Friday, August 1, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Planning Ahead?

Bill DeWeese appears to be thinking about his future.

Planning Ahead?

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

JB: Boy that Bill DeWeese is always planning ahead.

BE: Bill DeWeese as in the former state House Speaker and former Democratic Whip from way out there in southwestern Greene County?

JB: That's the one.

BE: Bill DeWeese as in the state representative re-elected last November despite being charged in 2009 with theft, conspiracy and conflict of interest in the sweeping corruption investigation run by then-Atty. Gen. and now-Gov. Tom Corbett?

JB: Yes! Yes! Bill DeWeese, thesaurus-master and glad-hander extraordinaire. That one.

BE: How is he planning ahead?

JB: Well, apparently with a straight face, he told the online news service capitolwire.com that the time has come for the Legislature to pass major alternative sentencing reforms to keep white-collar criminals out of prison.

BE: Wow, that is planning ahead. I bet John Perzel will be a strong supporter.

JB: Yep. DeWeese said people "that are so talented" can be doing other things rather than rotting in prison cells.

BE: Like running scams on behalf of taxpayers instead of against them?

JB: No, he suggested "running a food bank in Philadelphia" or making sure "that our highways are less littered."

BE: Hmmm. Free food and fresh air. Sounds better than group showers with angry men. Maybe he's on to something.

JB: Apparently so. The very next day, Corbett cancelled construction of a new $200 million prison in DeWeese's district.

BE: A former prosecutor saying no to prison?

JB: Strange times, my brother.

BE: What's DeWeese say to that?

JB: Says it's all politics and retribution for DeWeese claiming that Corbett used his prosecutor's powers to gain the governorship.

BE: Maybe Corbett's simply telling DeWeese "you can't go home again."

JB: Maybe. But it sounds like DeWeese'd rather hand out food in Philly and pick up trash along the Blue Route.

BE: Which would make him the most productive legislator of his generation.

JB: 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 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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