What distinguishes Onorato is not impassioned pleas to put Pennsylvanians back to work, or promises to straighten things out in the land of midnight payraises. What makes him the Democratic frontrunner is his ability to raise oodles of money from virtually every special interest in the universe. He's a walking ATM machine. So, without knowing where he stands on anything, Democrats are already rallying around his banner. Governor Rendell, no slouch at raising money himself, already refers to Dan as Pennsylvaia's next Governor.
The candidate who actually does have views, Jack Wagner, is pretty much ignored. After all, he's got this crazy notion that state contracts should be bid competitively. Imagine that! What would that do to campaign contributions? Without all that campaign dough, how would Onorato pay for his trips to Europe?
Earlier this week, Onorato stopped in Easton, where Mayor Sal Panto, Councilwoman Elinore Warner, Councilman Ken Brown, Treasurer David Fleck and Controller Tony Bassil fawned all over him. They all said "Baaaa. Baaaa." From there, he hopped over to Allentown, and picked up some tips from Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski on how to squeeze every last dime out of a potential campaign contributor. Pawlowski's campaign manager, Michael Fleck, is working for Onorato. Now he can send convicted criminals to homes throughout the Lehigh Valley!
Council member Julio Guridy is a fan, too. He said "baaa" in two languages.
These local Dems lavish praise on a man who, as County Exec, was actually booed during a 2008 speech on his home turf. And for good reason. According to The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, "Mr. Onorato cut 200 jobs from the county payroll to help balance a $727.6 million budget. He also persuaded council members to approve drink and car rental taxes ... ."
A drink tax? Wasn't there a little revolution over something like that just a few years ago?
In Allentown, when he finally discussed an issue, Onoroto actually endorsed the notion of extending KOZ benefits to big business beyond what they already get. That should make potential campaign contributors like Nic Zawarski very grateful. But experience shows it puts no one back to work.
One Democrat who refuses to bleat like the other sheep is Northampton County DA John Morganelli. You see, Onorato actually supported presumptive Republican nominee Tom Corbett last year when Morganelli was running against him for Attorney General. That's OK with John, but what irks him is that Onorato misled him.
Onorato supported Corbett? Kinda' makes you wonder why he's running against someone he supported just a few short months ago.
Sources close to Morganelli tell me he made three trips to Pittsburgh last year, having been lured there, by Onorato, for fundraisers that would raise all kinds of serious money. On his first five and a half hour drive, to attend a fundraiser at some Pittsburgh hotel, Morganelli walked into an empty room. This happened twice more before he finally got the message. Onorato was stiffing him, and wasting valuable campaign time. Rather than just honestly admit to Morganelli that he was supporting Corbett, Onorato strung him along repeatedly.
If he could not be honest with Morganelli, do you really think he'll be straight with you?