Ed Rendell Is a Dope

Attorney General Tom Corbett’s legal challenge to Obama-care is exactly the right thing to do. Why is the governor playing politics with it?

The idiocy of some people never ceases to amaze.

For the latest example, just look how the political hacks reacted to the recent week of Pennsylvania Attorney General Tom Corbett.
First, Corbett’s office was successful in prosecuting former state representative Mike Veon and two others in the Bonusgate scandal, bringing the total number of felony convictions in that corruption investigation to 10. Veon and his cronies were convicted on numerous charges related to using taxpayer money for political campaigns.
Taxpayer money is, in fact, the people’s hard-earned cash that is sent to Harrisburg for the purposes of good government. Using it for anything else, especially campaign activities, is an atrocious breach of the public’s trust.

So sending someone like Veon away with a case of Soap-on-a-Rope should be considered a good thing by all sane and rational Pennsylvanians. Score one for the good guys — us. [SIGNUP]

Later in the week, Corbett sued the federal government over the passage of health care legislation.

He didn’t do this as a partisan Republican, attacking a Democratic health care bill.

No, his decision was rooted in something much more basic: his belief that it is unconstitutional for the federal government to usurp the rights of the state and force citizens to purchase health care — or risk fines and jail.

Wow. Call me crazy, but isn’t that what a state Attorney General is supposed to do — protect the citizens of his state from criminals and unconstitutional laws?

One would think that in these two instances, the political opponents of Tom Corbett could put partisan politics aside and compliment the man for a job well done. After all, the business-as-usual approach to government in Pennsylvania — AKA corruption — suffered a major blow, and our state’s citizens finally have someone fighting for them and their interests.

One would be wrong.

Instead, many Democratic leaders sounded the all-too-trite call that Corbett’s actions were a conflict of interest, since he is the leading Republican candidate for governor. This man, they say, is only pursuing these issues to generate favorable headlines and increase name recognition around the state.

How original.

And stupid.

What the Democrats don’t understand is that the more they call attention to Corbett’s actions, the more they lose. Maybe their arguments make the “political insider crowd” happy, but in the real world, where elections are decided, they could not be more off base. (For more on whether Bonusgate is a fair investigation or politically motivated, watch the author debate the issue on TV’s Business Matters.)

* * *

I’ll give you one guess who the leading Democrat is calling on Corbett to drop his lawsuit. You got it…Governor Rendell. Our obtuse and soon-to-be ex-governor seems to have nothing better to do than stick his nose where it doesn’t belong.

Rendell’s reasoning is that the health-care legislation “will have an enormous positive impact on the lives of every single Pennsylvanian.”
When you cut through Rendell’s hyperbole on the issue, it becomes clear that he is willing to allow his constituents’ rights to go by the wayside in the name of yet another big-government program.

But this should come as no surprise. It’s been Rendell’s M.O. for his entire tenure as governor.

Failing schools? Throw more and more money at the problem, especially into the deathtrap called Philadelphia. Falling revenues in the state? Take more of the people’s money by raising taxes, and institute widespread gambling. Not enough money for all his pet projects and secretive no-bid contracts to his friends and high-dollar contributors? Recklessly increase the state budget.

Is that how a governor should be doing his job?

It’s kinda funny. Rendell criticizes the attorney general for doing his job, but sees nothing wrong in piloting the state directly into the iceberg by failing to do his.

Of course, there is also the possibility that Rendell’s motive for challenging Corbett is to protect his protégé — Ed Rendell-lite and leading Democratic gubernatorial candidate Dan Onorato.

Anything to hold onto power for the sake of….holding onto power. The Rendell legacy.

* * *

Another Democratic genius who weighed in on Corbett’s decision was state House appropriations chairman Dwight Evans, who threatened to “do whatever it takes” to stop the Attorney General.

Incredibly, that meant cutting off all state appropriations to the Office of the Attorney General to prevent Corbett from fighting this legislation. Evans fumed, “He [Corbett] cannot think that he can do whatever he wants with taxpayer money.”

I guess Dwight conveniently forgot how Gov. Rendell and the Democrats used a boatload of taxpayer money to promote the health-care bill. How’s that for a selective memory?

But much more important, Evans’ threat crossed the line regarding separation of powers. Evans is advocating a process by which, whenever a legislative leader disagrees with an attorney general, he’ll just cut off his funding until the AG falls into line. Hey, why not just issue the same threat for the Bonusgate investigation, since some of Dwight’s friends and colleagues have been ensnared in the corruption probe?

