Tuesday, May 30, 2006

So Many Questions

Are these the last days of John Perzel?

Could the House Speaker be the next one to fall to the forces that already have defeated his Senate counterpart, President Pro Tem Bob Jubelirer?

That's the intriguing question rasied by my colleague, Mario Cattabiani, in a piece that ran Sunday in The Inquirer. There's lots of evidence to indicate that the Speaker could be in jeopardy.

And, if Perzel is going down -- not now, not in November, but after the fall election, when it comes time to reorganize the state House -- what do you do if you are a Democrat?

First of all, I bet that Perzel survives.

His caucus may be going more conservative, but the Philadelphia Republican is politically skilled and probably has enough chits out amongst his members to to hold onto his job.

Besides, you can't beat a someone with a no one -- and a strong, alternative candidate to Perzel has yet to emerge.

But, a weakened Perzel could make life miserable for Ed Rendell in his second term. Hamstrung by his own caucus, Perzel might have to go anti-Rendell all the time in order to maintain his job as Speaker.

The Senate Republicans -- with the departure of Jubelirer and GOP Majority Leader Chip Brightbill -- look like they are going to tilt to the right and make life (even more) miserable for the governor.

Let's face it, the Speaker is often the only Republican who seems willing to deal with Rendell. (A point often raised by his enemies within the caucus).

So, what do you do if you are Rendell?

Do you work hard to have the Democrats take over the House? They are 8 seats away from becoming a majority, so it wouldn't be easy. But you could direct money and political support to those districts in contention and make it a holy cause.

Do you concentrate on your own campaign and let the chips fall where they may in the legislative races? Rendell did a variation on that two years ago, when he refused to lift a finger to support Democrats running against Republican incumbents who supported his first tax plan and budget.

Do you want no Perzel or a weakened Perzel?

Do you want to live through the agony of four more years of having both chambers controlled by a more conservative Republican party?

With your own re-election looking secure, do you seize the moment and go after control of at least one chamber of the legislature?

So many questions, so little time.


Anonymous stackhouse28@aol.com said...

There is a really simple answer. Gov. Rendall will run for his office. He will run as hard as if he was ten points behind. He will give little or no thought to the legislature because he does not want to be linked to the anger that is directed towards this and the further away he stays from activily particpating in the legislatuive election, the less chance of that happening.

1:37 PM  
Anonymous phillydem said...

If Perzel wants to keep his job in the state house, he can't start picking fights with Rendell. They serve the same base constituency.

I think what Perzel can do is build a majority coalition with Democrats and pragmatic Republicans from the east.
That would punish the conservative reactionaries and keep Perzel in his role as a "player".

2:25 PM  
Anonymous stackhouse28@aol.com said...

Good idea Phillydem. That is what most more moderate (pragmatic is really a synonym here) republicans should do in the short term at least to maintain some position in their party. Problem is if they do that they face strong challenges form the conservative base of the party like Toomey's run at Arlan. Pragmatic as he claims to be Perzel likes his leaderhip position more and look for him to tack right a la our Senior Senator.

6:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ed will do what he can -- robo phone calls, posing for mailers, joint appearances whenever possible -- but in State House races, it's going to be more about how hard the local organization can work. Repub voters in the suburbs are going to stay away from the polls in droves this November; it then becomes a question of whether Democratic committeepeople can get their side motivated to show up. And with a chance to get rid of Rick Santorum, that should be fairly easy.

Bottom line -- between pay-raise fallout and an unhappy base, I say the GOP loses its State House majority.

It'll be interesting to watch.

7:48 PM  
Blogger Rep. Mark B. Cohen said...

The Democrats are going to win a clear majority of the House seats in November, 2006.

The battle for leadership of the House Republicans is going to be over the minority leadership post.

11:14 PM  
Anonymous phillydem said...

That's a pretty confident prediction, Mark. I hope it comes true.

4:25 PM  
Blogger ACM said...

yeah, from your lips...

5:46 PM  
Blogger NE Suburbanite said...

Paul Prior, who ran against Perzel several years back fit the perfect definition of a "nobody, and when it comes to politics even he would quickly admit it. Tim Kearney, on the other hand, who is to be running against Perzel this fall is a candidate of real substance, and nothing has demonstrated this more than the steadfast support he's shown for the Save Burholme Park movement. Add to this that unlike the candidates who ran against Perzel prior to him (er, no pun intended), Kearney has the academic credentials which a House Speaker position of the 21st century clearly demands. And he far surpasses Perzel in this regard. In this election it's Perzel who's the nobody.

