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Election Blue Wave? More like a blur wave

Despite an embarrassingly partisan media’s best effort to concoct a “Blue Wave” Democrat Party – sweep of the US Election that thankfully, blessedly ended last night, what  really resulted is a ‘blur wave’.

A wave for sure, as there was a lot of change, but a blur, because a lot of seats in both parties flipped. This change is a blur, neither blue nor red.

True, the Dems take the US House, but not by a whole lot and only by winning a handful of congressional seats, each by the narrowest of margins, like a 1% difference. That is a split and very narrowly divided electorate.

And the Rs gained big in the US Senate, now holding a huge lead there, where they will continue to hold public hearings and confirm administration nominees with alacrity and uninterrupted.

Historically, mid-term elections result in a shellacking for the incumbent president’s party. That did not happen yesterday, not by a long shot. A very divided electorate likes President Donald Trump, a lot, and also allowed long-time incumbent politicians in both parties to both stay in hostile territory and get bumped off in friendly territory.

It is truly a mixed message.

No distinct color won. A blur wave resulted. Kind of how America was designed to operate.

Feeling vindicated feels good

Like genuine apologies, vindication for having taken an unpopular but principled stand comes all too infrequently. And boy does it feel good.

Ten years ago, after an adulthood spent in politics of some sort or another, I finally became personally engaged in electoral politics.

In 2009, after the first six months of the disastrous Obama presidency AKA The Eight Years War Against The US Constitution, I decided to run against the local and then-incumbent Blue Dog Democrat congressman, Tim Holden. Holden had become a symbol of Obama and how radicalism was overthrowing the Democrat Party of old.

Just a handful of years before that, I had been the keynote speaker at Holden’s first and only debate with then-incumbent George Gekas, a fairly conservative Republican from Harrisburg.

After giving what I heard from many audience members was the best speech they had ever heard (no lie, no brag, and I did it in shorts and sandals), about my experience helping create the Flight 93 memorial, I then sat down next to that conservative Democrat and gave him advice on how to beat Gekas at that debate.

Here I was, an active Republican from a prominent local Republican family, sitting at the dais, next to the Democrat challenger of one of our family’s longest political friends, whom I had just publicly called “a formerly close family friend,” giving advice to Holden, which he effectively employed that day.

Holden went on to beat Gekas that Fall in a Republican-dominated congressional district, with a balance of pro-Life, pro-gun Democrats. It was Gekas’ seat to lose, and he did lose it.

Schuylkill County Sheriff Tim Holden represented the grass roots at that time, and he garnered an overwhelming number of Republican votes. Holden was a staunch pro-business, Second Amendment advocate and he earned his blue collar support in every other way, too.  He crushed Gekas.

What had made me turn against a long-time political ally and family friend, Congressman Gekas? Probably the same things that made so many other Republicans vote against him. He had become what today we would identify as an ossified establishment politician, a careerist who would show up to vote and to eat at every free lunch, and who would do very little else.

Gekas and I had met together earlier that year, and I had left his office seething with anger at how selfish and self-serving he had made himself. Where had the patriot gone? Where was the campaigning small-business owner, the Everyman who everyone could identify with, regardless of political party?

In today’s parlance, Gekas had gone DC Swamp, and as a result he had lost my support. Back then I would not have said it in those terms, but the bottom line was that he had made the seat all about him, and not his constituents or the principles that made America great, and which I had seen first-hand were under serious assault in Washington.

Fast forward a handful of years later, and I myself was itching to run against the then-incumbent congressman, Tim Holden, Democrat from Schuylkill County.

By then Holden’s party had become the majority, and Holden was voting with radical Nancy Pelosi 93% of the time. Not the 55/45% he had done previously.

So much for the independent-minded Blue Dog Democrat! Holden had gone DC Swamp, too, and the region was on fire to get rid of him.

In 2009 I declared myself a candidate for US Congress and ended up running in a four-way primary race. At the end of the race our campaign did not win, but we finished very strongly third (with the two top vote-getters within a few hundred votes of one another). A lot of politicos and lobbyists complimented our grass roots campaign. The highlight of that campaign was getting over 50% of the vote in that four-way race in Perry County, one of five counties in that congressional district. Perry County was then, and is now, symbolic of the American heartland, so getting the majority of their votes made me feel all-American forever.

But along the way in that race I had received some harsh words, too. Some from old friends or erstwhile political allies, admonishing me for running against the GOP-picked favorite (he was an elected official and went on to lose to Holden in what many insiders even today are convinced was a thrown race).

I had written to one of them, working as a high level appointee in DC at the time, that the grass roots was “on fire” and there was a sense of “rebellion in the air.” A few more emails exchanged between us, and I don’t think he “got it” or frankly even cared that the grass roots voters were rebelling against the ossified, elitist, self-serving political class.

