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Dysfunction junction: The Pa. GOP at war

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Contact Colin McNickle (412-320-7836 or

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Saturday, July 12, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

There is something inherently wrong with a political party that controls both houses of its state legislature and the governor's mansion (not to mention the courts) yet cannot govern. And that's the rancid pickle in which Republicans find themselves in Harrisburg.

Gov. Tom Corbett, in the throes of a far-behind re-election campaign, signed into law on Thursday the Legislature's $29.1 billion budget, a political document clouded by smoke, distorted by carnival mirrors and fueled by snake oil.

But in the process, the governor, in a spate of bully pulpitry sadly seldom exhibited, also slapped the Legislature and placed his size-Tom shoe squarely in their bums for not addressing the pension crisis. He effectively attached part of a slush fund it should not have, vetoed millions of dollars in discretionary funding and froze self-dealing earmarks.

Senate leadership, all too willing to play with special interest piggies to the detriment of the public's interests (think of its devotion to the liquor status quo), accused the governor of not stooping to its piggie level.

House leadership, playing politics with pension reform, accused Mr. Corbett of playing politics by pushing pension reform, then accused the governor of leading “from behind.”

(Democrats are no better, by the way, exploiting the Corbett-majority internecine war to shill for their usual smorgasbord of liberal nonstarters.)

Reason and judgment are the qualities of leaders, Tacitus reminded us. But they are in woefully short supply in Harrisburg.

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