Tuesday, September 23, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Change?

Election results from Tuesday make it seem as though everyone is happy with the status quo.

Change?

Even a casual look at election results from Tuesday would suggest that on a national and state level everyone is happy with things the way they are.

You'd think there was little if any concern about the sour economy, health-care issues, unemployment rates, etc., as voters across the country and the Commonwealth embraced the status quo.

As I've mentioned before, the Center for Responsive Politics estimates about $6 billion was spent on races for president and Congress, and we end up exactly where we were before the election cycle began: Obama, Democratic Senate, Republican House.

Think that bodes well for change?

In Pennsylvania, despite complaints of a do-nothing Congress, voters across the state reelected incumbents from Sen. Bob Casey to members of the House with the exception of first-term Democrat Mark Critz -- ousted by a tea party-type Republican, Keith Rothfus, in a southwestern district long served by the late Jack Murtha.

And the state Legislature remains Republican; House and Senate incumbents will come tumbling back to town. Look for more of the same from them.

The only evidence of any change was in the race for state attorney general, won for the first time by a Democrat and a woman, Kathleen Kane, who got a boost by running against Gov. Corbett's handling of the Jerry Sandusky case and promising an investigation of same.

How much of a boost did she get?

Kane outpolled every other Democrat on the ballot, including Obama, collecting 3,005,522 votes in beating her GOP opponent Dave Freed.

And perhaps prophetically, her total vote exceeds that of a past candidate for attorney general: when Corbett won reelection as AG in 2008, he collected 3,002,927 votes -- the most won by any Republican running for any office in state history.

(Kane can't make a similar historic claim among Democratic candidates.)

So, after all the barking and boasting about "real change" and "taking back" the country, after consistent complaints (mostly from me) about an over-large, under-performing, over-perked Legislature, there's no change at all in the political structure running the nation or the state.

So settle in for more of the same. But watch to see if Kane is able to shake a few things up.

 

 

 

 

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
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 baerj@phillynews.com.

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 baerj@phillynews.com.

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
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