Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The Next PSU Prez

The Penn State child-abuse scandal is fueling speculation about a new university president: options are starting to show up.

The Next PSU Prez

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

JB: Yo, chief, see that AP report citing an ESPN report that former Guv Tom Ridge might be in the running for president of Penn State?

BE: I did. And assuming the child-sex scandal swallows current prez Graham Spanier, Ridge might be a good choice, no?

JB: Well, the two-term former GOP Guv no doubt still has broad support among state residents. He's a Harvard grad so we know he has some brain power. He's a lawyer so presumably he knows the law; that could prove helpful.

BE: And, of course, he was homeland security boss post 9/11. Hey, maybe he could create a color code up there. You know, have coaches, faculty, staff wear different color buttons indicating risk levels of sexual deviancy and...

JB: Whoa, whoa! Just ONE guy is charged with pedophilia.

BE: Sorry. Hard not to get carried away on this story.

JB: That's better. Also, a colleague yesterday suggested another possible new prez.

BE: A Roman Catholic bishop?

JB: No, no. Rick Santorum.

BE: Santorum?!?! Pretty close to the same thing. But it would fulfill my prediction that Santorum will be president some day.

JB: Think it through. He's a PSU grad, has an MBA from Pitt, a law degree from Dickinson, which is now a PSU law school, is a former member of the U.S. House and Senate, has tons of PA connections, knows how to raise money, is full or moral rectitude and, clearly, wants to be president of something.

BE: Yeah, but I'm pretty sure the university's gay, lesbian and transgender community wouldn't be overly happy with such a choice.

JB: Can't please everybody.

BE: True. And, you know, either Ridge or Santorum would offer a nice twist of history.

JB: How so, history buff?

BE: Well, Woodrow Wilson was president of Princeton before he ran for governor of New Jersey and later president of the United States. Ridge was governor first. Santorum ran for president first. See? A flip of the old career-path coin.

JB: Well, I think the odds of a new prez are better than the flip of a coin. And I think the list of candidates is likely to grow pretty fast.

BE: Hey, what about Rendell?

JB: Don't give me a line like that. Grrrr.





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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