Tom Corbett’s response, for which he should be commended, was quite basic: take your threats and stick ‘em where the sun doesn’t shine.
Corbett understands that, regardless of threats, if the attorney general isn’t independent, his office is irrelevant.

Which, by the way, is why we switched from having an appointed AG to an elected one.

Of course, maybe Evans is just upset because the Bonusgate investigation is hitting too close to home, as numerous officials in the Democratic House caucus have been indicted and convicted.

That’s Dwight Evans for you. Politics at its best.


The very independence that Attorney General Corbett is showing has given Pennsylvanians of all stripes reason to start believing again —reason to think that sound, commonsense policy and good government are achievable in Pennsylvania once more; reason to believe that not all elected officials are in it for personal gain and partisan advantage; and reason to hope that we can turn the ship around.

The fact that the likes of Gov. Rendell and Dwight Evans criticize someone for doing the right thing speaks volumes about what both men’s legacies will be.

Chris Freind is an independent columnist and investigative reporter who operates his own news bureau, www.FreindlyFireZone.com
Readers of his column, “Freindly Fire,” hail from six continents, thirty countries and all fifty states. His work has been referenced in numerous publications including The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, foreign newspapers, and in Dick Morris’ recent bestseller “Catastrophe.”
Freind also serves as a weekly guest commentator on the Philadelphia-area talk radio show, Political Talk (WCHE 1520), and makes numerous other television and radio appearances. He can be reached at CF@FreindlyFireZone.com

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  • ugh

    Chris, much like a multitude of Right Wing commentators, you either ignore facts or actually list them and attempt to disprove them by being a total hypocrite. Until Philly Mag stops paying misinformants such as yourself, I’m never going to subscribe to them and continue to block every ad on this site. Sorry, but this is total BS.

  • Meredith

    You and Tom Corbett should both be ashamed of yourselves.

  • Barb Vanderkampf

    ’bout time someone stood up for the little guy. Corbett is doing the right thing. Thank you!

  • Bob Monty

    Let’s make it two for two. I agree with the writer and the AG.

    Kudos to both of them.

    Ed Rendell has been a loser hack his whole life.

  • Mel

    I am not sure that states have so much extra money to throw around for lawsuits that ultimately won’t stop the bill. Tell me what good will come of costly legal action – will the bill be repealed? Could the state use the money in a more effective way? I think so.

  • John Galt MD

    Here’s why you are wrong. Like it or not healthcare is not a ‘free market’ enterprise. The ramifications of illness and poor behaviors that lead to illness and the expenditure of healthcare dollars are carried by the state and it’s citizens – the risk of not being uninsured ultimately is not held by the uninsured person – they get to be freeloaders – as we all become after our insurance runs out and doctors and hospitals still take care of us. Just as with auto insurance – if you want to play – drive or go to an emergency department – the only way the system works is if everyone pays to play. Or do I get to insist on my tax money not paying for someone else’s operation? Nice system – that is called chaos. So the government has the responsibility to step in and manage systems that are outside the ‘free market’ – healthcare and defense being two examples (or should we get to decide on a state by state basis or person by person basis if we want to contribute to the next overseas ‘police-action’) and mandating health insurance so that the the risk pool is as large as possible is essential to any functional healthcare system. Your position and that of the AG – as with most ‘states rights’ BS – is tantamount to the same treason exhibited at Fort Sumter. We tried that once before – it appears you and the Tea Party wants to go another CW round.

  • sterling archer

    Can the Federal government require us to buy a GM car? Of course not. Then how can they require us to buy health insurance? This is an area where the Interstate Commerce Clause doesn’t apply. Besides the Supreme Court has already ruled in several instances that the Federal Government has no business getting involved in Health Care.

    See: Linder v. United States, 268 U.S. 5, 18, 45 S. Ct. 446 (1925), the court ruled: “Obviously, direct control of medical practice in the states is beyond the power the federal government.”

    And in U.S. v. Anthony, 15 Supp. 553, 555, (S.D. Ca., 1936) and U.S. v. Evers, 453 F. Supp. 1141, 1150 (M.D. Ala., 1978), the court ruled: “…The direct control of medical practice has been left to the states.”

    And, in Railroad Retirement Board v. Alton Railroad Co, 295 U.S. 330, 55 S. Ct. 758 (1935), the United States Supreme Court said, “Provision for free medical assistance, nursing, clothing, food, housing, and education of children, and a hundred other matters might with equal propriety be proposed as tending to relieve the employee of mental strain and worry…. These matters obviously lie outside the orbit of congressional power.”

    Corbett has it right on this one. I was proud to see PA represented as one of the first states to file suit over this ridiculous “health reform” law.

