PA Pols Should Keep Their Boozing and Schmoozing at Home

Chris Freind is wrong. The Pennsylvania Society event should not be held in NYC.

Don’t you just love when a politician begins a sentence with “My good friend”? It’s the kiss of death. It means he or she is about to verbally eviscerate another politician, usually a member of the same legislative body. Well, this week, “my good friend,” who happens to be named Chris Freind and writes for the Philly Post, defended the indefensible—that the Pennsylvania Society holds its annual dinner in … New York.

My good friend started by criticizing those who dare point out that the Pennsylvania Society might want to consider actually holding its annual convention and spending its money here in Pennsylvania. Chris thinks this is such an absurd idea that he labeled such stories, like the one I am about to write, as only useful “when you run out of toilet paper.” I wish Chris luck using my story for his more earthly endeavors.

My good friend goes on to call those who press for keeping the convention here at home as “lazy” and “self-righteous,” which may be mutually exclusive terms because it’s hard work to be self-righteous. I know. I was a TV anchor.

Chris writes: “Why isn’t it held in Philadelphia or Pittsburgh? Uh, this is a no-brainer. Because, literally, no one would go. Period. No city in the world comes close to matching the electricity flowing through New York in December. There is nothing better. End of story.”

Well, I guess we can just pack up the Wanamaker light show and the Comcast super-video display. In fact, why don’t we just give up trying to get conventions, since New York is so much better? I happen to think Philadelphia or Pittsburgh would do a wonderful job of hosting the annual convention. Oh, and people wouldn’t have to go. They would stay. Remember? That’s the whole point.

And yes, historically, the Pennsylvania Society event has been held in New York, but if we applied the “it’s always been done that way” argument to every call for a common-sense change, then graft and corruption would run rampant in the city. Oh, wait.

Chris also argues that the annual event is not all backroom deals in smoke-filled rooms because “New York has one of those ridiculous, all-encompassing smoking bans.” Yes, how silly that New York cares about the health of the non-smoker. Maybe that’s just one more reason why we should keep the convention in Pennsylvania, where bad deals in smoked-filled backrooms are not only acceptable, but encouraged.

Chris writes that “the last time a candidate was ‘anointed’ at the Pennsylvania Society was Bill Scranton for governor. In 1962,” as a way of arguing that backroom deals are not made at the PA Society event. First, I don’t think that’s true. I think Bill Scranton is the last candidate picked at the convention that we know about. But more importantly, selecting candidates aren’t the kind of deals anyone is complaining about. It’s the kind that dole out taxpayer money to political supporters. You know, the ones who throw the big private parties for the Pennsylvania politicians in New York this time of year.

Chris takes issue with those who say the money would be better spent in Pennsylvania, or not quite so lavishly at all, with “It’s probably a bad image, but damn it’s a fun time!”

Well now, hell, how can I argue with that? Seriously, who cares if Pennsylvania is going through a recession, our businesses are hurting and unemployment is in double digits? Who are we to ask our political leaders to stop having fun because of our misery? Man, I feel selfish.

Chris also writes that the fact he attends the event means that it’s not about “all the power elite playing in their privileged world.”

Actually, I don’t consider the people who go to be “elite.” Quite the contrary, I find them to be a sorry combination of beggars, thieves, wanna-be’s, frauds and con artists who convene for an annual end-of-year party in New York City to celebrate how they got rich off of Pennsylvania taxpayers.

Chris ends his post with, “So I raise my glass to keeping the Pennsylvania Society Weekend exactly where it belongs—New York City. Cuban cigar, anyone?”

No thanks. I’ll be at McNally’s in Chestnut Hill having a Schmitter and contributing to the local economy. As for the Cuban cigar, McNally’s is smoke-free too.