Friday, October 9, 2015

Selling Voter ID

The Corbett administration is using tax dollars to sell its voter ID law; why not do the same with other controversial issues?

Selling Voter ID


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

JB: Boss, see that City Paper report Monday and our own Will Bunch blog about it?

BE: On the taxpayer-funded TV spots to sell the new voter ID bill?

JB: Bingo. A politically-connected Harrisburg lobbying firm got a $249,660 contract for apparently two spots pitching the new law as the next best thing to freedom. You can see the spots here and here.

BE: Seems like a good way to sell something. People like TV.

JB: Which is why I'm thinking the effort should be expanded to other controversial issues.

BE: Such as?

JB: The expansion of the Castle Doctrine law giving gun owners more freedom to fire when ready. How about a TV ad showing a series of smiling pistol packers confident and comfortable as they drive through the city or lounge on their porches while soft music plays and a narrator says something like, "Our freedom to shoot people who we think threaten us is a God-given right that Pennsylvania's new law protects. Lock and load. And live free."

BE: Could work. Let people know their rights.

JB: Exactly. Same with ending general assistance to the poor. A nice soft spot showing neighbors, churches and hospitals opening their doors to those in need: "In Pennsylvania, we're promoting community and personal responsibility while saving tax dollars. When we end general assistance, we open doors. Because when we all work together, we can stop the suffering of the less fortunate and save money at the same time. No taxes, but no pain. The Pennsylvania way."

BE: I like it.

JB: I knew you would. How about selling the Shell deal? Lots of photos of people working. People smiling at ATM's as they withdraw wads of cash. Upbeat music. "In Pennsylvania, we're giving billions to big business so that they'll give billions to us. Corporations are our future. Their only interest is in serving people. As Mitt Romney says, `corporations are people, my friend.' Well, we're making sure you've got friends in Pennsylvania."

BE: Could start a whole new trend.

JB: Yep. Governing by hucksterism.



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

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

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