G. Terry Madonna & Michael L. Young
Tue, April 15, 2014
A Good Start
Still more than a month away, the hotly contested Democratic primary is finally moving into high gear. Over the next several weeks, Pennsylvania voters will be treated (if that's the word) to a ...
Tue, April 01, 2014
The Other Race for Governor
It may surprise some to hear that not one but two gubernatorial campaigns are under way in the Keystone state. One of them, of course, is the red hot Democratic race now featuring four candidates, ...
Mon, March 17, 2014
Lt. Governor Race Matters
Normally, primary contests for lieutenant governor are quiet affairs, given little thought by voters and not much more by party leaders. It's not that candidates don't lust after the nomination. ...
Tue, February 25, 2014
Game Changer or Game Over?
Is he a game changer or is his game merely over?
After the late entry of Jack Wagner, no question looms larger, at the moment, in the Democratic gubernatorial ...
Mon, February 10, 2014
PA's Evolving Governor
Opponents call it "flip-flopping," but "changing positions" might be a more neutral description. Regardless, either term is about as popular with practicing politicians as term ...
Mon, January 27, 2014
What Mattes in 2014
Pennsylvania stands at the edge of an historical moment. For the first time in modern state history, a large-field of competitive gubernatorial candidates awaits an impending spring primary battle ...
Mon, January 13, 2014
Be Careful What You Wish For
As we race toward the halfway mark of the new decade, politics in Pennsylvania remains uncertain. Long the quintessential competitive two-party state, Republicans have now lost a record setting six ...
Mon, December 30, 2013
Raising Kane in PA
As one year ends and another begins, one thing is crystal clear: some particular Cain was raised in Keystone state politics this past year; and the particular Kane to which we refer was one Kathleen ...
Wed, November 27, 2013
The Elephant in the Room
It wasn't a "big "story. In fact, the article published by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette last June received little follow-up and even less attention. That's unfortunate — because it's a ...
Wed, November 13, 2013
Rocky Road to Camelot
"Don't let it be forgot, that once there was a spot, for one brief shining moment, that was known as Camelot." These lyrical lines from the musical "Camelot" were among ...
Tue, November 05, 2013
PA's Bad Penny
It's baack! Indeed, it never went away.
The "it" here is Pennsylvania's perpetual debate over property tax reform, a debate in modern times that traces to the early 1970s. ...
Thu, October 24, 2013
An American Problem
Our federal government is not working. In truth, it has not been working for some time. In the voguish jargon of the ubiquitous pundit, it has become it "dysfunctional." More bluntly it's ...
Tue, October 01, 2013
Are PA Dems too Optimistic?
It's the worst kept secret in state politics.
As Pennsylvania's 2014 gubernatorial election approaches, GOP incumbent Tom Corbett looms as the weakest incumbent in ...
Thu, September 12, 2013
Will They or Won't They?
Will they or won't they? That is the central question before Pennsylvania lawmakers as they return from their long summer break. Will the Republican-controlled legislature finally pass any of ...
Wed, August 28, 2013
Right Problem, Wrong Solution
Pennsylvania may be, as one wit put it, "the place where all good reforms go to die," but this well-deserved characterization of the Keystone state doesn't mean reform proposals are scarce. ...
Mon, July 22, 2013
Quit Expecting Corbett to Quit
A failed attempt at Tom Corbett's legislative agenda, a long and likely hot summer underway, a single question now dominates many Harrisburg political conversations: when will Tom Corbett quit? When ...
Sat, July 06, 2013
A House Divided
Most attention in the bruising battle to adopt the recently enacted Pennsylvania
budget focused on whether the state budget passed on time. It did.
But a ...
Wed, June 26, 2013
Corbett's Testing Time
Whatever one thinks of Governor Tom Corbett -- whether you like him or not; think he's been a good governor or not; favor him to win a second term or not -- almost everyone agrees the few remaining ...
Fri, June 07, 2013
Death, Taxes and Penn State
"In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes." Pennsylvania's Benjamin Franklin bequeathed this familiar wisdom to us in 1789, after a long life of learning and ...