3:15 AM  
Anonymous phillydem said...

While I'd love to see Kearney win, IMO unseating Perzel, especially in his redrawn district, is an uphill battle. As long as Perzel can keep building community centers in Mayfair and getting $6000 radar speed detectors to sit outside St Matt's he's going to be hard to beat.

I know Kearney only moved into the district a few months before he ran in 2004 and has been out knocking on doors since then introducing himself.

IIRC, Tim was councilman Cohen's chief of staff. Cohen was very popular up here in the NE and I wonder if having Florence Cohen campaign with him wouldn't
be a help as far as getting media
attention goes.

12:46 PM  
Blogger Dave Ralis said...

Mark - I'll believe it when I see it. The Republicans did some necessary bloodletting, as Caesar would say: they bled the Senate for its own good. The Democrats, are every bit in need of the loss of pints, half-wits and payjackers(DeWeese, Veon, Fumo, etc...), but haven't so much as pricked a finger. I wouldn't be surprised to see the GOP hold onto the House. I just hope Perzel isn't the one still in charge there when the dust clears. You can read more about his shennanigans in my Daily Rant today.

6:51 AM  
Anonymous GettysBLOG said...

Perzel has been a blight on Pennsylvania politics, and Mr. Ferrick is incorrect about there being no substantial candidate to replace him as speaker. SOmetime in the next week or two, there may come a move to oust Perzel from that spot, and replace him with Paul Clymer.

Rep. Cohen is correct about next January, however.

The Republicvans are split, and no amount of Tom Ridge campaiging will bring the reformers back into the fold.

It needs to work the other way around. The State Republican Committee needs to come to the reformers.

That, of course, will not happen until after the November Republican gotterdammerung.

In the meantime, where are the Democratic REformers? The world wonders!

10:47 AM  
Blogger marty503 said...

Unfortunately for Tim, the only people who are fighting the Fox Chase Cancer Center expansion (save Burlholme Park)are suburbanites. With only one execption, the entire coalition are residents who live on the other side of Central Ave. in Montgomery County. They can't vote in the election.

2:03 PM  
Blogger prop said...

I'm sure that the writer who said that Tim Kearney was not a candidate of "real substance" means that he feels that Tim has little chance of winning. Tell that to Bob Jubelirer and Chip Brightbill. Still, I see your point. It is an uphill battle. But the kind of mentality that says better to have a Perzel as speaker than a person we would actually want in office is why the democratic party has become so pathetic. Please, don't continue down this path of accepting the crumbs the republican party throws us. It is insulting and self-deprecating, and our party takes it without even a whimper.

On the other hand, if you feel that Tim actually is a person of no substance, you couldn't be further from the truth. Talk to Tim once and you will understand the difference between a person of comlete integrity and the sleaze that is John Perzel. You owe it to yourself to find out firsthand. The difference between these two candidates is clear and distinct, and the one for the working men and women, the union members (not the union royalty), the poor, the elderly (Tim was director of Action Alliance), the people of Northeast Philly is Tim Kearney.

Please, undrstand one more very important idea. Tim grew up in Berks County, graduated from Temple University, has lived and worked in Philly for nearly twenty years, owned two homes,and raised his children here. Just because he moved a particular part of Philly only excludes him from his right to run for office in the small minds of a few people, starting with the self-serving John Perzel. If anyone looked at the ludicrously gerrymandered 172 District, they would realize that John Perzel hasn't lived in their district any longer than Tim Kearney. Tim Kearney just chose to move there. John Perzel chose, well, to act like John Perzel always does.

7:50 PM  
Blogger NE Suburbanite said...

Prop, if you're referring to my post, I said that Tim Kearney IS a person of substance. Please re-read it and you'll see.

Meantime with regard to Perzel, first he complained that cow milkers in our state are making too much, and the latest is his being upset that tattoo artists in Philly are making more than he, while I'm sure he'll target regular artists as making too much money in relation to what he makes next, such as fellow Pennsylvanian Andrew Wyeth who now makes over a million dollars per tempera painting. So I think we can all guess he'll be lashing out at Bill Gates at some point and the Donald, too. And gee, I thought politics was about public service, not about THIS!

12:00 AM  

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