This was right as what was to become the Tea Party was forming, and it all began right here in Central Pennsylvania. Berks County and Lebanon County, to be precise. We did not know what we were doing then, except that we were challenging that entrenched, deaf, self-serving political elite class that depended upon us for votes, but who would then sell us out when it came to giving in on quintessentially American principles to an increasingly radical Democrat Party.

And now here we are, mid-2018, and a huge wave of grass roots, stridently anti-establishment, pro-citizen, pro-taxpayer, pro-America-as-founded candidates are winning primary elections all over America.

And the GOPe is reeling.

Sure, they got Mittens Romney as the next US Senator in Utah, and they got a Democrat elected in Alabama over conservative Roy Moore. The GOPe was bound to win one or two. But they are not winning like they used to win ten years ago. A political revolution is taking place.

Having been at the bleeding edge of that movement\ revolution ten years ago and again and again as a state senate candidate nose-to-nose with the state GOP, and having suffered personally for it, and then partially vindicated by the PA Supreme Court in a landmark case that tossed the GOP gerrymandering plan because of my state senate district and restored me and our campaign to my original state senate district, it now feels good to be vindicated by the recent electoral successes of our ideological successors and soul mates across America.

After the past month, it turns out what at one time seemed like a very few of us are not alone in yearning for a return to the basic American values and principles that allowed for the greatest, broadest diversity of success, freedom, and opportunity the planet has ever seen. The American People are largely behind us, and seemingly increasingly so by the week.

Along with thousands of other risk-takers across America who also made sometimes costly and painful personal sacrifices to run on principle against an unprincipled bi-partisan political establishment early on, I know now that I, we, are now all vindicated. Our fellow Americans are proving this by voting for their own true interests (as opposed to the selfish interests of corporations, The Koch Brothers, unions, political parties, illegal immigrants, economic immigrants, violent jihadist immigrants, socialists, etc), and electing good people who best represent those all-America interests and values.

And that feels good.

Sometimes a threesome just sucks

Welp. Primary Election Day is now behind us. Thank God.

Yesterday’s bright moment was Andrew Lewis running and winning against a large part of the GOP establishment in the 105th State House District.

It lies around out through Harrisburg’s eastern suburbs and could easily swing “RINO,” but yesterday it did not. Proving the power of staying positive and of doing door-to-door, Lewis impressed so many voters that many of them eagerly relayed to us volunteer poll workers their happy experiences meeting him at their home’s front door.

That said, much of yesterday’s political outcomes were unfortunate, for those of us who trust and hope in We, The People and who have learned not to trust the GOP establishment.

Woody Allen once quipped “I believe in relationships. Love between two people is a beautiful thing. Between three, it’s fantastic.”

Well, sometimes that truism just doesn’t hold water, and nowhere was this observation more evident than the results from yesterday’s political threesomes in Pennsylvania.

As we political watchers and participants have seen repeatedly, and as I myself have experienced as a candidate for office, three-way races can and often do allow liberal Republicans to prevail. And in fact, it now seems that the threesome approach is a significant strategy for GOPe candidates.

Yesterday, Dan Meuser won the PA 9th congressional district election (he lives in the 8th District) through the benefit of the two grass roots candidates  (Halcovage and Uehlinger) each siphoning off sufficient votes to allow the establishment candidate to get the plurality. There is some question out there about whether Uehlinger was, in fact, a conservative, or even a Republican; despite getting in the race first, his campaign seemed the least organized. Halcovage was not terribly organized, either, and did not respond to important questionnaires from interest groups. Firearms Owners Against Crime advised voters to select only Meuser of the three candidates.

Actually, Meuser may have obtained more than 50% of the vote, which is an indication that he might have won on his own merits (e.g. he was the only candidate deemed acceptable on Second Amendment rights to FOAC). All his negatives notwithstanding.

One lesson for sure comes out of that particular three-way race: If you cannot present yourself as an organized, credible candidate, then please spare everyone the drama and do not run.

People who wake up on some Thursday morning and say “What the heck, I am gonna run for office” have every right to do so, but recognize that there are consequences to this. Better to have a one-on-one clear choice for the voters. We will almost always have an establishment candidate, so pick the one best grass roots candidate as The People’s champion, and chase off the rest.

In the PA governor’s race, liberal dark horse Laura Ellsworth knew she had no chance of winning. I mean, with liberal policy positions like hers, she should run as a Democrat (she said she would not accept money from the NRA). But run she did, and though she obtained less than 20% of the vote, she siphoned off sufficient votes (especially in Western PA) from true conservative and US Army veteran Paul Mango to get Scott Wagner the plurality.

