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Lowman Henry
Lowman Henry

Lincoln Blog

by Lowman S. Henry

Senator Daylin Scarnati

January 30, 2013

With friends like this . . .

You have to wonder which team Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati is playing for these days. As the leader of Republicans in the state senate it is reasonable to expect he might be reading from the same play book, if not exactly on the same page as GOP Governor Tom Corbett.

A listener unfamiliar with Keystone state politics attending Scarnati's news conference yesterday could easily have confused him for the Democratic leader.

Scarnati was not only at odds with Governor Corbett, his position on key issues place him outside the mainstream of his own party. In fact, Scarnati's views are so Left-wing you have to wonder how his colleagues could ever have considered electing him as their leader. He isn't quite Senator Daylin Leach, but he is getting close.


Scarnati opposes privatization of the state liquor stores. Privatization is a top priority of Governor Corbett and House Republican Leader Mike Turzai. It has been a key plank in the GOP platform for decades and is wildly popular among the electorate.

Scarnati is threatening to block the governor's plans for ensuring the Pennsylvania Lottery generates enough cash to keep pace with the growing demand for services by the state's rapidly aging population. The governor is doing this through privatization and innovation - both GOP staples.

Scarnati is pushing hard to raise gasoline taxes. This puts him at odds with a GOP base that thinks state government already takes too much in taxes and provides too little in services/benefits in return.

In short, Scarnati - who hails from rural Jefferson County, has gone rogue Democrat on his own party's governor and his own caucus.

Worse, his tone was harsh and confrontational - playing into the Left's narrative that the Republican Party is populated by grouchy old white men.

Let us not forget that on Joe Scarnati's watch Democrats have made major inroads into their goal of claiming control of the state senate. Three previously-help Republican seats were captured by Democrats last year.

Given the fact that Joe Scarnati can't get along with his own party's governor, or even legislate based upon his party's core principles, you have to wonder exactly who it is he does represent these days.

(Hint: labor unions.)

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