In Pennsylvania Democratic politics, vote-buying and racism are "time-honored" traditions. In the 2006 gubernatorial race, Democrat Ed Rendell sent out $740,000 in so-called "walking around money," mainly to Black districts in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh (source: The Almanac of American Politics, p. 1378, 2008 edition). Was this money used to buy votes? I'm "shocked, shocked" to hear that you think so. In his campaign (against Republican Lynn Swann)., Rendell ran commercials against his African-American opponent. Some of the TV ads were in black-and-white and slow motion. They made Swann, an NFL-Hall-of-Fame football player and national sports reporter, look like a numbers runner in Harlem in the 1940s. For those of you who don't pay a lot of attention to Pennsylvania politics, this is probably the first time you're hearing these stories. It's par for the course in our state -- and so are the payoffs by the Obama Campaign for "services rendered" by Congressmen Patrick Murphy and Jason Altmire. In PA Democratic politics, money talks . . . a blue-state streak.
Exactly how much "walking around money" does Barack Obama intend to pour into Philadelphia, Pittsburgh (and don't forget Harrsiburg and Lancaster!)? Since Obama has gone back on his word to accept public financing, he will have perhaps a half-billion dollars (!!!) to play around with. That should make the vote-buyers and street corner "consultants" in urban Pennsylvania very happy. On the question of "how much?" perhaps one of our intrepid PA journalists might ask him? But that may be asking too much.
The rest of this column, about two Pennsylvania representatives who sold out to Barack Obama, Jason Altmire and Patrick Murphy, is on my Pennsylvania blog. I hope you'll visit. (http://pennsylvaniaforjohnmccain.blogspot.com/)