So Lynn Swann won the Republican nomination for Pennsylvania Governor this weekend (surprise, surprise). I, like many men my age, idolized Swann as a child watching the acrobatic catches he so routinely made. Being that Swann has no political experience or background, Swann's selection by the Republican party as the person to go up against Ed Rendell seems to be a desperate attempt to fool the people of Pittsburgh into voting for their candidate.
Swann is as hardcore a conservative republican as they get. In the past weekend he said he would sign any law outlawing abortion as well as coming out against an increase in the minimum wage (apparently the state's competitive advantage is tied to the backs of the workers who can least afford it). That Swann would then talk about the "lip-service" that the Democratic Party gives to minorities that automatically vote for them, is laughable with so many minorities living below the poverty level and earning this minimum wage. The lip-service that Democrats pay minorities is is a step up from the out and out ignorance that the Republicans generally give. While coming out against the minimum wage increase, he wants to cut business taxes. Maybe Swann has been a part of the elite too long to know, that you can't expect that favors that benefit businesses will trickle down to the employees. We've been down that road before.
Swann talks about Pennsylvania values in his vision for the state. His vision boils down to favoring businesses, improving education, and Roe V. Wade. Apparently Pennsylvania values have nothing to do with children being able to go to school without being shot. Apparently a living wage is also outside the values of Pennsylvanians. Health care reform? Nope - we apparently we don't value that either. Swann should be careful, the Pennsylvania he blasts in his vision is the same Pennsylvania that has had a Republican legislature for as long as I can remember.
Pittsburgh and Allegheny County will probably be the key to the election. Rendell can count on overwhelming support from the Philadelphia area and the Swann will ironically count on support from the middle of the state (where flying the confederate flag isn't as embarrassing as it should be). This leaves Pittsburgh which generally votes Democrat - but can they vote against a football hero in a year where Pittsburgh is all about football?
Let's hope so.