Saturday, March 28, 2015

Oh, It's On!

Corbett & Rendell tangle over job figures, a bus and, indirectly, new rules on environmental protection.

Oh, It's On!

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

JB: You just knew it would come to this. Corbett is drawing Eddie out.

BE: I saw that: the bus, job numbers, that Marcellus thing. He'd been biting his tongue since Corbett took office.

JB: Well, Corbett has punched a hole in the bottom of the pickle barrel. The juice is starting to leak.

BE: What?

JB: It's a metaphor.

BE: You mean Eddie's the barrel and the barrel's now leaking sour, distasteful juice on Corbett's feet?

JB: Yeah, whatever. And it might be just the start, even though Eddie said he'd not comment unless attacked.

BE: Well, Corbett dumped his bus!

JB: Which raises two questions. Why did Eddie let a broken-down bus just sit there? Why didn't he get rid of it? And why'd Corbett, who's not exactly a press conference machine, hold a press conference on a silly issue like a bus when the state has real problems?

BE: There are 50 ways. Hop on the bus, Gus. No need to discuss much.

JB: Yeah, except those job numbers. After the bus-dump, Ed got on a press call with reporters and then got into the numbers. Corbett says we're 47th in job creation. Eddie says we're 7th and 3rd in jobs added last year.

BE: Big difference. Who's right?

JB: Guess it depends whether you've got a job or not. But Ed's numbers are from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics and mostly backed up in a report last month by the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center, a self-proclaimed non-partisan (but i think left-leaning) think tank using the same source to say we're 3rd in jobs created last year; though it says we're 12th in job performance. It's really unclear where Corbett's numbers come from.

BE: The Marcellus Shale Coalition?

JB: Which, by the by, seems happy with a new state policy reported by Pro Publica and detailed in today's Inky that says any field enforcement of shale drilling's environmental impact must first be approved by Corbett's guy at the Department of Environmental Protection.

BE: Sounds like gas-control.

JB: Or a gassy release. Ed's former DEP director, John Hanger, calls it "unwise" and says it'll erode public confidence that the state's really protecting the environment.

BE: But the DEP says it's just trying to add consistency to its enforcement.

JB: And critics say (and how long before we hear from Ed on this?) there's already consistency and it's all pro-gas.

BE: So it's on.

JB: Oh, it's on. Grrr.


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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