Wednesday, February 10, 2016

A PA Bipartisan Twofer

Two PA pols, one a former House leader, one a current House leader, managed to get in the news in ways that say lots about the state's political culture.

A PA Bipartisan Twofer


A pair of Pennsylvania pols, one a former state House leader, one a current state House leader, are in the news in ways that says a lot about the state's political culture.

Wednesday, the state Democratic Party, which apparently was just informed that one of its former big dogs, one-time House Speaker H. William "Bill" DeWeese, is actually in prison, was in court asking that he be knocked off the ballot in November's election.

I suppose someone pointed out to party leaders that the state Constitution (Article II, Section 7) bars convicted felons from serving in the Legislature "or any office of trust or profit in this Commonwealth."

DeWeese was convicted in February of five felonies, including conspiracy and theft of state resources (that would be tax dollars for political and personal purposes) and was sentenced in April to 2 1/2 to 5 years in jail.

Problem is, he's on the ballot in Greene County for the House seat he resigned from on the day of his conviction.

One wonders if it took Democrats from February to Wednesday to find and have someone read them Article II, Section 7 of the Constitution.

Meanwhile, the fame of current Republican House Leader Mike Turzai spread into late-night comedy Wednesday when he was featured in a bit by Jon Stewart on Comedy Central's "The Daily Show."

You can see the whole bit here. It's the top item on the right under "all new videos."

Turzai's comment that the state's new voter ID law will "allow" Mitt Romney to win Pennsylvania this year appears about 2 minutes into the skit. After the clip, Stewart does an impression of Turzai's voice, asking, "No one is videotaping this, right?"

The skit ends after Stewart notes the state stipulates there's no evidence of in-person voter fraud in Pennsylvania and then suggests the state is passing laws it doesn't need.

He offers: "Next up. Leash laws for unicorns!"

Ah, Pennsylvania. Dems in prison. Republicans in power. Both making news.

I love this state.


Daily News Political Columnist
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About this blog
John Baer has been covering politics and government for the Daily News since 1987. The National Journal in 2002 called Baer one of the country's top 10 political journalists outside Washington, saying Baer has, "the ability to take the skin off a politician without making it hurt too much." E-mail John at

John is the author of the book "On The Front Lines of Pennsylvania Politics: Twenty-Five Years of Keystone Reporting" (The History Press, 2012). Reach John at

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
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