Tom Fitzgerald is usually a very insightful observer of politics, but I think his angle on the Ana Puig controversy is way off:
Ana Puig of Bucks County, a leader in the tea party movement since its earliest days in 2009, has a new job: legislative liaison for the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue. Intellectual whiplash!
The tea party, of course, is defined by its skepticism, if not hostility, toward big government – and particularly by its dislike of taxes. Puig not only went to work for the state, she represents the interests of the people who collect tribute to keep the beast purring.
Yet Puig was not interested in meditating Monday on the irony of her evolution, nor did she talk about a desire to change the system from within, a frequently expressed hope of revolutionaries who later join the establishment.
The theme of Tom’s column is that taking a job with the Corbett administration necessarily shows that Puig has mellowed out:
Activists move on, raise families, become political consultants or professional organizers, or channel their efforts into traditional political avenues such as county party committees. The outsider influences the mainstream, then becomes part of it.
Let’s put to one side the obvious rejoinder that the Tea People’s strategy of putting more of their own people into government by running rightwing primary challenges against incumbent Republicans hasn’t changed at all since 2009, and let’s focus on the narrow point that getting a government job necessarily means moderating one’s anti-government views.
I’ve got two words for Tom:
Ron. Swanson. Michael. Krancer.
Tom Corbett’s former Department of Environmental Protection head was actively hostile to the goal of environmental protection from the time he was hired from Blank Rome to the time he resigned and returned to Blank Rome.
Michael Krancer was an anti-government zealot through and through, and he only got more nutty as time went on. He denied the existence of human-caused climate change, he defended regulating radioactive coal ash waste as municipal garbage, he issued a heavily watered down regulation asking natural gas companies not to send toxic frackwater to municipal water treatment plants, and he defended bogus water testing practices and hoarded DEP’s water testing data.
Despite working for the state, at no point did Michael Krancer moderate his anti-government views. He worked tirelessly to undermine the core objective of the agency he was hired to run.
So I do not know what could really be the basis for Tom Fitzgerald’s assumption that Ana Puig must have moderated her paranoid anti-government views to be interested in a government position. There has not been any recent evidence suggesting she has reversed any of her prior positions, and therefore no reason to believe she won’t follow Michael Krancer’s saboteur approach to governance.