Mango is from western PA and would have otherwise obtained most of Ellsworth’s votes.

Yesterday I was a volunteer poll worker from 7:00 AM until 7:35PM in the Harrisburg area.

What I heard from GOP voters (and mostly from women over 50 years old) at several different polls was that they were angry at both Mango and Wagner for all the negative ads. They knew Ellsworth was liberal, but they were voting for her as an alternative to the two boys engaged in distasteful roughhousing.

Wasn’t this a variable we were picking up from women voters weeks ago? Yes.

Did someone pay Ellsworth to run? One asks, because she knew her chances were very low to nil, that her liberal ideas and policy positions are way out of synch with the vast majority of Republican voters.

Ellsworth the Spoiler has now burned her bridges with about 40% of the state’s Republican super voters, which even the most obtuse political nerds would expect as a logical outcome.

So why else was she in it? One cannot help but wonder if she was paid to play the spoiler. It was done in the last race I ran in….by someone involved in the race she ran in…so…

When we look at Idaho’s primary yesterday, a similar scene unfolded. The unlikely liberal GOPe candidate beat the conservative, by way of siphoning of votes by a third candidate who himself had no hope of winning.

Folks, the only way these third candidates can run is if they are independently wealthy and just yee-haw running for office; or, they are willing to sacrifice their name in one race by trying to build it up for a future run at some other office; or, most likely, they have “other” sources of income or promises made to reward them for playing the spoiler in the current race.

So, as we move into a more experienced and savvy grass roots political landscape, begun just ten years ago as the “tea party,” we are learning that our own strength can be used against us judo-like by the same corrupt political establishment we are trying to defeat.

Threesome races may look democratic, and it is true that every American has the right to run for office. But sometimes appearances can be deceiving. Sometimes those threesomes are designed to undermine the conservative grass roots candidate, and to help the plain vanilla milquetoast establishment candidate win.

Sometimes political threesomes just plain suck. And not in a good way. They can be designed to exploit the big-hearted nature of so many grass roots activists, so that their enemy, the GOPe, can win.

Lesson learned.

Vote for the Boy Scouts tomorrow

While the Boy Scouts are not actually running for office in tomorrow’s primary election, the principles of that venerable American institution are certainly being voted on.

Voted on in the sense that there are candidates who are go-along get-along types, for whom holding elected office is a career, a business opportunity, an ego boost (let’s call all these types “swamp dwellers”).

And then there are candidates for whom holding elected office is a sacred duty of service to one’s fellow citizens. These candidates stand on the bedrock principles that founded America and which make it great. These principles are bound up in the fabric of our institutions, like the Boy Scouts, which taught those values and ideas (self-reliance, accountability, community).

Last week about eight people on the national board of the Boy Scouts of America voted once again to give in to extremist demands aimed at gutting everything the Boy Scouts stand for.

This time this small handful of people voted to change the name of the Boy Scouts to just “Scouts,” paving the way for an undefined, politically correct, genderless soup standing for vague good feelings. Maybe. At the cost of boyhood.

As one might expect, those Americans with the greatest connection to the Boy Scouts as founded have now begun to officially withdraw from the “new” organization. The Mormons were right up front in their abandonment of the sinking ship. Good for them. My own son just found out about it last night. After seven happy years in the Boy Scouts, he said “I do not want to do this, I do not want to participate in this. This is not what I signed up for.”

How incredibly painful.

The gutting of the Boy Scouts is symbolic of the leftist ailment we are experiencing across America and the liberal civil war being forced upon all normal and good Americans.

Those representatives who are supposed to be on the front line, defending us from constant assaults, are actually AWOL or worse, whether they are elected in politics or sitting on non-profit boards.

Across America we see people get elected to office, and they have no intention of doing anything except holding that office. Or worse, using it for self-enrichment or cultural destruction. What is happening on the Boy Scouts board is exactly what is happening across America.

Tomorrow I will be working a voting poll, helping two candidates I like, for the simple reason I believe they are tough enough to stop our bleeding, stop our cultural deflation, good enough to use public office for public benefit. They are Paul Mango and Andrew Lewis.

Locally, here is who I will be or would be voting for:

Paul Mango for governor. Paul is a good guy, a US Army veteran, rated more conservative than his two opponents. Laura Ellsworth is rated as “Liberal,” and moderate state senator Scott Wagner has become the very swamp creature he said he was against.

Peg Luksik for Lieutenant Governor.

Andrew Lewis for state house. Andrew is a fine young man, a US Army veteran, with strong character. His opponent, liberal Adam Klein, is the very essence of the political establishment swamp destroying Pennsylvanians’ hopes, dreams, and rightful expectations.

