Among conservatives, Tom Wolf’s tenure as governor is filled with enough potholes to bury a half-dozen blind donkeys.
Since taking office, Wolf has asked for or supported tax increases 11 times, including a $4.6 billion tax increase in 2015. Pennsylvania has the nation’s highest gas tax and is 15th when the local tax burden is incorporated — and that doesn’t include a $53 billion unfunded pension liability that grows daily.
Pennsylvania’s economy lags behind the national economy, while our public schools are underperforming and state spending only compounds resulting in increased taxation. The state has 17 sanctuary counties and a heroin and opioid epidemic that is nothing short of a plague.
Last month, Wolf vetoed an anti-poverty bill that would have incentivized people to move from dependency to independence through work. Moreover, the legislation would have prioritized medical coverage for those unable to work due to medical conditions. Pennsylvania is also projected to spend $847 million in corporate welfare, which is nothing more than a tax subsidy for out-of-state businesses. According to the Independent Fiscal Office, these subsidies have returned just 14 cents on every dollar. Union contributions have added more than $10 million to Wolf’s campaign and, according to the Cato Institute, Wolf’s overall grade as governor is F.
According to a Governing magazine report, Wolf is among the 12 most vulnerable governors on the ballot. Wolf is an active supporter of gay marriage where his opponent, Scott Wagner, a conservative York County entrepreneur who has served in the Pennsylvania state legislature since winning a 2014 special election, is not. Wagner is also the first candidate to ever capture a state Senate seat as a write-in candidate, and is pro-life. Wolf, a former Planned Parenthood escort, is obviously not. Donald Trump was once a Democrat, but then so was Ronald Reagan.
On the congressional slate, Wolf and the state Legislature’s Republican majorities couldn’t agree on a congressional replacement map, so Democrats on the judiciary levied a redrawing of Pennsylvania’s House districts that placed several Republican seats in jeopardy, especially after several retired.
Last March, Democrats won a Pennsylvania House seat that just 18 months earlier was carried by Trump by 20 points, and where Democrats didn’t even field a candidate in the two prior elections. Provided Democrats win all 12 seats, they would be more than halfway toward the 23-seat Republican majority. The mandated redistricting has Pennsylvania once again living up to its moniker as the Keystone state that Democrats hope will help them win the House.
Prior to his twilight entry into politics, Congressman Lou Barletta aspired to play professional baseball, and admitted he couldn’t hit a curve. Now that he’s challenging two-term Democratic Sen. Bob Casey, he’s seen plenty of Uncle Charlie’s thrown in his direction — especially regarding commercials.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said nine states will decide the battle for the Senate, and Pennsylvania is not one of them. The large number of battleground states held by Republicans does not help Barletta’s campaign cash flow from GOP headquarters.
Besides having a huge cash advantage, Casey, the son of a former governor, enjoys more state registered Democrats than Republicans that helped him to win in 2012 by 9 percentage points. Casey sells himself as a “pro-life Democrat,” which would be laughable, if it wasn’t so pathetic, as he has repeatedly voted to give hundreds of millions of tax dollars to Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion mill. No one would confuse Casey with his father, who once was the nation’s most prominent and perhaps the last vocal pro-life Democrat. Casey also supported Obergefell v. Hodges that legalized gay marriage.
Barletta’s position on gay marriage and abortion contrast sharply with Casey’s. Barletta has defended traditional marriage and is endorsed by the National Right to Life with a 100 percent pro-life voting record.
For liberals, Tuesday’s midterms isn’t about an improving economy, near-record-low unemployment or unprecedented energy production. Rather, identity politics of gender and race rule as 435 House, 33 Senate seats, 36 governorships, 6,665 state offices and tens of thousands of local ones are up for re-election.
A political lynching will result, provided Democrats win the majority with Pelosi already braiding the rope.
Their revenge will be costly.
(Maresca, a local freelance writer, composes “Talking Points” for each Sunday edition.)