Thu, May 16, 2013
Not Your Grandfather's PA
When asked to describe Pennsylvania, Washington political consultant James Carville, who helped elect Pennsylvania Gov. Bob Casey and U.S. Senator Harris Wofford, once declared that the state was ...
Wed, April 24, 2013
The Toomey Matter
No one yet has called him "Benedict Toomey" but make no mistake: many conservatives view his recent effort to broker a gun compromise as a stunning act of perfidy.
Thu, March 14, 2013
The Real GOP Problem
A cottage industry lately has grown up among writers eager to offer both diagnosis and prognosis for the problems facing the Republican Party. The party, we hear, is in deep trouble, perhaps on the ...
Thu, February 28, 2013
The Democrats' 'Nobody' Problem
"You don't beat somebody with nobody." That familiar old maxim expresses a very modern political truth. Well-known candidates tend to win elections running against unknown candidates. The ...
Mon, February 04, 2013
Corbett Crossing the Rubicon
Do we really learn more from our mistakes than our successes?
If we do, then Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett should be a virtual font of learning about now. Not ...
Tue, January 22, 2013
A Bad Gamble?
"A roll of the dice" one would-be wit called it. Others have described it in considerably less family friendly terms. But, however, described, it's described a lot. Indeed, it's been widely ...
Mon, January 07, 2013
Corbett: Doing Right Thing for Wrong Reason
It was a shocker. And it grabbed headlines, not just in Pennsylvania but
across the nation. Governor Tom Corbett in an abrupt turnabout is suing the
NCAA for sanctions imposed on Penn State ...
Wed, December 26, 2012
In 2013 Expect the Unexpected
In 2012, Pennsylvania had quite a year, not a year everyone will want to remember, but certainly a year few will be able to forget. Consider some of the highlights of a year filled with dramatic, ...
Mon, December 03, 2012
Corbett's Chancy Re-Election
Pennsylvania governor Tom Corbett expresses himself clearly on the subject: he has "no plans to break" Pennsylvania's vaunted "tradition" of reelecting incumbent governors to a ...
Wed, November 14, 2012
Handicapping 2014 Governor Race
Pennsylvanians might reasonably expect that the political world would take a breather from campaigns following almost two years of non-stop presidential campaigning. After running nationally more ...
Thu, November 01, 2012
Pennsylvania: Game On!
Old Conventional Wisdom: Pennsylvania is a state Democrats have won five presidential elections in a row: in 2012, it's safe for Obama and out of reach for Romney.
Mon, October 22, 2012
All Over Again
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Fri, September 28, 2012
The Great Debate Show
Here it comes.
Beginning on October 3 and continuing through October 22, the rapidly closing 2012 presidential campaign will host of series of fall debates. The ...
Tue, September 25, 2012
Mitt Romney is not a great candidate!
This, of course, is no news bulletin. In fact, Romney's ineptness is a topic that now dominates the political dialogue during ...
Tue, September 18, 2012
Electoral College Roulette
In this most contentious election year, one proposition looms not at all contentious: few disagree that America faces a host of imposing challenges--both foreign and domestic. But while we clearly ...
Mon, September 10, 2012
Let's say it clearly. The Democrats had a good convention, one clearly reflected in a respectable post-convention bounce — the Republicans, not so much.
Fri, August 10, 2012
Conventions Won't Matter, But Debates Might
The endless campaign, also known as the 2012 American presidential
election, isn't quite ending yet. But as Churchill might have put it,
we have at least reached the beginning of ...
Thu, August 02, 2012
If Romney Wins, Does Corbett Lose?
Ironies abound in politics. Some are amusing; others are just bizarre. But few top the one now brewing in the Keystone State. Paradoxically enough, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett seeking to ...
Mon, July 23, 2012
Why Obama Can't Win -- But Romney Could Lose
It's known as Ockham's razor.
Attributed to 14th-century philosopher William of Ockham, it advocates seeking the simplest explanation necessary to make sense of things. The popular ...
Tue, May 29, 2012
These days, the word "crisis" has become a tedious cliché, much overused and abused by those for whom every problem becomes a looming catastrophe. But the unparalleled challenges now ...
