John Baer: Yo, nobody's perfect

Santorum 2012
FILE - In this April 2, 2012 file photo, then-Republican presidential candidate, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum speaks in Shawano, Wis. Days into his new role as presumptive Republican presidential nominee, Mitt Romney has initiated a months-long search for a running mate, an effort to be guided as much by his methodical corporate-based approach as the shadows of Sarah Palin. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

OK, KIDS, here's my annual mea culpa for mistakes of fact or judgment made in columns during the year now ending - and save the cracks about how I need the whole edition of today's Daily News.

First, I was wrong about Rick Santorum.

Back in January, I wrote that Rick's top-tier finish in the Iowa caucuses (he eventually was declared winner by one-tenth of 1 percent) was meaningless, and predicted he'd be gone ere long.

Turns out he hung out until just before Pennsylvania's April primary, which was much longer than I thought he'd hang.

I should have sensed - in a cycle that lifted Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich and Donald Trump to front-runner status - that all things, however inane, were possible, even likely.

Live and learn.

Second, in July, in the middle of the multilevel mess surrounding Pennsylvania's new voter-ID law, I added to the confusion.

I wrote that those who showed up to vote in November without valid photo ID and cast a "provisional" ballot would have six days to get to PennDOT and prove their legitimacy.

In fact, such voters would need to get to their county boards of elections first and then to PennDOT for a photo ID.

It was a sloppy mistake.

Third, in August, writing about the GOP convention keynote address by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a possible future candidate for president, I mentioned past convention speakers whose keynotes helped launch presidential bids.

Former New Jersey Sen. Bill Bradley, for example, gave a Democratic keynote in 1992 and later ran for president. And an Illinois state senator, Barack Obama, gave his party's 2004 address and ran in 2008.

But my error in that Christie column was in writing that Ronald Reagan gave the keynote speech at the 1964 Republican convention. He did not. It was given by Oregon Sen. Mark Hatfield.

Reagan did give a televised speech that year in support of GOP candidate Barry Goldwater, but it was in October, not at the convention.

You'd think anyone with access to the Internet, let alone a salaried journalist, would get it right, eh?

Another case of my bad.

In a December column mentioning Harrisburg's fiscal fiasco, I wrote that the city faces $340 million in debt. But that's just debt connected to its controversial incinerator. Total debt reportedly is $1 billion-plus.

Both numbers are from the Harrisburg Patriot-News. I should have used and attributed both, and/or done more research.

Again, just plain sloppy.

The Corbett administration says I was dead wrong in a column run earlier this month about its ongoing legal fight with the Associated Press and the state Office of Open Records (OOR) over access to the governor's schedule and certain OOR authority.

I labeled it a "lawsuit" because it's before Commonwealth Court: "Office of the Governor v. [AP reporter] Mark Scolforo."

The administration says it's not suing anybody, including Scolforo - just exercising an "administrative-law appeal"; this despite the fact that the case is before a court, not an administrative agency, and names Scolforo, not the Associated Press.

I'm willing to compromise.

I'll concede that maybe I'm missing some techno-legal nuance, and promise henceforth not to refer to this as a "lawsuit."

I'll refer to it as a stunning waste of time, effort, legal fees and court hearings perpetrated by an obdurate administration, one that came into office promising more-transparent government but that now sees fit to fight in court against transparency and the very entities that provide it.

Oh, and Happy New Year.

 


Email: baerj@phillynews.com

Blog: philly.com/BaerGrowls

Columns: philly.com/JohnBaer