Saturday, July 4, 2015

Corbett Channeling Bush?

The Republican Guv says working with Republicans is the hardest things he's ever had to do. Sounds a little like the second President Bush.

Corbett Channeling Bush?

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The Associate Press reported Tuesday that Republican Gov. Corbett believes that maybe the hardest job he's ever had is working with Republican lawmakers in Harrisburg.

The guv, during an interview with KDKA radio in Pittsburgh, said that just like Democrats, Republicans have factions and that "getting them all on the same page, working in the same direction is probably the most difficult job I've ever had to do."

Three things.

First, both chambers of the Legislature are controlled by Republicans, which is why Corbett won approval for stuff like a voter ID bill and favorable treatment for the natural gas driving business.

Second, I was reminded of the second President Bush who, in a debate with Sen. John Kerry during Bush's 2004 successful reelection run, famously said (11 times) that being president is "hard work."

Third, lots of people have jobs (if they're lucky) that are difficult and "hard work." It just never feels right to me when those who sought a job in high office, who are paid, housed and generously perked by taxpayers, complain about the problems they are so well compensated to deal with.

I understand governing isn't easy.

But Corbett's most difficult job "ever" isn't facing the often diverse views, wants and needs of lawmakers when it comes to big or controversial policy changes. The problem is Corbett hasn't yet learned (or hired the people who know) how to use such diversity to advantage, how to compromise in order to get some, most of even all of what he wants -- or even (so far) how to forcefully lead on key issues to improve the state.

Plus, it's symptomatic of a basic Corbett political shortcoming that he publicly implies the fault for his stalled agenda -- on issues such as vouchers, charter schools and liquor privatization -- lies with members of his own party who, by the way, he needs in order to get anything.

Governing is hard work. Dealing with any legislative body is difficult. But a good first step is working with, rather than openly dissing, one's political allies.

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 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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