An Apology to the Altoona Mirror and Another Local GOP Debate

Monday I made a comment about the Mirror’s article covering the Shuster V. Halvorson debate, suggesting that it seemed like ” a very amusing write up in the Altoona Mirror as a conservative newspaper attempted to perform simultaneous fellatio on two candidates.”  While I stand by the humor content of the statement, upon further review of the article in question I have decided that it doesn’t really describe the article justly and I feel that I owe the Altoona Mirror an apology.  There are more than enough legitimate gripes I could make about the Mirror.  The above quote was a cheap shot.  I am sorry.  I no longer believe the Mirror instructed the author of the piece to avoid offending either candidate in any way.

I just think the author of the piece is a horrible writer.

What changed my mind?  Yet another Republican debate, this time between the candidates for state House in the 79th district; incumbent John McGinnis and challenger (not from the far right?….*faints*) Pete Starr, and the accompanying write up in the Mirror by the same reporter who covered the previous debate.  (No, I’m not going to slam him by name.  Click the link and check the byline if you really want to know.  I feel bad enough complaining about a local newspaper reporter without causing this post to pop up every time he is Googled.)  Candidate Starr is a strange challenger for this area, where the Tea Party has a major presence in the local GOP and breaking with conservative ideology is political suicide.  As the candidates for the US House keep running so far to the right I expect them to circle back again, Pete Starr seems to be basing his candidacy on his actual beliefs, even if they earn him the “RINO” label.  I mean, can you believe the following is attributed to a Republican candidate?

Starr favors unions, saying the state doesn’t have enough jobs to handle much in-migration, that if an applicant doesn’t want to join a union, he or she should avoid applying to union firms

Wait, what?  Does he want to win this race?  Or how about the following:

On the budget impasse, McGinnis blamed Gov. Tom Wolf and credited lawmakers for holding firm.

Starr placed blame all around and suggested none of the responsible parties should get paid if it happens again, until they reach a resolution.

Putting all the blame on Gov. Wolf for the budget crisis PA is still kinda dealing with is one of the worst lies I’ve seen yet this season.  Oh yes, the poor, brave GOP lawmakers stood up to the evil, mean Governor, protecting their poor constituent’s bank accounts.  Never mind the fact that the way Pennsylvania’s congressional districts are currently drawn practically guarantees large Republican majorities in both the state House and Senate while the majority of voters statewide pull the Democratic lever.  Never mind how Gov. Wolf campaigned on his budget ideas and won 54.9% of the vote, making Corbett the first PA governor in the modern era to lose reelection, during an election year that the Republicans wiped the floor with Democrats all across the nation.  Ignore the compromise that the Governor forged with PA’s congressional Republican leadership only to see the far right Republicans stomp their feet, hold their breath, and insist that compromise is for Democrats and losers, infuriating most of the state as they blocked the deal and allowed the state to continue along without a budget.  Gov. Wolf is not totally innocent here, as especially after the compromise deal was derailed he seemed to take a more hard line stance, but I really have trouble blaming him.  If the situation were reversed, and the Democrats, holding a large state congressional majority, were blocking tax cuts that a Republican governor, who was just elected with 55% of the vote, had campaigned on, the GOP would be screaming about a “mandate from the voters” and how the Democrats were blocking the “will of the people.”

You have to love this line from McGinnis though, making the conservative dick waving that GOP primaries have become plain as day.

“Which of us is more Republican?” McGinnis asked rhetorically.

I would write a bit more about this debate and the article describing it, but I honestly am having trouble giving a shit.  The article is just more of the incomprehensible attempt at repeating the debate, word for word if possible, just like the previous article on the Shuster/Halvorson debate.  Rather than recapping each candidates major points and perhaps highlighting an important exchange or two, the author alternates between the two candidate’s views each paragraph.   Starr says this, but McGinnis said this, then Starr said “Nuh Uh, ” but McGinnis said “Uh Huh!,” causing Starr to claim he was rubber while McGinnis was glue, to which McGinnis responded with a vicious “I know you are, but what am I,” which is when Starr called McGinnis a “doody-head,” to which a visibly upset McGinnis yelled at him to “take it back or my brother is going to kick your ass so hard,” causing Starr to claim that his sister could beat up McGinnis, his brother, and his father, all without breaking a sweat, which caused the moderator to exclaim “oh come on, your sister could not beat up all those people without sweating,” at which point McGinnis, through visible tears, called Starr’s sister a “freak afflicted with cooties,” at which point Starr’s sister stood up in the audience and shouted for McGinnis to “take it back or I’ll step on a crack and fuck your mother right up,” at which caused the whole crowd to stand up and yell “Oh no, she didn’t!!!!,” causing McGinnis to take his ball and go home, ending all hope of a post debate kickball game.

At least that’s what I think I read.  It was a bit all over the place.

The other reason I can’t bring myself to care?  Well, I’m a resident of the 80th district for one.  Second, it’s a closed primary so where I live doesn’t change the power of my vote.  And when the general election comes around, whoever won the GOP primary is going to destroy the sacrificial Democratic candidate, if they even bother running one.  So tell me.  Why should I care?  I can’t even care about my own district, cause my far right representative is unopposed in the primary, unopposed in the general.  That election should be thrilling.

Ah, don’t ya love American democracy?  So good to know that I have a voice, and that my vote matters.

And people wonder why some people don’t bother voting.  Some years I wonder why I bother.

(For those who are wondering, the last Democrat to represent the 79th was in 1979.  The 80th is worse.  From the birth of the district in 1969, one Democrat served one two year term, beginning in 1977.  <Hey, if anyone reading knows why W. William Wilt lost his reelection bid in 1976 I would love to hear why.  Something tells me there is a story in Michael E. Cassidy’s victory begging me to write it.  Youngest PA state Rep in history.  Turned 21 two months prior to being sworn in.  Anyone who knows anything about that election, please let me know.>)