PA a place to move away from. The reason this has happened is because of a population decline that required the elimination of a district. If the dems who had been in power i.e. kanjo, carney, fast eddie etc.. had actually done some good for PA, people young and old would have stayed.

At 6:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good commentary. What did they do, shoot you up with some of Eric Severaids old blood?
Welcome Back, Yonkstur.
Keep fighting the good fight.
I got a new knee a couple years ago, but I can still kick some ass!

Carey Avenue Jack

At 8:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

No Shock or Awe, No WMDs. The War just ended today because we say its over... Probably what we should have done in Vietnam. Now its on to 10 years minimum in the Afghan War!
Thanks to every soldier who served. Too many served more than one tour. It takes courage to sign up and go where they send you especially when you know your heading into a combat zone and there are no frontlines in these Wars! When you survive, you go home and then you"ve got to go back!It can be a challenge!

At 10:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hope every Democrat that didn't vote, or voted Republican, in 2010 enjoys losing all clout in Washington and never having a Congressman represent our area for the next decade. You brought this upon yourselves, and you reap what you sew. When the GOP votes to destroy Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, and you want your Congressman to stand up for you and oppose it, and there is no such Congressman to do so, I hope you remember that vote you cast last year.

I can't believe the GOP made that map, presented it, and voted on it with a straight face. For everyone from the area that voted for Lou Barletta, one question:

How does it feel now that Lou abandoned you? We told you he would, but you didn't believe us... so, I must ask: How does it feel to know that your new savior left you in the dust without even batting an eyelash? I guess he really cared about Wilkes-Barre and Pittston and Scranton, huh?

Welcome Rep. Holden. I hope you're ready for us.

Casey Evans

At 10:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Truth of the matter is that there is no Democrat Party in Luzerne County and that means Pittston and the Greater Pittston area in particular. I world have loved to see Barletta go down in flames but he has the last laugh. Now we have Tim Holden and that's a very good thing for our area. He is a powerful man in Washington and if the Democrats take back the House, he will be in a great position to bring home the bacon. Let's just hope that he sees this area as an asset and maybe even open an office in the Pittston area located right in the heart of WB and Scranton. I just don't think the numbskull officials in the city of Pittston have a clue how important that is. They will wait for their hero former mayor Mike Lombardo to pull a rabbit out of the hat ........ you know, the hat that holds all of the city mortgages.

At 11:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How exactly did Lou "abandon" us? This is done by the State Legislature, not the Feds.

Yonk is right. To the victors go the spoils, and for people who think that State races don't mean anything, here's a great example of why.

Now it certainly was done to help protect the party in power, but it is no different than when Democrat Murtha was protected out west in a laughable district configuration, or when Democrat Kanjorski was "protected" by giving him Scranton (also "protecting" Sherwood by getting Scranton away from him). I didn't hear anyone in the 11th screaming about that 10 years ago.

Needless to say these are often short-sighted attempts to gain or preserve power that rarely work. Give it another cycle and these will become the new normal (see Sherwood and Kanjorski protection above and think of how well that worked). If people in Scranton/WB/Pittston don't like what they are getting from Holden, they can vote him out.

Hell, if we want to ensure a local Congressman, Bill Vinsko should run now in the 17th, where he lives, and get everyone here behind him as a champion of "OUR" values. If he's as good as he says, and we want representation as much as you say we do, he should be able to give Rep. Holden a good tussle in the Primary.

Or was his ambition to go to DC more an ambition to try to pick "low hanging fruit" with a freshman Republican? He says issues don't stop at borders, so why can't he champion his issues as a congressman from the 17th? Please don't tell me Mr. Vinsko is just another political opportunist.......


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