Thu, May 17, 2012
America's Sick Public Sector
The economic statistics are widely reported. The private sector of America's still-fragile economy is recovering, albeit slowly. The still-volatile stock market is near post-recession highs, with the ...
Thu, April 26, 2012
Not Everyone's Cup of Tea
Even if one doesn't buy tea, drink tea, or even like tea, the well-steeped tea leaves from Pennsylvania's April 24th presidential primary still make for some fascinating reading. Together they ...
Thu, April 05, 2012
Santorum's Last Stand
It wasn't supposed to happen this way.
The Pennsylvania primary scheduled for April 24th was to be Rick Santorum's triumphal return - celebrating his resurgence in ...
Wed, March 21, 2012
The Rise of Rick Santorum
Irony abounds for Pennsylvania's upcoming April 24 Republican presidential primary. The greatest perhaps is that Rick Santorum, a former state politician brutally dumped by voters just six ...
Fri, March 09, 2012
A Choice Between the Truely Bad and Merely Awful
In Greek mythology it's known as being between Scylla and Charybdis. Logicians sometimes call it Morton's Fork. And ordinary folks refer to it as finding oneself between a rock and a hard place or ...
Tue, February 14, 2012
Rick Santorum: Why He Lost PA
Rick Santorum: Why he lost Pennsylvania ~What it Means
Why did he lose so badly? And what does it mean now?
These two inextricably linked ...
Tue, January 31, 2012
The Costs of Combat
Among Republicans, it's axiomatic: Protracted presidential primary battles in the spring tend to hurt the party's chances for victory in the fall.
This year, however, that hoary maxim ...
Wed, January 04, 2012
What Does Rick Santorum Really Want?
Rick Santorum's startling surge in Iowa to a near-first-place finish has stunned much of the political world. Governor Romney called it a "virtual tie," and a virtual tie it was. For ...
Tue, December 27, 2011
Corbett's Rookie Year
One year ago, Governor Tom Corbett entered office in the midst of a stubborn recession, riding a tough no-new-taxes pledge and pushing an ambitious reform agenda. As Corbett prepares to begin his ...
Mon, December 12, 2011
The Wall Street Journal, normally no admirer of Barack Obama, nevertheless is proffering some advice for the embattled president. Drop Joe Biden from the 2012 ticket and replace him with Secretary of ...
Mon, November 28, 2011
Why Obama Could Win, And Probably Won't
Why Obama could win Why He Probably Won't
As the 2012 presidential election looms ever closer, two hard facts confront American politics. The first is that Barack ...
Wed, November 09, 2011
'Occupy,' Tea Party, Define 2012 Elections
The Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street movements are defining the terms of debate for the upcoming presidential election. The 2012 election could very well turn on which movement generates a more ...
Mon, October 31, 2011
Is Herman Cain going to win the GOP nomination? Maybe! Must he now be taken seriously as a credible candidate for that nomination? Unquestionably!
Leading or in second place in ...
Wed, October 05, 2011
Are Republicans Flipping Their Wigs?
Some articles make a point; this simply raises one. Why are national Republicans having such a hard time finding a presidential candidate that can beat Obama?
Fri, September 30, 2011
Casey Odds for 2012
There are two distinct points of view on the subject.
One asserts that he is in trouble in 2012, running for re-election to the U.S. Senate in a state now hostile ...
Fri, September 16, 2011
A Really Bad Idea
We pose a hypothetical question. Suppose a certain state, long a political power in national politics, was beginning to lose some of its clout, as its population growth slowed. Once the second ...
Fri, August 19, 2011
Divided We Fall
The troubling questions assail us in a seemingly unending assault on our national equilibrium. Is America in trouble? Why does our economy seem to be collapsing? Why do our politicians fail us? What ...
Thu, August 04, 2011
The Age of Ideology
The country's traumatic "debt crisis" may be over, but it's far from gone. The aftermath of the months-long imbroglio still lingers as we assess the harm done to the nation's fiscal image, ...
Wed, July 27, 2011
1991: It Was A Very Bad Year in PA
Most of us have good days and bad days. But can entire years be good or bad?
