Placing my bet

Columnist : Albert Paschall

Thank the one God who made us all that I can never run for public office. Last Saturday I gave my opponents so many opportunities for attack ads that even running for local animal control officer (the office formerly known as dog catcher) is out for me. Judging by what went on in last week’s Republican primary for the attorney general’s office any opponents’research unit would grind me up and spit me out.

Let’s start with the first crime. I placed a bet. Despite Governor Rendell’s best efforts, gambling is still illegal in this state. Since my own roots are Italian-American my opponent would probably subtly morph me into one of the stereotypes promoted by HBO every Sunday night.

I bet a local guy would win a bowling match. He happens to be a Democratic State Representative. Assuming I would run as a Republican that gives any primary opposition some real gutter balls to throw. I can see all of my friends and neighbors embarrassed by big ads in the newspaper with screaming headlines “Paschall backs Democrats in alley!” I’d be ruined.

Now let’s just suppose I could prove that I was better at rounding up stray dogs than any other Republican in the primary. The Democrats will only get me in November. I’ll be labeled as a total misogynist, sexist woman-hater. What will my family think when they open up their mailboxes and see blood red ink spattering “Paschall against Republican women”? You see I placed the bet against the neighboring State Representative who happens to be a Republican woman.

Coincidentally the owner of the bowling alley is an old pal of mine. When the opposition finds out about me making a bet on a team that was bowling in his alley then it will be a conspiracy with my opponent calling for a special prosecutor

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the dawn of the age of the attack ads. In 1964 President Johnson managed to drop a bomb on Senator Barry Goldwater by portraying him as an angry man who would take out his frustrations on everybody with nuclear bombs. A TV commercial showing a child playing in a field with an atomic cloud bursting over her cute little head buried Barry. The political strategists say attack ads work. They work alright.

Voter turnout in the last decade has been among the lowest in the nation’s history. In general elections the theory is that the itinerant uninformed voters will stay away leaving control of the race to the turnout of party loyalists. They are not supposed to be used in a primary and a spectacle like the Republican race for the AG’s office takes this dark art into an utter void. The candidates had so many gutter balls rolling nobody ought to bet on their bowling scores. However there is one sure bet to make. Come October Democrat Jim Eisenhower will repeat the attacks on Republican Tom Corbett that were written by Republican strategists.

It might help me later in my quest for office if I came clean now. I did place a bet on Democratic State Representative Daylin Leach’s team to beat Republican State Representative Melissa Murphy-Weber’s in a bowl-a-thon. The lady won. So a measly check for the local chapter of Big Brothers and Big Sisters is on its way to Murphy-Weber’s office as part of my public confession.

Leach and Murphy-Weber are two of the most refreshing candidates produced by their parties in southeastern Pennsylvania in a long time. They have energy, ideas, ambition and the great thing that all young freshmen have: they don’t know what can’t be done. I’ll place a bet right now that someday that these two are going somewhere in this state. My only hope is that to get there the only gutter balls that they have to avoid are in a bowling alley.

Albert Paschall
Senior Commentator
The Lincoln Institute of Public Opinion Research, Inc.
[email protected]