Either George Halcovage or Scott Uehlinger for Congress, over Dan Meuser. Dan has so many issues, some of which have been listed on this blog, his candidacy is an example of why diligent citizen action is required to hold on to our government. Meuser is DC swamp through and through.

Both Lou Barletta and Jim Christiana are rated as “somewhat conservative,” and neither one impresses very much through some particular distinction. On the one hand, Barletta has earned a good name for himself on illegal immigration (i.e. protecting US taxpayers’ and citizens’ rights), while Christiana is a young go-getter. Either one will be superior to political careerist disaster Bob Casey.

Tomorrow, while I am voting for and supporting particular candidates as a volunteer poll watcher, I am inwardly doing it for the old Boy Scouts and everything they stood for.

I want my America back. I want the old-fashioned values  on which America was founded. I want the Boy Scouts back. Voting for these people above helps us move Pennsylvania and America in that positive direction.

 

Laura Ellsworth for Governor?

Attorney Laura Ellsworth is running for governor of Pennsylvania.

I have heard her speak at length, and heard her debate, and she is impressive. She is the kind of person I would want representing me as a lawyer: Articulate, earnest, knowledgeable.

She would also make an interesting college professor, or a policy think tank analyst.

But is she right for governor of Pennsylvania? As a Republican?

Polls by everyone – Democrats, Republicans, independent research firms, including your aunt and your auto mechanic, show Ellsworth getting somewhere between five hundred votes and five percent of the primary vote on May 15th.

Not nearly enough to win by any way possible. Mango is barely trailing Wagner by a percent or two, statistically tied.

Laura Ellsworth is as liberal policy-wise as her choice for US president in 2016, John Kasich, who she joyfully announced she wrote in on her November 2016 ballot (i.e. she did not vote for Trump).

She is big on gun confiscation from law-abiding citizens, one of those big government elitist feel-good actions that has zero relationship to crime reduction and lots of conflict with the constitution.

She has the foolish America-is-too-big-to-fail attitude toward illegal immigration, which she does not oppose.

She is in lock-step with the teacher’s unions on a variety of policies, not the least of which is continuing Pennsylvania’s broken and punitive property tax system that leaves about ten thousand elderly grandmas kicked out of their own homes every year to pay some teacher’s gold-plated pension.

None of these are conservative policy positions.

And Ellsworth refuses to talk substantively about the bigger political and cultural context, the larger world surrounding Pennsylvania. Such as the criminalization of policy differences through phony investigations as the Democrat Party’s new approach to losing elections (which is what the Communists successfully did in Europe). Such as the implications of the illegal, unconstitutional Mueller witch hunt. It is as if Ellsworth lives in a Western Pennsylvania bubble full of cool ideas.

This is hardly the stuff a worthy, sturdy governor is made of.

Then again, she has now been endorsed by former governor Tom Corbett, one of the modern era’s most failed, incompetent, though ethical, governors.

Because of his grossly negligent political incompetence and 40-grit sandpaper communication style, Corbett was soundly rejected by his own Republican voters in his quest for a second term in 2014. So accepting his blessing to run for governor is like lighting yourself on fire and then hoping someone nearby has a fire extinguisher.

By the obvious measure of the Republican electorate’s mood, Ellsworth is willfully tilting at windmills here. She is not a serious candidate.

Yesterday I had an illuminating conversation about this governor’s race with a long-time woman friend. She is a lawyer and a lobbyist, smart as hell, articulate, principled and tough. She was a Paul Mango supporter.

She said that watching Paul Mango and Scott Wagner duke it out with negative ads was like watching two school boys fighting at recess, with all the other students standing around yelling, and she doesn’t like it.

So she is going to vote for Ellsworth, as a protest.

When I pointed out that voting for Ellsworth is literally throwing away your vote, and most likely helping Scott Wagner get elected, she sighed deeply.

“I know. I feel like I can’t win here.”

I don’t think my friend is alone. Most older women do not like conflict, especially this kind of warfare going on between Mango and Wagner.

With about 40% of the likely Republican voters still uncommitted to any candidate here, there might be a lot more women voters like my friend than we expect.

Tell you what, as a conservative Republican voter for a long, long time, I have never been in this position before. It is a bittersweet feeling.

Never before have I seen a situation where the third candidate made it likely that the most explosive, confrontational, wrecking-ball candidate would get elected. But that is what is likely happening here.

If enough people like my friend vote for Ellsworth, then Ellsworth will end up taking away just enough votes from Mango to help Wagner win.

While I am supporting Mango, the fact is that Scott Wagner will be better on most policies than current governor Tom Wolf. And a lot, lot more destructive of the political establishment than Mango will ever be. Usually, it is the other way around in three-way elections, where the most liberal establishment candidate gets elected due to the presence of the third candidate.

