To most of us here in Philadelphistan, the very name Tom Corbett is a poisonous GOP punchline; the man himself, a living illustration of the talking-points-gone-horribly-wrong that is today’s Republican Party. And where in more prosperous, less politically fractured eras, we might have been able to ignore the man, today, he’s a walking knife edge of civic destruction.
Nevertheless, Philadelphia is but a rogue slice of the backwater nation known to you and I as Pennsyltucky, and when Corbett goes up for re-election in 2014, it’s an understatement to say that the deck is stacked in his favor. Though Corbett has yet to declare, he’s made no motion to suggest that he won’t, while meanwhile, on the Dem side, the only person to declare is Tom Knox (remember him?), which is like, wowwww, hey, thanks, guy.
Something may shift tomorrow morning, though, when former Secretary of the PA Department of Environmental Protection John Hanger (pictured) officially declares his candidacy at the Reading Terminal Market. And if his CV is anything to go by, Hanger — rhymes with “ten-foot dangler” — will quickly emerge, at least in these very, very early days of the campaign, as something of the anti-Corbett. For one, he’s a Rendell appointee and for another, environmental and corporate regulation have been his nearest and dearest issues. Which right off the bat sets him apart from Corbett’s slavish devotion to fracking.
Though it will win him fans here, it may not be so easy throughout the rest of the state. The elections earlier this month showed us that Pennsyltuckians may be reconsidering their political ideals, and Corbett’s own ham-fistedness in his tenure could have something to with it. But it’s also important to remember the raw truth in play here: Obama might have taken PA, but remember: It’s ‘dusky lions like Corbett that own the place.