Thursday, July 24, 2014
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The Wrath of Corb

Atty. Gen. Kane's decision to nix Gov. Corbett's lottery deal will set off a political war likely to include `the wrath of Corb.'

The Wrath of Corb

Gov. Tom Corbett on Friday, Jan. 11, 2013, in Plymouth Meeting, Pa.  (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Gov. Tom Corbett on Friday, Jan. 11, 2013, in Plymouth Meeting, Pa. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke) AP

Okay, it could be seen as The Wrath of Kane (Kahn) but it'll certainly draw The Wrath of Corb.

Democratic Attorney General Kathleen Kane's decision announced Thursday to nix Republican Gov. Corbett's lottery deal sets off a war.

This is, after all, the state's new top lawyer telling the state's old top lawyer that he either doesn't know or understand state law or is trying to weasel his way around it to push his penchant for privatization.

Public reaction was relatively restrained. The Guv said he was "deeply disappointed" in a decision he disagrees with. GOP legislative leaders used mush words, mostly because they're pee-oed the Guv can't stand to work with them.

Behind the scenes, reaction included assertions Kane is showing herself to be a typical Democrat protecting unions, including AFSCME, which contributed to her 2012 campaign and which represents employees who could lose their jobs if the lottery deal goes through.

It's hard for Corbett to publicly assert this given his take from the natural gas industry which he's coddled since taking office. But anti-union folks and true GOP believers will, you know, believe Kane's playing the same old game.

Kane did herself no good when she declined to answer questions following her announcement, suggesting she's uncomfortable with the facts or unwilling to address the politics.

Corbett did himself no good when he said 25% of the state's population will be over 65 by 2017, suggesting he's uninformed about his own state's demographics. It's 15% now. Unless he thinks fracking ages people quickly, it won't be 25% in four years.

Next, no doubt, comes more legal fees from taxpayers for outside counsel to appeal Kane's decision in state courts, which, of course, delays yet another state issue for who knows how long and eats up more effort, time and resources that could be spent on critical issues such as the pension problem, education or transportation funding.

And Kane, who has started her reign with a double-barreled bang (going after guns by closing the Florida loophole; going after Corbett by slapping down his deal), is drawing praise from the left and wrath from the right.

"Blatantly political," said GOP state party director Mike Barley who accused Kane of putting "union bosses and Harrisburg Democrats" ahead of opportunities to bring in more funding for senior-citizen programs.

Meanwhile, Democrats across the state lauded the decision, and one wag quipped, "finally, an attorney general with balls."

But make no mistake, this is but the beginning, it means war and it'll draw, overtly or sub rosa, the certain `Wrath of Corb.'

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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