ELEPHANT CORNER: Ups And Downs For GOP In 2013

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Happy New Year! Every year deserves its eulogy and 2013 is not an exception. On municipal, state and federal levels the Republicans had wins, losses and a few draws.


There were some real wins and some unforced errors. Did we really shut down the government over Obamacare, an issue we did not have the votes in the Senate to win? All we Republicans needed to do wait and watch this seriously flawed law implode. The messy rollout in my opinion is only the tip of the iceberg.

PHILA. REPUBLICAN Party Chair John Taylor offered a bright new beginning for his party in 2013.

PHILA. REPUBLICAN Party Chair John Taylor offered a bright new beginning for his party in 2013.

In Philadelphia, the party did okay. Actually, more than okay. The six-year civil war in the Republican Party came to end with both sides agreeing to a new Chairman, State REP. JOHN TAYLOR, and a new Executive Director, JOE DeFELICE. Taylor has clearly delivered on his pledge to work with everyone. Our candidates for District Attorney and City Controller, DANNY ALVAREZ and TERRY TRACY respectively, lost, but put on a good show. Alvarez actually beat incumbent DA SETH WILLIAMS in the 170th Pennsylvania House of Representatives Dist. Is this a sign that a Republican could be competitive in this seat which former Republican Speaker of the Pennsylvania House JOHN PERZEL held for years? A Republican, ANNE MARIE COYLE, was elected to Common Pleas in part owing to great ballot position in the Democratic primary and to hard work.


COUNCILMAN DAVID OH proposed legislation that would amend the City Charter to allow sitting elected officials to retain their seats while running for other public offices. Currently, elected officials need to resign their positions, as did MAYOR MICHAEL NUTTER when he left his City Council seat to run for Mayor.


Does Oh think this will help him? Does he honestly think he can successfully run for Mayor or DA? I think he needs to focus on proving his Republican creds. He won in the primary last time in large part owing to the party’s civil war, as insurgents supported him because he was not MIKE MEEHAN’S guy. But the insurgents for the most part were and remain politically conservative True Believers. Proposing this charter change, along with a lack of clear conservative views, is not going to help him in the next Republican primary.


On the state level, we have faced some challenges. GOV. TOM CORBETT’S approval ratings are beyond weak. This fascinates me, as he is one of the few politicians who made promises and consistently delivered. He has crafted budgets and delivered them on time – something his predecessor did not do during eight years in office.


Corbett was vilified in the press in Philadelphia for not giving enough funds to Philadelphia schools. A $150-million shortfall in the school-system budget was blamed entirely on Harrisburg. Let’s get real. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania finances roughly 60% of the School District’s budget. How much more can we realistically expect the rest of the state to pay?


The problem here for us as Republicans is we do not understand how to get our message out. Corbett has been a good Governor, but he and his staff have demonstrated an inability to sell themselves.


US SEN. PAT TOOMEY has emerged as an important leader on the national scene.

US SEN. PAT TOOMEY has emerged as an important leader on the national scene.

On the national level, Pennsylvania has shone. We have a Republican Senator in PAT TOOMEY who has been outstanding as a freshman. He has drafted legislation with CHUCK SCHUMER (D-N.Y.) that has made it easier for medium-sized businesses to access capital markets. His voting record has been clearly to the right of center, but we have had rightwing groups burn him in effigy in Harrisburg. This was over a law that he proposed with JOE MANCHIN (D-W.V.) to require internet and gun-show sales to be subject to the same regulations that gun-store owners who invested in brick-and-mortar shops must follow.


The lesson we Republicans must take into 2014 is we must get elected in order to govern. Attacking solid Republicans like Toomey who are willing and able to reach across the aisle is not productive and could lead to our remaining the minority party in Washington.




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