Bruce Castor’s Green Lantern Theory of Politics

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Keegan Gibson’s out with a dangerously juicy report that MontCo Commissioner Bruce Castor’s thinking about primarying Tom Corbett from the right.

Castor doesn’t appear to have real policy disagreements with Corbett, so much as a frustration with the Governor’s crap political skills and the pace of change:

“It looks to me like Governor Corbett has not fulfilled the promise he came into office with,” Castor said. “That could change and everything could end up being terrific a year from now. But if it’s not I want to be in a position where I haven’t sat on my hands.”

His chief criticism of the Governor is leadership style. As far as policy differences, Castor said Corbett hasn’t been sufficiently aggressive dealing with public sector unions or with privatizing the state liquor stores.

This sounds a bit to me like the Green Lantern theory of politics, where bills are thought to pass by sheer force of will. If only Corbett would get more belligerent with the public sector unions, we’d see the Republican-controlled legislature pass Bruce Castor’s favorite policies.

The reality is that the votes for some of these items are not there in the Republican caucus, even though they have majorities in both houses of the legislature. You need to blame weak party discipline and organization in the legislature for that stuff, not Tom Corbett.  

Doesn’t matter how many speeches and lectures a Governor gives – if the Republican Party isn’t willing to support primary challenges to members who defy leadership, or reward the most disciplined members with plum committee assignments, or reward tough votes with WAMs, then marginal members are going to keep splintering off on contentious issues.

I bet Bruce Castor doesn’t want to bring back WAMs, but the ugly truth is that if you want to get the really hard stuff done then you need some kind of political currency in the legislature. The Boehner House has been suffering from the same problem since the earmark ban went into effect.

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