Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Corbett's Undoing a Term of Disappointment Begets a Historic Ending

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Corbett's Undoing a Term of Disappointment Begets a Historic Ending

Article excerpt

Four years ago, Tom Corbett said he wasn't afraid of being a one- term governor. Based on his ignominious loss Tuesday, maybe someone should have put the fear into him. What he meant back then, of course, was that he expected to take such bold action that people might not like what he would accomplish. If only it were true.

Instead, his performance in office was so timid that he gave allies few reasons to back him (polls showed his Republican support to be soft) and opponents plenty of opportunity to bring him down. As a result, Mr. Corbett forfeited the chance for four more years in office, the first Pennsylvania governor in the modern era to lose a re-election bid. It was a humiliating finish for the former state attorney general.

To make matters worse, his 10-point loss to a political novice ran counter to the Republican gubernatorial victories that swept the nation the same day. Polarizing governors such as Sam Brownback of Kansas and Scott Walker of Wisconsin staked claims to new terms while the Corbett campaign could not find the winner's circle with a roadmap.

Right from the start, Mr. Corbett's administration had difficulty, then the governor and his aides compounded the trouble by failing to engage the public or members of the Republican-led Legislature in his agenda.

The approach of the former prosecutor from Shaler on transportation was emblematic. Early on, Mr. Corbett identified funding as a problem that needed to be solved, yet he didn't push hard enough on his own blue ribbon panel's recommendations, taking more than two years to get a plan passed. Education funding was another pitfall for the governor. Mr. Corbett never made a convincing argument that he had no choice but to reduce aid to school districts initially because federal stimulus dollars had run out. …

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