Monday, January 26, 2015

No Water for Elephants

Is Harrisburg's water shutdown part of a Democratic plot?

No Water for Elephants

(A brief discussion twixt Baer & Baer's editor, a.k.a. BE)

JB: Maybe it's a plot.

BE: Oh, boy, what now?

JB: The Capitol is shut down for a second day today, ALLEGEDLY because of some water-main break in Harrisburg.

BE: No water in Harrisburg? That's not new. Isn't Harrisburg a fallow field of ideas? A barren wasteland of leadership? A desert of decency? A sand dune of dummies? A badlands of ...

JB: OK, OK, I get it. Yes, it is all of those things. But this is different. Don't you think it's interesting that as Republicans who control the governor's office and the legislature shape up a budget to crush the constitutencies of Democrats, I mean teachers, unions, poor people, that suddenly, the Capitol is closed?

BE: Water breaks happen.

JB: Yeah, but this one, now two, TWO water-main breaks, supposedly was a "contractor" making a mistake. This in a city run by Democrats, including the embattled Democratic mayor, Linda "hell-no-I-won't-go" Thompson.

BE: Why the nickname?

JB: Oh, she's under fire from a local group that wants her to resign because the city's turning into a little third-world nation along the Susquehanna. It's buried in debt, operating under a distressed-city law, faces bankruptcy and now has no water. I expect to soon see residents washing clothes along the riverbank. Yet the mayor's mostly invisible, except when being defiant. Check out this photo of her in office overlooking an ouster protest earlier this year.

BE: So now you're thinking she shut off water to the Capitol to help keep the city afloat? That makes no sense whatsoever.

JB: That's because YOU don't understand how much Republicans, a.k.a. Elephants, rely on water. They need to water down their facts, wash out union contracts, dilute the truth and frack for shale.

BE: I really think you need a nice, long break.

JB: Like the break that stopped the water?

BE: I'm sure the water will be restored.

JB: Maybe. But right now, there's no water for elephants. Grrrr!

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

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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