    Rendell has shown his true colors. He does not work in our best interests. His only loyalty is to the Democratic party. He doesn’t care about the long-term consequences only that his party stays in power. Fortunately for him the idiots in Philly and the Philly suburbs will undoubtedly continue to vote Democrat.

  • hhhh

    Who is this asshole and why are you giving him a forum, Philly mag?

  • Tom Crowell

    Chris — Tom Corbett sent out a fundraising letter this week that’s all about his opposition to the national health care reform law. So clearly he IS using the lawsuit for political advantage since he didn’t file it as a private citizen.

    I await your outrage over his use of his official office for political gain.

    And please stop calling people names, even if they are elected officials.

  • Pete

    Can’t it be both?

    What Corbett is doing in the “bonusgate” scandal is the right thing for Pennsylvania, AND it’s politically motivated to get his name in the papers (and note that he’s not pursuing similar action against Jane Orie, whose office is almost certainly guilty of the same thing as Veon’s). FYI, I worked in two separate District Offices for State Representatives, and guess what…we did campaign work, too, to a small degree. Maybe Veon’s was more blatant, but THEY ALL DO IT.

    As far as the healthcare bill goes, considering just one of the 14 AGs who’ve filed suit against the bill is a Democrat, well, yeah, of course it’s politically motivated. Corbett is going to use this action to curry favor with all of those who, “cling to their bibles and guns,” as Obama put it, in the coming election. That said, is it wrong that he’s doing it? Probably not. His motivation may be misplaced, but ultimately what he’s doing is looking out for Pennsylvanians against a federal law that may be overstepping its bounds. Which is one of the things he’s supposed to be doing.

    I’m not a huge Corbett fan, but I understand why he’s doing what he’s doing…but only he knows his motivations.

  • Jean Oiseau

    If the R’s would ever come up with a coherent plan of their own after agreeing that something needs to be done, I would agree with candidate for governor, but the party’s platform is misinformation and obstructionism. I am a life long republican and am disgusted with the way the right wing of the party has become its only “truth”.

  • Pete

    Jane, that’s why I left in 2006. Moderate voices are no longer heard in the Republican party. Same reason Specter left. I think it’s time for a viable 3rd party in this country.

    Since the D’s only seem to care about the poorest 10% and the R’s only seem to care about the wealthiest 5%, how about a party for the 85% of us in the middle?

  • Rita

    This article (whoever Chris Friend is) is very unprofessional and another Republican attack dog. Sounds like he knows alot about being a political hack!
    The article is poorly written and I seriously think Mr Corbett would not be interested if he were not a candidate for governor.. Gee ,Larry Menthe and Chris Friend; looks like no integrity for your publication. I will request to be taken off your email list.

  • hwatt

    Given the unusual spelling of name and some facial resemblance, is this guy Freind a son of pre-Tea Party anti-choice zealot Stephen F. Freind?

    Freind complains about convenient forgetting. I have a bit of convenient remembering for him. Remember former AG Preate? He brought Casey v. Plannned Parenthood, seeking to reverse Roe v. Wade. We’re lucky that he lost. And it’s poetic justice that Preate later did a year in jail, on charges that his counsel managed to bargain down to “mere” mail fraud.

    Let’s hope that history repeats itself for political right wing hack Corbett.

  • Pat

    This bill is yet another unfunded mandate. Money will be required of retired people their coverage under Medicare is already been decreased under this bill as money is taken from Medicare budgets and will be used to pay for others.

    In addiition, no where in the constitution is the Federal government given the power to tell us exactly what we must buy from private insurers.

    With any luck, Justice Kennedy will have a good day and vote for American Freedom. Considering how insulting the President has been to the Supreme Court, he just might.

    Mr. Corbet may be the devil himself, but if he wins this suit, he will have been used to good purpose.

  • Scott

    Philly mag you just lost my subscription
    I can’t believe you would provide a forum for someone to spout absolute lies
    I appreciate someone challenging my ideas but don’t lie outright
    Not a good move on your part

  • brian

    Why does Philly Mag (via Philly Post) continue to publish such crap by Chris Freind? He is a nothing political blogger/son of a Republican scion-with little to add to the noise of political commentary. Please find someone who can provide insight into politics, rather than spew the sophomoric garbage that the junior Mr. Friend seems to favor.

  • Lilly

    Here is what I dont understand (Rita, Brian, “Ugh”). Why dont you stop name calling and defend your argument with some facts. Stop talking about right wings, republicans, and saying the writing is bad and voice your educated opinions, if you have one. Even if you disagree with Chris, he is attempting to voice his opinion and back it up.

