#PAGov: Why Oh Why Can’t We Have Better Democratic Hacks?

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Thomas Fitzgerald asks Democratic consultant Larry Ceisler for the Democratic take on the New Gentle Tom Corbett product roll-out, and Larry utterly fails to deliver the payload:

Philadelphia Democratic consultant Larry Ceisler said he still heard in Corbett’s speeches the familiar themes of fiscal responsibility and accountability.

The difference these days, said Ceisler, is that Corbett is in a position to argue that the reason the state has more money to spread around is because of the belt-tightening he championed in his first year in office.

And if that helps him politically, said Ceisler, “there is nothing wrong with that.”

“He reads the newspapers,” said Ceisler. “He reads the polls. It’s not like the man is sitting in a bubble.”

Whether the new tone continues and translates into wider public support remains to be seen. But, Ceisler noted, Corbett’s narrative these days may at the very least help blunt some of the more vicious critiques of his administration’s policies.

“He may not win people over,” Ceisler said, “but perhaps he gets to soften some of the

Where this goes off the rails is that Larry gives Tom Corbett credit for “belt-tightening” – a thing that simply has not occurred under Tom Corbett’s administration, and a thing that voters also do not believe has happened.

The story of the past 3 years is that Corbett and the Republicans thought $1 billion in business tax cuts were more important than using the same $1 billion for basic education and health care and public services. That’s not “belt-tightening” it’s the definition of fiscal promiscuity.

The Democratic hacks we need would take the “hard choices” Republican talking point head on. Corbett made the lowest political difficulty choices he could have made – prioritizing stuff powerful business leaders want over the needs of powerless school children and poor people.

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11 Responses to #PAGov: Why Oh Why Can’t We Have Better Democratic Hacks?

  1. Sean Kitchen says:

    Maybe because Larry Ceisler never opened up a book by Goerge Lakoff? Or because Dems and Progressives don’t have the financial resources to make our hacks better than the well funded right wing hacks?

    • Jon Geeting says:

      I think Sizzler just likes trolling us more than he likes helping the party he allegedly identifies with.

  2. Adam Lang says:

    ” Or because Dems and Progressives don’t have the financial resources to make our hacks better than the well funded right wing hacks?”

    Is this an actual serious comment?

    • Sean Kitchen says:

      That was sarcasm, but the premise of the statement is true. I don’t see any liberal or progressive think tanks having any influence in state or local politics and the funding behind it has everything to do with the success of those think tanks. Conservatives have billionaires who’ll fund think tanks on any level of government. Liberals and progressives only have labor unions to fund candidates, think tanks, and grassroots organizations. Our piggy bank isn’t that large…

      • Jon Geeting says:

        Individuals are donating most to SuperPACs after Citizens United, then unions, then corporations. Liberals don’t have a money problem, they have a coordination problem and a messaging problem.


        • Sean Kitchen says:

          I’ll agree with you on the fact that Dems suck at messaging, but the GOP has the advantage when it comes to playing the media and influencing their echo chamber. Progressives and liberals don’t have the influence on the media. We don’t have anything on the left that has the messaging capacity of the Heritage Foundation, mercatus institute or other groups. They’ve been doing this work for 30 years now.

          Besides people who point out Dems shitty messaging in the activist driven netroots, with people like Digby, Atrios and others, the left doesn’t have the infrastructure to match up the right. Even on the state level, the Pennsylvania Budget Policy Center does awesome work, but doesn’t have the media network or coordination as does the Commonwealth Foundation / PA Indy, which is both funded by the Franklin Center. Sure we have Center for American Progress which funds Think Progress or other institutions that fund Mother Jones and other media outlets.

          I still think that most of the shitty messaging from Dems come from lack of infrastructure, lack of funds and lack of experience with getting everyone on the same board.

          • Jon Geeting says:

            I just don’t agree with that. I’ve seen the Open Society Foundations’ grantee roster on this front, because I used to work there, and it is very deep nationally, and in many states. We just happen to live in a state where the progressive infrastructure is very thin.

      • Adam Lang says:

        So is it sarcasm or do you think it is true?

        Regardless, as Jon says, Dems and the left don’t have a funding problem.

  3. Jon Geeting says:

    It’s more a messaging problem. Conservatives are more comfortable with party authority and conformity and it’s one reason they do the strong political party thing better than liberals. Charlie Gerow is spinning hard in this article because he wants to help his party’s nominee more than he wants to provide nuanced analysis. That’s what you do. Save the navel gazing for the cocktail circuit Larry!