So once again, politics makes strange bedfellows and it is full of irony. Laura Ellsworth is such a liberal candidate that her candidacy will cause the most confrontational, anti-liberal, anti-establishment candidate to get elected to governor. You could not write a political thriller more complicated and unlikely than this.

Why I am voting for Paul Mango for governor, and not for Scott Wagner

When I stood out for twelve hours in the freezing weather four years ago, handing out Scott Wagner for Senate brochures at a polling place in York County, I was helping Pennsylvania elect someone to state government who promised to remain independent of political party leaders and the insider dealings that are the despicable hallmark of Pennsylvania Republican party politics.

Within a few months of Wagner’s historic upset win over a creaky establishment, I began to regret his obvious character flaws. And then six months later I had the unfortunate experience of having Wagner lie through omission to my face.

“Yeah, I know John DiSanto,” said Wagner.

What Wagner did not say was that he was aggressively promoting DiSanto as a would-be candidate for state senate. Fast forward another six months, and DiSanto was on track to be the state senator for the 15th district. He has been a huge improvement over the former senator, Rob Teplitz, a political radical out of place here in this region who was also dedicated to his constituents.  I have no real hard feelings about DiSanto now bearing the burden of serving in state government, as it comes with big personal costs that I realize I would not want.

But I saw then that Scott Wagner was not the straight-up guy a lot of us believed he was when we worked hard to get him elected.

Wagner has this habit of ascribing to himself full responsibility for his material and political successes. As a capitalist I applaud anyone who can and does leave to their son or nephew a running business and millions of dollars. And I also applaud those people who are strong enough to take those inheritances and build on them, instead of squandering them, as so many Americans do.

But it upsets me to hear Wagner take credit for these things when he was simply the beneficiary of other people’s hard work.

No, Mr. Wagner, you did not win that special election in York County all by yourself.

Rather, we, the hard working campaign volunteers won it for you, by getting fired up people out to every polling place in the district and demonstrating to the voters that we, the people, wanted you to be elected. Voters saw our passion and responded by handing the GOPe a tough and well-deserved loss.

No, you did not create that trucking business as you constantly claim, you inherited a good portion of it.

Two days ago at a dog-and-pony show press event, Scott Wagner released a phony “internal” poll result saying that he already leads in this primary race by 50.2% to Paul Mango’s 20-something percent.

Flanking Wagner was the chairman and the vice-chair of the Pennsylvania Republican Party, the same GOPe that Wagner once opposed but which he has now shamelessly joined. Wagner’s willingness to trade his political independence for political gain with the same old political insiders is another indication that he is not a straight-up guy. Rather, Wagner is just another aggressive political opportunist willing to sell his grandma and his former supporters to get ahead.

The message of having the two GOP political bosses next to him at the event is simple: “Vote for our insider stooge here.”

But if Wagner is already so far ahead in the polls, then why does he need the personal presence of political bosses at his press event? The whole thing is phony – the supposed poll (two other recent polls show a statistical dead heat between Mango and Wagner, with also-ran Laura Ellsworth in the single digits), the fake political endorsement, his supposed political independence. One thing is for sure, Scott Wagner is now yet just another political insider, trying to use every object around him to gain power and prestige. Just like he used and then discarded us campaign volunteers to get into the state senate.

Wagner’s political views have spanned the full spectrum, from great to crazy left, like his transvestite bathroom bill sponsorship.

Will the real Scott Wagner please stand up? Without screaming at anyone, please.

Contrast this chaotic mess to his primary opponent Paul Mango.

Paul Mango is about as exciting as watching the grass grow.

He is soft-spoken, measured, very smart and articulate on policy, and to me, mostly boring. Though he has gotten better at public presentations as time has gone on.

Is Mango the fiery revolutionary that Scott Wagner was four years ago? Nope.

Neither is Scott Wagner.

Is Mango the political trench warfare conservative that Wagner used to be, and which many of us wish for more each day? Nope.

Neither is Scott Wagner.

Mango is a work horse, not a show horse.

Instead of having all of Wagner’s drama and duplicity, Mango is a simple guy with true blue collar working class roots, who put himself through West Point and became a real-deal warrior in the US Army 101st Rangers, and who went on to build a career for himself that put him at the financial top of American society. Not to mention his all-American family. He is a US Army veteran who served our nation, thank you very much.

Mango is the all-American rags-to-riches story every American politician wishes to be, and which Wagner has tried to falsely claim he is.

This is why I am voting for Paul Mango and not for Scott Wagner.

You make up your own mind on this race, and you should also know I made up my mind through direct experience with both candidates. Sometimes it isn’t just how great a candidate is, but also how awful the other guy is.