    Oh and Brian do your homework, Chris has plenty of clout on his own, aside from his father (which his relation to politician has no revelance to the story at hand).

    And last time I checked, the Liberals were all about Free Speech. Funny what happens when the tables are turned? You dont want to read anything you disagree with.

  • Phillyman

    Chris Freind is the onlt investigative / opinion columnist in this left wing town worth a damn. Good stuff Chris – keep it up!

  • Phillyman

    Chris Freind is the only investigative / opinion columnist in this left wing town worth a damn. Good stuff Chris – keep it up!

  • Phillyman

    brian – another lefty hack

  • steve d

    Chris: you’re missing the bigger picture. This is a moral issue: does the USA continue to allow it’s citizens to die and go bankrupt due to illness or do we join the rest of the Western world and make healthcare a right for all. Open your mind and your eyes.

  • http://www.givemeliberty2010.com bulldawg

    I never seen so many Socialist in my life as on this blog, I thought I was reading the Moscow Times. Everyone of you idiots who thinks its fine to step on the constitution need a one way ticket to the USSR. I believe there needs to be reform but anytime you have to bribe congressmen and senators to pass a bill something is wrong. What are you idiots going to do when the rich run out of money to pay for your welcare benefits, what are you going to do when all the fortune 500 companies pickup and head elsewhere, and what are you going to do when this country is bankrupt? See Socialism seems to be a great thing until you run out of other peoples money.

  • Greg czar

    Chris you are the Dope.

  • Scott

    Bulldawg you idiot
    where in the constitution does it say you can not provide health insurance to all of your citizens ?
    You are an ass quoting something you do not understand
    like most right wing fanatics you probably have not ever read what you are quoting

  • JoePlumber

    Ugh and Meredith just love their good ol’ fashioned Democrat machine corruption!

    Barry Hussein has the Chicago way, Eddie and the Cruisers have the PA way. Either way, we’re all screwed.

  • Scott

    I believe Joe the plumber actually saidhe would not allow his children to be around homosexuals
    so he is probably not your best choice for a screen name

  • JoePlumber

    Scott, touche! Good to see you got your nose out of the Huffington Post long enough to read a contrary viewpoint.

  • Scott

    Typical shot back
    I comment with facts and you take a shot
    not that surprising

  • JoePlumber

    Scott, you took a shot at me, poor little Joe, not anything I, or Mr. Freind, said. Maybe I should start my own column so you can post comments about what I actually say, rather than just make lame observations about my pseudonym.

  • ugh

    Lilly said: “Here is what I dont understand (Rita, Brian, “Ugh”). Why dont you stop name calling and defend your argument with some facts.”

    Unlike a large swath of the Tea Partiers, I have a job. Therefore, I don’t have a ton of time to troll message boards to selectively read people’s columns and statements and draw ill-informed conclusions.

  • Lilly

    Yet Ugh, you managed to come back to this site and write a response to my post. Wouldn’t that mean that you are “trolling”, yourself? Wouldn’t your response, which again name calls, take just as much time as writing an informed an opinion.

    For the record, I have too have a job. I actually have two. I think its swell that we are both employed but that doesn’t change the fact that you have yet to provide a decent argument or any fact to support it. You don’t need to be employed to have an educated opinion.

    p.s. Why don’t you do your homework and check the unemployment stats and the demographics that go with it. While I am a not a “Tea Party Patriot”, they are about fiscal responsibility and working. Looks like you are batting a 1000 for accuracy today.

  • Jacob

    To Scott: Please go back and read the Constitution. It states the rights of man that the Federal Govt cannot take not what the govt can or should give you. I don’t think anyone is saying reform is not needed. It just shouldn’t be done in this manner. We already have govt healthcare in the form of medicare medicade and the VA. None of which are financially responsible or provide great service. Why add more govt failure?

  • Ray

    When did Americans get lazy and decide it’s OK to ask for handouts? The beauty of this country is that you can work and try and make something of yourself. There is no law in this country that says the government has the right to force you to buy something you don’t want – plain and simple. I’m all for healthcare, but right now about 85% of Americans have healthcare, so lets focus on how to help the other 15% help themselves. Busting up the system that works for 85% of Americans is not an intelligent answer. The AG is correct in his assessment. Those who continue to push Obamacare obviously never ran a company. If the dopes in government would focus on sound economic plans for expanding job growth (no, not a “stimulus” plan – that’s just another form of welfare and welfare does NOT create jobs, product or services. It only “creates” lazy people – just walk around Philly and see for yourself), then more people would be productive, tax base would expand and the economy would improve

  • Greg K., PA

    And Chris Friend doesn’t know jack about Constitutional law. This suit is a political stunt by a bunch of Republicans running for office in an attempt to find an “activist judge” who will overturn 100 years of legal precedent.