Englishman John Dryden believed so as far back as 1666. His famous poem,
Thu, June 23, 2011
Santorum for Vice President?
It's an old political proverb: no one runs for vice president except everyone running for president. Okay, we made up that last part.
The actual adage is shorter: no one runs for vice ...
Tue, June 14, 2011
Does It Matter?
According to an old cliché, there are nodumb questions. But we're asking one that might seem dumb–one that challenges some cherished assumptions about politics, presidents, and ...
Wed, June 01, 2011
GOP Field Weak or Obama Strong?
It's an enduring puzzle.
On the one hand, Barack Obama seems like a big fat target for his political enemies. Some 18 months before the next election, his job approval ratings remain low, ...
Mon, May 23, 2011
Rick Santorum Meets P.T. Barnum
As a politician, Rick Santorum presents an enigma. While most politicians
seek power by ingratiating themselves to voters, Santorum often does the
opposite. While most seek favor by being ...
Thu, May 12, 2011
It's Foreign Policy, Stupid
May Day 2011!
It will always be remembered as the day Americans learned that archfiend, terrorist-in-chief, Osama bin Laden was dead. Millions rejoiced,rightly, at the death of the very ...
Mon, April 25, 2011
One Term Tom? Maybe Not!
By G. Terry Madonna Michael L. Young
The news hasn¹t been good.
Indeed it¹s been downright ominous. Tom Corbett¹s political stock has ...
Wed, April 13, 2011
How to Run for Presidednt
It's been a mystery worthy of Sherlock Holmes. How does Pennsylvania do it? How does a state that has long been a political colossus in national elections and hugely important in presidential ...
Fri, April 01, 2011
GOP Herd Gathers
Some of the names are familiar–Romney, Huckabee, Palin, Gingrich, Paul, Trump. Others are less familiar–Bachman, Barbour, Pawlenty, Daniels, Santorum. While still others are largely ...
Fri, February 18, 2011
Is Tom Corbett a Revolutionary?
Revolutionary, radical, iconoclast, insurrectionist–these are not words one usually uses to describe Pennsylvania's new governor, Tom Corbett. Yet if Corbett achieves most or all of his ...
Fri, January 28, 2011
You Don't Say: Santorum and Rendell
Dual biographies have achieved enduring favor in American politics. Popular personalities have included Hamilton and Burr, Grant and Lee, Lincoln and Davis, Brandeis and Frankfurter, Nixon and ...
Mon, January 10, 2011
Politically Uncorrected: The Rendell Legacy
Dictionaries define legacy as something someone has handed down or is remembered for. By its nature a legacy is important, lasting and often unique.
Mon, January 03, 2011
The Keystone State: Wither We Go in 2011
In 2010, Pennsylvania elected a new governor, unelected an old senator, and moved decisively toward installing the GOP as the dominant political party. Now, as the new year gets underway, it's a good ...
Tue, December 28, 2010
A Bad Year for Some Good Lessons
It may be an ill wind that blows no good, but it's a positively rotten political year that presents no teachable moments. By that standard, 2010 was a great year. Here are eight enduring political ...
Tue, December 14, 2010
Specter's Legacy: A work in Progress
At the end he was ridiculed by some, disliked by many, and ignored by most. But at his prime and in his time, he was among the most powerful politicians in America, widely respected, frequently ...
Mon, November 22, 2010
The Great TSA PAT-Down Smackdown
Cementing his image as a friend of the traveling public, TSA Director John Pistole recently proclaimed, "If they don't like it, they don't have to fly."
The "it," of ...
Tue, November 16, 2010
What Do We Do Now?
It was a famous line in a famous movie uttered by a famous actor. The actor was Robert Redford, the movie was The Candidate, and the line was unforgettable. In the film's final scene, Redford, ...
Mon, October 25, 2010
America's Great Disconnect
National Public Radio has its critics and its champions. It's likely, however, amidst NPR's controversial firing of Juan Williams for commenting about Muslims on Fox News, that the champions are ...