Mango is good enough, Wagner is awful.

PA Supreme Court Magically Turns Itself into Legislature

In an anticipated 4-3 partisan decision today, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court majority rejected the original and heavily gerrymandered map submitted by the PA Senate Republicans, as well as three heavily gerrymandered maps subsequently submitted in the past week by the PA House Democrats, PA Senate Democrats, and even PA Governor Tom Wolf.

Instead of declaring none of the legislative district maps to be constitutional, because theoretically none of them have met the constitutional tests for compactness and adhering to existing political boundaries, and instead of declaring the governor’s map completely unwelcome because it is not his role to draw voting district maps, the PA Supreme Court has actually drawn its own redistricting map.

No court anywhere has the constitutionally derived role of drawing voting district maps, and no court anywhere can justify doing so. According to the US Constitution, drawing voting district maps is specifically a state legislature role.

I will say that the latest map, drawn by the PA Supreme Court majority, looks better in some ways than the other four maps recently submitted for review. This map is certainly tighter and breaks fewer county lines than the others. In that sense, it is a more reasonable map.

But that is not the question.

The first question is, should Pennsylvania just get on with voting, as we are now running out of time for the primaries, and just use the established map, deficient though it may be?

The second question is, should the US Supreme Court allow the PA Supreme Court to, in effect, turn itself into a legislature, by performing a key function that is specifically relegated only to the state legislature by the US Constitution?

Hopefully, the US Supreme Court will deny the lower court’s power grab, and direct Pennsylvania to go on with the previous voting district map, flawed though it was, the greater interest being in letting voters have a say at all, as opposed to political elites pulling strings to keep themselves in power.

As imperfect as the legislative process is, and as distasteful as the gerrymandering process is, it is what it is, meaning that this is what we’ve got. No court can magically turn itself into another branch of government. So let’s go with the existing map we had six weeks ago, and get on with elections.

 

Election Day: Judges matter, and here is who matters most

Here in Dauphin County we have four candidates to choose from for three seats.

I have some connection to each candidate, though much less with one. My opinions about each candidate is based on extensive personal experiences with them over many years.

If you care about having fair judges in front of you or your friends in the court room, then here is who you would vote for:

  1. Ed Marsico. Though Ed is very much a moderate “establishment” Republican, and he is cross-filed as both D&R, Ed is probably one of the most experienced judicial candidates Pennsylvania has ever had. Ed’s proximity to the state capital area has given him the unique opportunity to prosecute the widest variety of crimes. I admit to being frustrated that Ed did not stand up for his lieutenant, super-qualified deputy prosecutor Steve Rozman, back in the primary race, instead of going along with the county GOP politicized endorsement process. Ed is a fair guy, and he will be an outstanding judge. Please vote for Ed Marsico.
  2. Royce Morris. Royce represents the Abraham Lincoln wing of the Republican Party, though cross-filed as a D&R, and is a person who has been a highly respected defense attorney for a wide variety and spectrum of people caught up in the beginning and later stages of criminal law procedure. Royce would be the first black member of the Dauphin County bar, and while that alone might motivate some people to vote for him, voters can rest assured he is interested in actual justice per the law. Royce is a refreshing face in the judiciary for so many reasons. Please for for Royce Morris.
  3. John McNally. John is the only candidate running as a Republican. The three local people reading this blog already know well that John McNally and I have suffered a decreasingly effective relationship over the past six years. So too speak. John is very much a political establishment insider and ladder-climber, and several times a beneficiary of lame political shenanigans, endorsements and financial largess that were not reflective of the other candidates in various races he was a candidate in. John and I have had our differences, and we have run against each other directly and indirectly. We are about as opposite on so many issues and ways of doing things as you can find. That said, John has undergone some serious personal growth and introspection in the past couple years that could only produce a better person and a better judge, and I am setting aside my own personal history. Please vote for John McNally.

The fourth candidate is attorney Lori Serratelli, who was appointed to a vacant county judgeship last year. Lori is a good person but a political extremist, to be honest. Of the four candidates on the November 7th ballot, she is the one most likely to legislate and activate from the bench, disregarding law in favor of the current liberal method of dispensing with jurisprudence and dispensing politics, instead. We have seen this model as recently as this week, when a federal judge decided she was the new Commander in Chief of the US Armed Forces, using her civilian (non-military) court to overreach into the executive branch’s business by blocking a military decision by the US President. The current President made a decision that overturned a decision by the past Commander in Chief, and this federal judge decided to insert herself into the command structure. Lori is very much cut from this same activist cloth.  We don’t need this model in central Pennsylvania. Please do not vote for Lori.

