April 13, 2003
Philadelphia politics has had its fine moments and memorable personalities. Shed a tear for W. Thacher Longstreth, who died Friday at the age of 83. He is a political throwback whose half-century of public service represents the best of Philadelphia politicians. Mr. Longstreth was an eighth generation Quaker, a white-haired patrician with a long gait, argyle socks, a bow tie, and a perpetual wink at the world. He was the rare gentleman-as-public-servant. He tried and failed to win the mayor's office in 1955 and 1971.
March 31, 1986 |
Neil Oxman was in mourning. His dismay had nothing to do with the winter rain that was drenching Center City as he dodged puddles and cars outside his Locust Street office. He was despondent because Jules Patt no longer wanted to be governor. Oxman, a lawyer by training, a professional golf caddy by avocation and a media consultant by trade, had been casting the unknown Patt as America's next Lee Iacocca, trying to televise the Altoona real estate developer into the consciousness of Pennsylvania.
November 6, 1990 |
Recently, in a deviation from Standard Journalism Procedure, I've been talking with members of the public. We journalists generally avoid members of the public because they always tell us that we get everything wrong, although in fact what they're usually talking about is insignificant errors such as identifying James Baker as "the governor of Connecticut," when he is technically the mayor of Connecticut. So usually we journalists prefer to obtain our information about the public by watching it walk past our cafeteria windows.
November 6, 2003 |
Judging from the commercials during the recent election, the real enemy we face is not terrorism, not Saddam, not the deficit, not godless communism (R.I.P.). The real enemy is: Politicians. Commercial after commercial (especially those for New Jersey races) urged voters to "send a message to the politicians in [fill in the blank]" or "my opponent is a career politician. " Gasp. Harsh words. We wouldn't want a lot of politicians mucking around in politics, would we?
December 27, 2010
TO THE good people of Philadelphia, the thought occurred to me that no one appreciates you even at Christmas. The economy is in a downward spiral, bills are piling up and our local politicians don't seem to care. Mayor Nutter comes off as fake in every photo-op. He should try to help his fellow citizens in any way that he can. Maybe he and all his fellow politicians should cut their salaries and see what it is like to barely get by. We all are struggling. Whether you are a police officer, firefighter or Philadelphia Parking Authority lot officer, you need every dime you can get. It is a shame that these politicians don't care.
April 23, 1996 |
Americans, says the Associated Press report, are "disenchanted with the Republican Congress" and are about to trounce Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole in his quest for the presidency. The source of that wisdom is a nationwide Los Angeles Times poll that shows Dole trailing President Clinton by 55 percent to 37 percent - and that also has a plurality of voters agreeing with the statement that the Republicans don't "deserve to maintain control of Congress. " Obviously that cannot be good news for Dole and the Republicans.
February 10, 2002 |
A lot of politicians have been explaining the money they have gotten from Enron. When U.S. Rep. John Dingell (D., Mich.), the powerful ranking Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, was asked about the donations he got, he said: "When somebody gives me money, they, I assume, are supporting one thing: good government. And that's what they got, and that's what Enron got. " After a successful discharge petition in the House, another vote on campaign finance regulations will soon emerge in Congress.
October 26, 1987 |
Virtually the first question a visitor from Washington was asked at the midweek luncheon here of the San Joaquin Valley Town Hall was this: Will the stock market crash shock the politicians into doing something, finally, about the ever-mounting national debt? The answer from this corner was a resounding "maybe," but the impulse was to rush over and hug the blue-haired lady who had asked. She had just confirmed this itinerant reporter's belief that the people are way ahead of the politicians on this issue.
June 19, 1989 |
Attorney General Richard Thornburgh performed a useful public service when he threatened Justice Department leakers of scurrilous information about the supposed misconduct of Rep. William H. Gray. Gray has since been elected Democratic Party whip in the House. Journalists are usually troubled by public officials who suppress anything except the most top-secret information. We were put on notice by Richard Nixon and Lyndon Johnson, who considered questioning of their motives or revelations about their conduct acts of disloyalty.
August 8, 1996 |
President Clinton waits to hear what they have to say about health care before he proposes action. House Speaker Newt Gingrich wants to hear their opinions about the budget. They are not lawmakers or lobbyists or scholars. They do not meet in the U.S. Capitol. Or the White House. They sit in plain rooms behind nondescript storefronts in suburban strip shopping malls across the country. The only observers are people watching from behind two-way mirrors, and clients who pay to read a written summary or watch a videotape.