Fri, October 08, 2010
All Politics is Local: Except When it Isn't
All politics is local, the late Tip O'Neill famously remarked. To which must be appended a necessary caveat: except when it isn't. And it definitely isn't in 2010. Case in point: Pennsylvania's ...
Fri, September 17, 2010
Pennsylvania's Wacko Winners
Tom Corbett and Pat Toomey, the GOP's candidates for governor and U.S. senator this year, respectively, are undoubtedly emitting collective sighs of relief.
Earlier in the month, Governor ...
Thu, September 02, 2010
Obama's Best Bad Option
One of Shakespeare's most popular plays is "A Midsummer Night's Dream," a comedy, focused on magic and distinguishing fantasy from reality. Right about now, President Obama is probably ...
Tue, August 24, 2010
That Other Tax Problem
Taxes increasingly occupy the national mind. Should we raise them, lower them, let them alone, or just talk about them? Certainly we are doing enough of the latter.
The Obama ...
Fri, August 20, 2010
Medical Marijuana and Pennsylvania
On August 3, a coalition of mostly liberal activists initiated a national campaign to legalize marijuana using the slogan, "Just Say Now." The first test case occurs this fall in ...
Thu, August 05, 2010
Somebody needs to check Pennsylvania's water supply. Perhaps it's something those guys are drinking, or maybe smoking, that explains the faux pas outbreak spreading in the Keystone State. Either way, ...
Tue, July 27, 2010
PA's Long-Running One-Act Play
All sorts run for governor of Pennsylvania. There have been mayors,
prosecutors, congressmen, judges, state legislators, businessmen, statewide
elected officials, and even a lieutenant ...
Tue, July 06, 2010
Silly Syllogisms and Serious Politics
Syllogisms are mesmerizing little mind games; the sort lonely logicians might play on long, languid evenings. The rules are simple: combine a major premise with a minor premise and draw a conclusion. ...
Wed, June 23, 2010
Toomey-Sestak: Made for Hollywood
If the Pat Toomey-Joe Sestak Pennsylvania Senate race was a movie, it would
be a cinch for an Academy Award nomination. It¹s an electoral show that has
everything: two controversial, ...
Tue, June 01, 2010
Corbett vs. Onorato: A Scheduled 15 Rounder
Pennsylvania, in the lingo of political science, is a "competitive two-party state." In plain English, it's a state where elections are frequently close, usually hard fought, and often hard ...
Wed, May 19, 2010
Arlen Specter's Perfect Storm
The political world watched almost stupefied as the national melodrama played itself out. The pre-primary polls told the startling story while the astonished pols read the increasingly clear tea ...
Thu, May 13, 2010
Two Parties, One Election, No Choices
It's been a yawner–a saccharine affair that has excited few, numbed many, and bored most. We refer, of course, to the alleged Pennsylvania gubernatorial primary "contest" blessedly ...
Tue, April 20, 2010
The Admiral Hits an Iceberg
According to sage Yogi Berra, "it's tough to make predictions, especially about the future."
Nevertheless, we boldly made one about a year ago appraising ...
Mon, April 05, 2010
The Resurrection of Rick Santorum
It was only a matter of time. Apparently that time has arrived. Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, once the U.S. Senate's resident enfant terrible, and more recently think tank habitué and ...
Thu, February 18, 2010
The 99 Percent Rule
Call it the 99 percent rule. 99 percent of criminal trials only matter to a
small cadre of participants. Defendants, victims, judges, defense lawyers,
and prosecutors all play their ...
Thu, January 28, 2010
Politically Uncorrected: The Candidate Myth
&quot;Voters,&quot; political scientist V.O. Key famously remarked, &quot;are not fools.&quot; By and large that's true. The specious corollary drawn by many ...
Tue, January 12, 2010
It's pretty grim. The successive crises of the last several years have produced the greatest erosion of public confidence in the Pennsylvania legislature in modern history. The low confidence levels ...
Mon, December 28, 2009
The Eight Year Cycle - Believe It!
Some believe in it. Many doubt it. Most don't understand it.
The "it" in question here is Pennsylvania's so-called eight-year cycle — the octennial oscillation in state ...