Citizens alliance of Pennsylvania turns Keystone State politics upside down.
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But a career legislator John Kennedy was not (and no, he’s no relation to those Kennedys of Massachusetts). This John Kennedy is a thorough-going capitalist. An up-by-his-bootstraps railroad builder who served four two-year terms in the House and departed, Kennedy talks lovingly of CAP’s mission in Pennsylvania as what he calls “an American project… rebuilding America’s First House.” Which, among other things, means the considerably hard job of changing the state capital’s legislative culture.
Tracing the history of the Pennsylvania General Assembly from its beginning — which is to say out from under the Royal thumb in 1776 through its emergence in 1790 as a bicameral legislature and on to its current status of 203 House members and 50 senators, Kennedy pulls no punches:
“What we have here is a General Assembly that’s been built up over 45 years to be maybe the most expensive, perhaps at times the least effective. And certainly, most recently we put 12 or 14 former members, two Speakers who are actually either going to jail or in jail because of the process that developed. It worked well for the professional politicians, not so well for the taxpayers.”
That, he says, is what CAP is all about.
Fair enough. But as any American activist can attest, beyond the stated goal in a political venture of this size and scope is the rocky road to achievement. Taking on that “Iron Triangle” is no small thing.
There is that need for what the legendary late Speaker of the California House Jesse Unruh called “the mother’s milk of politics” — money. Not to mention candidates, issue focus, and all the nitty-gritty in the down-to-earth day-to-day of politics.
CAP, to the surprise — and anger — of its critics, is getting the job done. In fact, the reason the three-year old group has critics in the first place is that it has made an impact.
To start they have had Scott R. Wagner.
Scott Wagner is a capitalist. An enthusiastic entrepreneur. A job creator.
This is the kind of guy who has been at the center of the storm over President Obama’s gaffe-that-really-wasn’t-a-gaffe about small business owners not creating their own business — the “someone else did that” routine.
Wagner begs to differ. After allowing that he respects the office of the presidency, Wagner pulls no punches whether the topic is the President, state government, or the 13 attorneys.
The 13 attorneys? What’s up with that?
You guessed it. Here is a man who founded his first business when he was 20, turning his passion for skiing into a ski shop. Working night and day, he began adding rental properties and Laundromats. By 1985 he began a waste company, developed it in 12 years, sold it — and had so much fun he did it again, starting in 2000.
In 2000, Wagner began Penn Waste. Contrary to the impression left by President Obama, Mr. Wagner has built his business into a considerable success without the President’s input. Respectfully, he calls Barack Obama “totally clueless,” the presidential socializing profits routine leaving Wagner feeling “insulted.” Wagner notes crisply that it was he who has “borrowed, leveraged and worked 100 hour work weeks” to build a company that now employs 300 people as it provides waste disposal services with 100 trucks in six Pennsylvania counties. All told, Scott Wagner is involved in 9 different businesses, directly or indirectly employing over a thousand people.
And the 13 attorneys.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?