Friday, September 4, 2015

Silly Democrats or silly Corbett?

Dems are splashing Corbett with suggestions he misused a police helicopter to attend a NASCAR race. Who's sillier, Dems or the Guv?

Silly Democrats or silly Corbett?


Okay, listen, you be the judge.

Whiney Democrats, looking for any and all reasons to snipe at Gov. Corbett, this week tagged the Guv for using a State Police helicopter to get to a NASCAR race last weekend at Pocono Raceway.

Hey, traffic around that thing is rough.

In a press release, the state party asked if Corbett's taking travel lessons from fellow-Republican Chris Christie who got flack two years ago for twice using a state helicopter to attend his son's baseball games.

Christie refunded New Jersey some $2,100 for the faux pas.

But Corbett's clan says PA's guv was invited to the race in his official capacity, that the State Police planned copter use around the track anyway and that Corbett's quick hop to and from only cost taxpayers $156 (which, candidly, seems a tad low).

WNEP-TV's report can be seen here. A Patriot-News report is here.

Now I'm pretty sure lots of GOP partisans will immediately think of President Obama's use of tax dollars to fly himself and sometimes his family all over the world. But, hey, that's what president's do.

And Democrats, however desperate to tar Corbett, certainly understand that all governors routinely travel around their states for various functions, and sometimes for fun.

What is unmentioned in any reports regarding Corbett's chopper jaunt is that he opted for NASCAR instead of the National Governors Association summer meeting last weekend in Milwaukee.

One could argue that meeting with other governors on issues such as education and health is a better idea for a serious executive than watching men (and women) in cars go around in circles at high rates of speed.

One could also argue that most NASCAR fans are closer to Corbett's political base than issue wonks.

So, on one hand, Dems look a little silly for hitting the Guv for his race-day jaunt; and the Guv looks a little silly for handing Dems anything new to whine about while he seeks to claw his way back into overall public favor.

That's the thing about politics: there's plenty of silly to go around.

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

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
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