 

My impression of Paul Mango, candidate for PA Guv

Three weeks ago I spent half an hour on the phone with Paul Mango, newly declared candidate for Pennsylvania governor.

We talked about his candidacy, his background, political issues, economics, hopes and challenges, etc. We then followed up with several back and forth emails, each one of his expressing specific appreciation and thanks for how the exchange had benefited him in a certain way. He is a new candidate, new to politics (other than as a very generous donor to Republican candidates), and he is digesting a lot of new information and ideas, new ways of thinking.

Last week I met Mango at his formal campaign announcement at the Twin Ponds sports and fitness center in Camp Hill\Mechanicsburg.

Twin Ponds previously served as the region’s HQ for primary and general election candidate Donald Trump, who won Pennsylvania’s Electoral College votes by a margin probably accounted for just by the simple dedication of Central PA’s “normal Americans” in both political parties. The big facility is run by a pretty, petite firebrand of a woman, Mrs. Patton aka General Patton.

Here are my impressions of Mango (and yes, I know, he’s just getting started):

He is impressive in several key ways: His family background and values, his education and military service, and his high level professional work experience.

Paul Mango is a very smart, confident, and empathetic man, who comes across as a reserved, reflective, nice person, and a responsive, good listener.  He is positive and genuine.

I questioned him in person about how he will compete against candidate Scott Wagner, who has spent years battling in the trenches with a lot of conservative voters and activists, against entrenched establishment political hacks in politics for personal financial gain, and who has thereby built up credibility with many politically active citizens who value bravery and honesty.

When I pointed out that Wagner has also alienated a lot of people (including many of his former supporters) in that process (because Wagner seems selfish, arrogant, and unappreciative), Mango responded that he will not say anything negative because he has never seen valuable leadership succeed except through “inspiring people.”

That is a very high bar to set for one’s self, much less one’s political competitors, but it is worthy because it says Mango has integrity. The Wagner campaign has already criticized Mango for supporting Cruz first, and then Trump later, though I got the impression that is what Scott Wagner did, too, like a lot of us did in last year’s Republican primary. Here we go, the mud is already flying!

Well, to start, if Mango is going to inspire voters, then he needs to increase his positive speaking energy, his intensity, his passion. The other night he came across as a little nervous, and definitely way too deliberative, almost plodding, at his formal announcement. His prepared speech was long and the delivery was very, very slow.

Recall that Abraham Lincoln’s speech at Gettysburg is so hard hitting because it was not long and plodding, but brief and hard hitting.

Despite serving in the 82nd Airborne and actually being a warrior, Mango’s even-keeled demeanor does not seem warrior-like, while his main competitor, Wagner, did not do military service and yet is a proven culture and fiscal political warrior.

Though he wore jeans, work boots, and an Oxford shirt, Mango is the very definition and personification of “corporate,” which will probably look or smell like moderate RINO to the trench warfare grass roots conservatives. Time will tell if that first impression is accurate.

His approach to fixing government is his approach to fixing businesses, about which it is best to just quote my activist friend Ron:

The problem with these guys [corporate/business/ Chamber of Commerce GOP candidates who compare running government to running business] is they all have plans to fix government by running it like a business. This is not a unique viewpoint and it has never worked. This is politics, not business. Took me a while to accept that.  He can have the greatest plan ever but it won’t matter because politicians don’t care [about people, policy, economy etc.].  They care about themselves and getting re-elected.”

It is a fact that careerist politicians in BOTH PARTIES do not act like corporate employees, because there is almost no accountability in politics. The old quip about the only accountability in politics resulting from being “found in bed with a dead girl or a live boy” probably doesn’t even apply today.

Like him or not, candidate Scott Wagner goes right to the key policy battles: Corrupt blood-sucking unions, ridiculous regulations that violate our federal and state constitutions, wasted and stolen taxpayer money.

That is where the rubber meets the road in the culture war for America’s soul and the war for a middle-income economy.

This is the battle front between America as it was founded and as we knew it, and America as a bastion of totalitarian socialism and politically correct thought police, envisioned by the Left.

Candidate Mango will probably arrive here at the same battle front, eventually, because the leftists’ violent street battles across America tell us that nice words alone don’t work, and Trump’s improbable win says it all (JEB! was also the quintessential corporate nice guy, and GOP voters utterly rejected him).

Mango’s steady personality seems to avoid conflict, which though commendable and reassuring in so many other settings, can send the message to some voters that he may be like a zillion other mainstream RINOs who are unwilling to dive into the bar room brawl that needs to happen for America to be set right. These careerist RINOs don’t want to get their hands dirty waging political war, which tells voters that they really just don’t care very much about political or cultural outcomes.