    Chris Friend is the dope. Maybe he should figure what he’s talking about before he starts running his mouth off.

    I guess, once again, reality has a liberal bias.

  • Greg K., PA

    Wow, Bulldawg – what a troll. The USSR hasn’t existed for two decades. Weren’t you busy praising Reagan for that?

    If you had bothered to read the Constitution the whole way, you’d know that the Federal Government is expressly granted the right to regulate interstate commerce and the Supreme Court has ruled again and again that the Federal Government can impose mandates on individual citizens. If you had your way and this law were struck down, then we wouldn’t be able to have a draft, fight the drug war, etc. and about 90% of the legislation from the last century would be gone.

    Because the 1800s were such a good time for liberty and equality in America… well, maybe if you were rich and white.

  • brian

    The US Constitution gives Congress the power to promote “general welfare.” This power has been used to mandate US citizens and foreign nationals working or conducting business in the US to pay taxes. The same power would allow Congress to tax those forgo health insurance. It is a tax penalty. In the same way Congress can mandate a draft for military service. Further, as has been upheld by numerous Supreme Court rulings, the Commerce Clause gives Congress the power to regulate state activity—an activity being commerce if it had a “substantial economic effect” on interstate commerce or if the “cumulative effect” of one act could have an effect on such commerce. Thus healthcare reform is well within Congress’ powers.

    Republican AGs hope to challenge legal precedence, thwart healthcare reform, and further their political careers by appealing to the “another nickel in my pocket” Republicans and their fear of all things involving government. But they will do so using the tax revenues that these “all for me” Republicans hate so viscerally.

    As For Mr. Freind, I’ll stick by my assessment of him; nothing substantive to add to political debate, a small time blogger trying to play off his father’s credentials, who disseminates sophomoric commentary in an attempt to be relevant.

  • Mugan

    According to the powers vested in me as protector of the Federal Government, the Union, and judge of the human politic, in accordance with the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution, I hereby declare that the following individuals, under penalty of law, are prohibited from withdrawing their subscriptions to the Philly Post or removing themselves from the e-mail list:

    Greg K.
    Greg Czar

    The activity of subscribing or commenting on these issues affects the stream of commerce between states, i.e. you may subscribe, as an alternative, to a site not residing in Pennsylvania or attempt to influence others residing in other states with your propaganda.

    This activity clearly affects interstate commerce and the sharing of ideas.

    Consequently, the Federal Government has authority to regulate this exchange of information.

    Moreover, just like insurance, the Philly Post needs all to contribute their dollars or the system will fail as a public good and the people will have contributed to this market failure -sub optimal provision of goods and services.

    I, as the protector of the Federal Government, shall not let this division occur and shall extinguish any dissenting opinion and fine those who do not contribute their fair share, a right guaranteed by the Commerce Clause.

  • The Democrats are Traitors

    Liberal scum like brian are hell-bent on destroying the United States and should be deprived of all political power before we’re all dead. Never before has a legislature in any free nation required the people to purchase a product against their will as a condition of being alive. But brian, being borderline Communist, sees no problem with this, and intentionally misrepresents and contorts precedent in order to back up his insane views.

    These liberal bastards say that conservatives who are standing up against the tyranny of the Democratic Party are nothing but greedy people who want to pay less in taxes. Democrats are worse than Islamic fascists; at least the Islamic fascist terrorists are honest about their desire to kill Americans.

  • Declan

    My hunch is that Corbett’s lawsuit falls short, but it is a close call legally despite the startling number of commentators who seem to recall something about the commerce clause that they learned, sort of, in the tenth grade.

    It is also not a trivial issue: it boils down to the question of whether there exists any meaningful limit on the power of the federal government. This is an important legal issue, something Ed Rendell knows full well when he is acting like the capable lawyer he is rather than the ex-chair of the DNC.

  • daFACTS

    And it’s taken you how long to figure FA$T EDDIE is a DOPE?? 8 years in Philly, 6 years in Harrisburg & every sunday b4 and after eagles games on comcast! Most people I lknow figured it out decades ago!!!

  • Terry C – NJ

    I couldn’t stand Chris Freind’s father. Talk about a right wing zealot.

    Stephen Freind got on TV and said that it was impossible for rape victims to get pregnant because fear unleashed a natural spermicide. A local columnist mocked Freind’s idiotic statement by saying the spermicide was a million microscopic nuns wielding rules.

    I see the rotten fruit didn’t fall far from the diseased tree.

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