Monday, July 25, 2005

Young Bill Scranton wants to be Pennsylvania's First Heathen Govenor

Scranton: 'Appetite for change' - PittsburghLIVE.com:

Pennsylvania has had many Christian Govenors and a few Jewish Govenors but is Pennsylvania preparred for a Heathen Govenor. Bill Scranton an avowed heathen is a follower of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi the founder of a Far Eastern Cult known in the west as "Transcendental Meditation" or "TM". Bill Scranton needs to come clean on his religion and on his history of drug use. Barry O'Connell

"Scranton: 'Appetite for change'

By Bill Steigerwald
Saturday, July 23, 2005

Bill Scranton almost became governor of Pennsylvania in 1986 when he lost one of the closest gubernatorial elections in commonwealth history to Robert Casey. Scranton, who was Gov. Dick Thornburgh's lieutenant governor from 1979 to 1987, is one of the leading Republican candidates vying for the chance to challenge Gov. Ed Rendell next year. The son of former Gov. William W. Scranton, he calls himself a "progressive conservative" who believes "in limited government and strong free markets." Scranton has extensive experience as an executive in direct marketing and insurance. I talked to him by telephone on Wednesday, his 58th birthday, when he came to Pittsburgh to announce that FreeMarkets founder Glen Meakem would be his "Scranton 2006" campaign chairman:
Q: Pennsylvania is by all accounts and all measures an economically stagnating state, with probably too many taxes and too many regulations left over from the New Deal. Is it fixable?

A: Yes.

Q: How would you fix it?

A: Cut the cost of government, return private tax money to the private sector, and tighten education so that it is meeting standards. Those are the most important.

Q: And these things can be done without spending more money, without raising taxes?

A: It's got to be, because we're not competitive right now. We don't have a choice.

Q: What's the most pressing problem the state has now -- something the governor can do right now?

A: It is not competitive. We are not attractive to new jobs, not attractive to new investments. We are not keeping up with our sister states or, on a more compelling basis at the moment, other nations of the world. ... Government in this era has to be conducted on a very lean basis, with an eye toward creating an investment climate that is compelling.

Q: Does that mean throwing subsidies at companies to bring them in here?

A: The exact opposite. We've been playing that game in Pennsylvania for 50 years and we are 47th or 48th in this nation in economic growth. ... That tells you we are on the wrong path. Instead of government making political decisions about where subsidies ought to go, let's put money back into the private sector and let the private sector make decisions about where its investments are going to be. ... (I)investment will come into this state as a matter of course.

Q: Is there any one worst thing that Gov. Rendell has done that you would try to fix or reverse as soon as you took office?

A: The worst thing he's done is waste time. He came in with a mandate to change Pennsylvania and has not done it. He's raised taxes, he's borrowed money, he's brought in gambling -- none of which has made a bit of difference to this state. Now, what a governor has got to do is very quickly take costs out of government, very quickly lower taxes, very quickly make ourselves more attractive to investment.

Q: Would you have vetoed the legislative pay raise?

A: Yes.

Q: What would have happened then? Would you have been over-ridden by the Legislature?

A: I don't think it would have been. I blame the legislative pay raise on the governor. I think that was his deal to get his budget. If the governor isn't prepared to make that deal, there is no pay raise. Were I governor, it wouldn't have been a bill.

Q: How do you define your politics?

A: I don't have a glib, two-word answer. But I would say "progressive conservative." That is to say, I believe in conservative means to progressive ends -- that is, to growth, to change. I am one who embraces the future but believes in limited government, strong free markets and strong free people.

Q: How have your ideas about the role of state government changed over the last 18 years?

A: I've become less convinced that government programs are answers to economic problems. I've become impressed with the power of the New Economy and how it can reap greater opportunity for more people. The older I've gotten, the more I've learned, the more I believe in the power of free people and free markets, and I believe it's the government's job to support and protect both of those.

Q: No incumbent governor in modern state history has lost a run for re-election. What makes you think you will be able to make Gov. Rendell be the first?

A: Because I think I have a compelling vision for the state. I think the people recognize that he has squandered his opportunity. And I know there is a real appetite for change right now in Pennsylvania.

Q: Where in the state is Rendell most vulnerable?

A: I think he's most vulnerable in Western Pennsylvania. The farther you get away from Philadelphia, the more vulnerable he becomes.

