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Failure in Harrisburg: A 'fiercer hell'

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Monday, July 8, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

One would think that with a Republican governor and Republicans controlling the state Legislature, commonsense and long-overdue reforms — think liquor, think pensions — would be an automatic. One would think.

The GOP-controlled House and Senate failed — failed miserably — to end (or even dent) the state's Soviet-style liquor monopoly or defuse the state's pensions time bomb in the first quarter of the session.

And while there's lots of happy talk from lots of those who failed to deliver that there's plenty of time left in the two-year session to get the job done, history more than suggests that liquor and pension reforms are dead, dead, dead.

As might be the political careers of the failed deliverers.

Not only are some prominent Republican Party stalwarts losing their patience — think Fred Anton, president of the Pennsylvania Manufacturers' Association — GOP legislators are being exposed as being more concerned with the demands of special interests than those of the people.

Or as Matthew Brouillette, president and CEO of the Commonwealth Foundation think tank, sees it, Republicans have yielded to the “Big Government Party — the coalition of interests that profit from higher taxes, more spending, cumbersome regulations, state contracts and special privileges.”

Reminded 19th-century English poet John Keats, “There is not a fiercer hell than the failure in a great object.”

For pol and public alike, we would add.

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