Saturday, July 20, 2013

The LuLac Edition #2477, July 20th, 2013

Leslie Gromis Baker, Tom Corbett’s new Chief of Staff. (Photo: 


With his poll numbers in the tank, Governor Tom Corbett has “switched gears” as former PCN Talk Show Host Bill Bova used to say. Corbett is now on his third Chief of Staff and Third Legislative Director. In state politics, if you are the Governor you want your Chief of Staff to be the type of man or woman who inhabits your brain. Kind of like a “Radar O’Reilly to Colonel Blake/Potter” relationship. That person has to rein in your instincts to shoot from the hip in public. 
The changes come amid a dreadful legislative session where even though Corbett got the reduced budget in on time, his three big proposals stalled. Liquor Privatization, Pension Reform, Transportation and Medicare Expansion all got pushed back to the fall for further review. When that sense of urgency is lost it gives the Legislators more power in their branch than the Executive has. You would think when Corbett won the trifecta in 2010, the top office, the House and the Senate that he could have ramrodded through proposals that he wanted. But if a Legislative Director can’t control his own party, you have a power vacuum. 
Corbett’s situation reminds me of Jimmy Carter’s in the mid 70s. Carter had majorities in the House and Senate but his staff people never really connected with how Washington worked. I see that with Tom Corbett. 
The one glimmer of hope I see for him is his recent naming of a Chief of Staff named Leslie Gromis Baker. Gromis Baker was a White House political aide to President George H.W. Bush and served as public liaison in the administration of former Gov. Tom Ridge. She managed Ridge’s gubernatorial campaign in 1998 and the Pennsylvania campaign of presidential candidate George W. Bush in 2000. I’m sure the Democrats will howl about this too, Gromis-Baker’s ’firm LG Strategies, has been Corbett’s hired lobbyist in his dealings with the federal government. Her firm has been paid $560,000 by the Corbett administration beginning in 2011. Pennsylvania has had an eight year cycle of Democratic and Republican Governor’s since 1946. Whether the crowded field of Democrats can break that cycle and Corbett’s hold on it will largely be up to how his new Chief of Staff orchestrates this next year in Harrisburg for him.
Helen Thomas with JFK in the early 1960s. (Photo: 

HELEN THOMAS 1920-2013 

Everybody knew who Helen Thomas was in America. In my very first job in radio, when I was ripping and reading news for the old WPTS Radio in Pittston, I’d see Helen Thomas’ by line on the wire stories. As a Communications student, I made sure I’d catch Thomas’s performances at Washington, D.C. press conferences. She was a mainstay and was a trail blazer for every female journalist working in the media today. 
Thomas was the daughter of Lebanese immigrants, worked for UPI until 2000 when it was bought by the Reverend Sun Myung Moon. She was hired by Hearst News Services as a columnist and had the opportunity to voice her opinions instead of doing straight news reporting. Thomas still kept her front row seat in the White House briefing room.
Thomas wrote three books, "Front Row at the White House: My Life and Times" (1999); "Thanks for the Memories Mr. President: Wit and Wisdom from the Front Row at the White House" (2002); and "Watchdogs of Democracy? The Waning Washington Press Corps and How it Has Failed the Public" (2006). Her husband Douglas Commel preceded her in death thirty one years ago.


At 11:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

At this point in time, God Himself cannot help Corbett.

At 3:16 PM, Anonymous Junction said...

Dave, article in todays Wilkes-Barre paper on school districts and how they will not be able to afford to pay all the pensions now and in the future because of the curtailed monies not coming from the state government. Looks to me we should expect the grim reaper to raise our school taxes to cover this. I do not think our senior citizens would be able to pay any more school tax increase to cover this. And as we also know the federal government will more than likely not pass any legislation for a good percentage raise for these older folks on Social Security. It seems to me that at all levels of our government they do not figure the retirees into their math equation on this subject.
Lets not forget the middle class working STIFF in this also.

At 9:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Senior citizens who financially qulify get a rebate on their taxes and they also get the homestead discount. I think it is time that people stop using us seniors as an excuse to not pay for government services and tht includes schools. It is a damn shame that the Re;publicans have cut the flow of money down stream but that's what they do and working class people vote them into office. We get what we vote for.

At 1:36 PM, Anonymous Pope George Ringo said...

NO doubt in my mind that Corbett will be re-nominated.
So, we as of today, are a little over 15 months to election day.
As the saying goes, one year is a lifetime in politics.
I can see the Dems nominating the fellow who wants to legalize pot and Corbett and his handlers turning the entire campaign on that issue. The media in our consevative state would eat that issue up with glee.
Corbett wins and the Dems lose.


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