Q: The people in Western Pennsylvania are Johnstown Democrats -- conservative social Democrats. There's still a lot of union thinking going on around here. Why would he be vulnerable here?

A: I think it's because he promised a new Pennsylvania and didn't deliver. And people in Western Pennsylvania are wise enough to know that the old days dominated by steel mills and heavy manufacturing are gone and they want something new and they look around the world and see that it is possible and ask why can't it be possible here.

Q: Can you win back any of those rich Republicans in the Philly suburbs who voted for Rendell in 2002?

A: Absolutely, because many of them have been disappointed by his leadership. They are Republicans. They are willing to vote Republican with the right message and, obviously, I need to get to them.

Q: You will probably have to comment with your interest in Transcendental Meditation, which became an important issue in the final days of your 1986 campaign against Bob Casey (when the Casey campaign unearthed photos of a younger Scranton in long hair and beads). How will you deal with it?

A: It's pretty simple. First of all, people don't like the kind of personal negative advertising that went on in 1986 and they've shown that. Second of all, 20 years on, the idea of somebody closing their eyes every once in a while and relaxing their mind and releasing some of their tension is not a foreign idea anymore. And that's all this is. James Carville clearly tried to make it into something ugly and it backfired on them, actually. A lot of people don't understand this, but it did. The (poll) numbers after that came out began to erode for Bob Casey, but unfortunately for me, they didn't erode fast enough.

Bill Steigerwald can be reached at (412) 320-7983 or bsteigerwald@tribweb.com."

Beaver County Times Allegheny Times - News - 07/25/2005 - Casey Still Over Shadows Republican gubernatorial hopefuls

Beaver County Times Allegheny Times - News - 07/25/2005 - Republican gubernatorial hopefuls differ in speaking styles, not much else: "Republican gubernatorial hopefuls differ in speaking styles, not much else
Marc Levy, Associated Press Writer

GRANTVILLE, Pa. - Three candidates for the GOP's gubernatorial nomination gave a list of reasons Saturday why they want to unseat Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell, but offered a Republican crowd little contrast among themselves - other than their public-speaking styles.

Former Lt. Gov. William Scranton III thundered from the podium, gesturing at every turn and audibly tapping his fingers in front of the microphone to underscore his points.

Lynn Swann smiled early and often throughout his speech, warming up the crowd of GOP faithful with stories from his days as a star wide receiver with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

And state Sen. Jeffrey Piccola, known for his serious personality, effusively thanked the crowd for their grassroots work on GOP campaigns, but yielded most of his speaking time to a campaign consultant who narrated a PowerPoint presentation of Pennsylvania voting trends.

About 150 county chairmen, volunteers and party operatives at a suburban Harrisburg hotel listened, having already attended training sessions on grassroots organizing at a Republican State Committee event.

The state committee will likely endorse a candidate early next year, several months ahead of the gubernatorial primary.

The election will be held in November 2006 and Rendell is expected to run for re-election.

Already, the candidates are raising campaign funds and traveling around the state, promising to reach every county.

Saturday's event was not the first time the three men have appeared together.

On policy, all three hit on the traditional GOP theme of cutting taxes, and Piccola even talked about ending property taxes as a way to fund public schools.

Education was also a central theme, as the candidates talked about the need to improve schools and bring down costs.

None of the candidates mentioned his competitors by name; and none told listeners why he would be a better person than the other two to bear the GOP standard.

Scranton, the only one of the three to have won a statewide election, sought to reassure the crowd that he is "deadly serious" about returning to statewide public office after nearly two decades in the private sector.

"I lost an election in '86," he said, referring to a gubernatorial campaign he lost to Democrat Robert P. Casey. "I'm not going to lose another election."

Piccola's campaign consultant, John Morgan, said that Piccola's name-recognition in central Pennsylvania should help increase turnout in his favor; he also said Piccola's Italian heritage would appeal to Italians in the battleground suburbs around Philadelphia.

Piccola twice called himself "the strongest candidate to bring off" a victory against Rendell, whose broad appeal in southeastern Pennsylvania helped carry him to victory in 2002.

And Swann, who works as a college football television analyst and co-chaired the African-American steering committee for the Bush-Cheney campaign, used anecdotes from the Steelers' championship days to illustrate the trust and leadership he said he would bring to the governor's office.

"I am about winning people," he said. "Let's get that straight."

┬ęBeaver County Times Allegheny Times 2005 "