State Supreme Court candidate Jack Panella obviously doesn’t learn from history.
When former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney entered the 2008 Republican presidential primary, he seemed to have everything going for him: top campaign staff, unlimited money, a solid national organization, and a (seemingly) attractive message.
Yet his campaign was over before it began.
Why? Because more than anything, he had a major credibility problem.
You see, despite Mitt’s talk of being a political outsider, he danced the Washington Two-Step as well as anyone.
Somehow, Romney’s core beliefs undertook a number of miraculous conversions from his days as governor, most notably on the abortion issue.
"I believe abortion should be safe and legal in this country," Romney stated in 1994. In 2002, he said he would "…preserve and protect a woman’s right to choose. I am devoted and dedicated to honoring my word in that regard."
But when Romney ran in the national Republican primary, where many GOP voters are Pro-Life, Romney sang a different tune, ardently proclaiming he was against abortion.
We can’t look into another person’s soul, so we don’t know if Mitt really had a change of heart. But his switch was certainly suspect.
When a pol flips on issues just to get elected, he loses credibility on both sides. Not being trustworthy isn’t exactly the best way to appeal to voters.
But since politicians never learn, they repeat the same mistakes time and again.
Enter Democratic state Supreme Court candidate Judge Jack Panella.
Panella Flip-Flops On Abortion
There are huge stakes in the race for the court, since the 3-3 deadlock will be broken. The court’s vision will be a road map for the future of Pennsylvania.
But one thing the court doesn’t need is a spineless judge. And that’s exactly what Panella has shown himself to be.
For years, Panella has passed himself off as being Pro-Life. But now, he is running ads "warning" voters that Republican candidate Judge Joan Orie Melvin wants to take away abortion rights. And this comes after being endorsed by the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation, which opposes abortion rights, in his 2003 Superior Court campaign and as recently as the May primary.
Now that the general election is upon us, with Orie Melvin never wavering in her Pro-Life position, Panella has decided to dance, so much so that he earned the endorsement of Planned Parenthood. According to published media reports, that group’s state director said Panella’s responses to its questionnaire "made us very comfortable" with his position on the issue.
Why the switch? Is it because there are more Democrats in the state, and Democrats, as a whole, tend to be more pro-abortion? Panella may think his flip-flop is a shrewd political ploy, but it could well backfire.
After his calculated switch, from whom has he engendered support? The pro-abortion community? Not likely. Die-hard pro-aborts (no pun intended) are most likely voting against Judge Orie Melvin anyway because they know she is a candidate who stands on principal.
In his crass attempt to woo the swing voters in the middle, Panella has shot himself in the foot. While some of these voters may not be in total agreement with Orie Melvin, they respect her conviction and courage — hallmarks of a good judge.
And let us not forget that many of the state’s Democrats are pro-lifers, especially from the southwest and northeast. Panella’s flip is already being viewed with contempt by many folks in these areas.
Politicians playing both sides is anathema to good government, and a major reason for the public’s cynicism. Ironically, if candidates looked to the nation’s most beloved politicians, such as Ronald Reagan, they would see that the people vote much more for candidates of conviction, and NOT for those trying to be all things to all people.
Jack Panella belongs more on Dancing With The Stars than on Pennsylvania’s high court.
While it is not the role of this columnist to endorse a candidate, it is certainly appropriate to urge voters to reject the two-faced, backstabbing tactics of a bottom feeder like Jack Panella.
On Tuesday, vote for integrity. Vote against Jack Panella.
Chris Freind, author of "Freindly Fire," is an independent columnist and investigative reporter whose readers hail from six continents, thirty countries, and all fifty states. He can be reached at [email protected] (E before I in Freind)