Mango is smart enough to see these facts and voter trends. Whether he arrives at that messy policy battle front sooner or later is the question. If he finds a way to comfortably voice his quiet intensity, his passion, his compassion for working Pennsylvanians, then he will overcome the potential impression that he is another empty GOP suit (I was told that PA GOP kingmaker Bob Asher has NOT supported Mango, which appeals to the conservative, independent-minded base).

I like the guy and I am looking forward to seeing him develop over the next six months, because, again, he is new to politics and just getting started.

Marsico, Rozman and Morris for Dauphin County Judge

If you consider experience and qualifications alone when selecting a county judge, then there are only three logical people to get your vote on May 16th, 2017:

Ed Marsico

Michael Rozman

Royce Morris

Ed Marsico has been Dauphin County’s district attorney for a long time, so long that I have lost count of the years. During his time as the chief law enforcement official for Dauphin County, Ed has always struck a balance of fairness and restraint, when lesser people would have given in to anger over some of the heinous crimes committed in the Harrisburg area. That always struck me as the sign of a well developed personality, because man, I did not feel that way about some of the scumbag criminals he prosecuted. I wanted a public stoning. Ed pursued justice. Without any stain on his long career as a visible and scrutinized public servant, Ed Marsico is the most qualified candidate for county judge in this race and one of the most qualified we have ever had. He has earned your vote. (Ed has done a great job as DA, and I and many others would have liked to have had him run for Pennsylvania Attorney General, but Ed is devoted to Dauphin County).

Michael Rozman has served as deputy district attorney under Marsico for a long time. Often laboring away out of the limelight, Rozman has racked up some of the greatest experience any lawyer can have. Rozman’s mastery of forensics, crime scene investigations, police interviews and interrogations, and knowing how to distinguish a bad boy from a true bad guy puts him head and shoulders above any of the other candidates, except for his boss, Ed Marsico. Again, if experience and outstanding qualification matters to you, if you want justice and not politics in the court room, and if you want to be judged by someone who has had decades of experience dealing with courts, criminal matters, justice, and police work, then Michael Rozman has earned your vote.

Royce Morris is also exceptionally qualified to be judge, and he is the Yin to the Yang of Marsico and Rozman. Morris has been one of Central Pennsylvania’s leading criminal defense lawyers for a long, long time. His view of criminal law is seasoned with the understanding of the behavior and reasons why certain bad things happen and how people either purposefully or mistakenly end up in the criminal justice system. Royce has received accolades from judges, jurors, prosecutors, defendants and police officers for the careful way he has handled some of the region’s toughest defense cases. Again, if experience is what you care about, and you want to be judged by someone who is not a party hack or a devotee of political climbing, then Royce Morris earns your vote.

It is true that there are other candidates for the three vacant seats on the Dauphin County court. But none of those candidates has anywhere near the hard-bitten experience dealing with tough crimes and careful analysis like Marsico, Rozman, and Morris have had.

The quality difference between the top three candidates and the others is measured in light years, which is to say an enormous gap, not even close.

Yes, it is true that a Republican political endorsement was made for this seat, which benefited one of the other candidates, and while I am no fan of political endorsements in general, if there is one place where a political endorsement does not belong, where it actually indicates weakness and not strength, it is during the selection of a judge. Politics has no business entering the court room or the judge selection process, and only you, the informed voter can stop it.

About eight years ago now-Judge Andrew Dowling was not endorsed by the Dauphin GOP, and he was told not to run, and yet he went on to win his seat on the court, overcoming what is obviously a very shallow and judicially meaningless political process. A better process would be to rank judicial candidates by a letter system, or by gradations of qualification (e.g. Highly Qualified, Qualified, Not Qualified). That election, when Dowling overcame the political hackery, was a refreshing reminder of the wisdom and power of the citizen voter.

Three years ago outstanding judicial candidate Bill Tully was passed over by the Dauphin GOP, and another, very young and less qualified candidate was endorsed. He was closer to the political establishment. The voters rejected that set-up, too, and sent Tully to be the next Dauphin County judge. That election, when Tully overcame the political hackery, was a refreshing reminder of the wisdom and power of the citizen voter.

Readers may ask why I write these essays about candidates and politics, and I will tell you it is simply because I have always had a passion for good government and fairness. Believe me, I make no friends writing these things, I receive no money and actually have lost business because of my opinions. And I have garnered some enemies along the way, too. But if Americans are not brave enough to stand up for what they deserve, then they get really bad government filled with political hacks who care nothing for the welfare of their fellow citizens. Maybe I am brave, maybe I am foolish, but I stand up nonetheless, and I tell it like I see it, and I tell it from the perspective of the person in the street.

Vote for Marsico, Rozman, and Morris, and you will get judges we can be proud of. That is my opinion.