The holidays are upon us, and as such, we thought it would be a good idea to let you in on the secret Christmas lists for Pennsylvania politicos. Even our esteemed elected officials are not above sending their wish lists to the North Pole, and due to our deep connections with the portly guy in the red suit, we were able to capture some of them for your pleasure.
Governor-elect Tom Corbett – Corbett has a very short, very simple request of Santa this year: $4 billion cash, in small bills (or large bills or check or money order or rupee.) Corbett has a gargantuan budget chasm to fill as he takes office, and his promise to deliver an on-time budget with no tax increase is pretty much predicated on him finding the aforementioned pile of loot sometime between now and June 30, 2011.
House Majority Leader Mike Turzai – Turzai takes command of a 112-person caucus-palooza on the first Tuesday in January. He also has a policy agenda as long as the Nile. So his request from Santa this year is unity. As we have mentioned before, handling 112 differing points of view can get dicey when the tough votes come down the pike, since members have a tendency to feel comfortable breaking ranks with such a large majority. Governing majorities are much different than partisan majorities, so Turzai needs a big box of unity from which to draw during the next two years.
Senate Pro Tem Joe Scarnati and Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi – These two power-brokers have, in the true spirit of smaller government, decided to combine their wish lists for the coming year. They are both, after all, looking for the same thing under their respective trees on Christmas morning: peace. The Senate GOP majority knows that the House can be a rather rambunctious and hyper-partisan body from time to time, two adjectives that could never describe the Senate GOP. It will be Pileggi and Scarnati who will be leaned upon heavily to keep the ship of state, and Tom Corbett’s agenda, sailing along smoothly.
Auditor General Jack Wagner – Wagner has asked Santa for a new microphone, since he has worn the old one out lately with his steady stream of press conferences. Wagner has become perhaps the most active Auditor General in memory, using his office to uncover inefficiencies and abuses across all levels of government. Expect more of the same next year.
House Minority Leader Frank Dermody – The soft-spoken Dermody takes the helm of the bruised House Democrats in January, and he has asked Santa for two things: a solid map-making strategy and a megaphone. The megaphone will help break through the noise and try to get his caucus to affect the upcoming policy debates through the only tool the minority really has, which is the media. The map-maker, of course, will be necessary to ensure the Democrats are not doomed to the minority for the rest of the decade when reapportionment is wrapped up.
House Minority Appropriations Chairman Joe Markosek – Markosek slides into the role that Dwight Evans held since 1991, which is kind of like being named to coach Penn State after Joe Paterno retires. All Markosek wants for Christmas, therefore, is a little bit of time. Time to learn the ropes, get a handle on the books, and make his own mark.
Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa – See above, and replace “Dwight Evans” with “Bob Mellow.”
State Treasurer Rob McCord – McCord has spent the past two years handling his business rather nicely. He wants some name recognition from Santa this year so that his options for 2012, and perhaps more importantly 2014, remain wide open.
U.S. Senator Bob Casey, Jr. – Casey, he of the remarkable ability to stay above the partisan muck that affects so many of his colleagues, really wants an uptick in the economy for Christmas. If Santa can deliver that little gift, it is pretty difficult to see Casey not winning re-election in 2012.
U.S. Senator-elect Pat Toomey – After running a tough, disciplined and nearly-flawless race, our new Junior Senator is pretty much the man who has it all, which makes Santa’s job easy. So for Christmas, Toomey is looking for a few key committee appointments so he can hit the ground running for Pennsylvania. Having served in Congress, Toomey has already mastered the “where are the bathrooms” minutiae usually associated with incoming freshmen.
Governor Ed Rendell – Rendell is asking Santa for the much more traditional gift of a few new ties this year. He does, after all, need to look snazzy sitting behind the desk of whatever cable news company snags his ample talents in the coming year!
Outgoing Rendell senior staff – Some bubble wrap, tape and boxes to remove all the memories of eight years of governance.
Incoming Corbett senior staff – A whole lot of “Ts” and “Cs” for their computer keyboards. Some of those will have likely been removed by the more mischievous of the departing Rendellies.
House Press Secretaries Stephen Miskin (R) and Bob Caton (D) – These two masters of the Tweet-war (@Sam1963 and @BobCaton) have waged some good battles over the past two years. So we’re gonna go ahead and make a request of Santa for both of them: Oversized boxing gloves so we can stage the charity boxing match @TriadStrategies!
And to all a goodnight!