This strikes me as the nicest thing anyone has said about Tom Corbett in the last six months -- that he's not Scott Walker. Amazingly, the speaker did not mean it as a compliment, however:
FreedomWorks is collaborating with local activists to push the governor to act more forcefully on voucher legislation. It was introduced into the GOP-controlled Senate as the first bill this year, but the schools legislation has now stalled. The conservative group is frustrated that Corbett -– who talked about school choice in his inauguration speech -– is not cracking skulls to pass controversial bills like Govs. Scott Walker (R-Wis.) and John Kasich (R-Ohio) have done in their states.
"There is definitely a lack of courage and leadership," [Brendan] Steinhauser [a FreedomWorks operative] said at the forum, referring to Corbett, the state's former attorney general.
"He's no Scott Walker," he said later in an interview with HuffPost. "I keep hearing, 'it's not his personality to really call someone up and go LBJ on them.' So I get that. But we would like to see him be more -- making the calls, calling the meetings. Like, he should be having a press conference with House and Senate saying, 'We're going to get this done.'"
The quote is from a long -- and I mean loooong -- story from a Huffington Post reporter who wandered in the wilderness of Pennsylvania to get a handle on the state of the Tea Party, looking in particular at the school voucher issue that I wrote about recently for the Daily News. There's actually a ton of interesting info in here, but the writer presents it in a rambling, disjointed fashion. Read between the lines
1. Tom Corbett (or "Jack," as he's sometimes jokingly referred to) is in way over his head. He came in proposing terrible policies from fracking to schools that have alienated moderates and liberals -- two-thirds of the state -- but now the one-third on the right is angry that he's not "cracking skulls" (I missed that section in the Constitution somehow) to ram those awful policies through. No wonder his approval rating is completely in the tank.
2. The voucher issue is really creating a schism between the pro-business Astroturf wing of the Tea Party and the middle-class rank and file that thinks its fair share is being redistributed to the urban poor. Groups like FreedomWorks thought they had a brilliant plan to push through vouchers by disguising what they really are -- a plot to destroy public schools and help religious educators and for-profit charlatans -- and couching them as a plan to help the urban poor. Bad PR -- as NOT aiding the urban poor is the lifeblood of many everyday Tea Partiers. This quote says it all:
"Everybody is sick of taxes. And now we're coming up with another program which is going to involve more money and it's going to start on the lower-income side," the woman said. "People are tired of having to pay and pay and pay and see no results."
3. It's becoming increasingly clear that now that their various mortgage and banking scams are collapsing, the hi-def hucksters out there see schools as the next big payday out there. It's a big part of what's driving vouchers here in Pennsylvania, and now check out what Chris Christie is up to across the river.
But don't worry. It's all about the children.