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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Onorato Supports Corbett?

For at least the past three years, Allegheny County Exec Dan Onorato has been running for Governor. In that time, he's raised $8 million, which is twice the sum that Republican blueblood Tom Corbett has received for his campaign warchest.

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?


Anonymous said...

Sounds like the way you go for Stoffa, baaaa!!!!

ironpigpen said...

Is that the same person in the picture who stormed the stage and took the chick's award because Beyonce actually deserved it?

Chris Casey said...

I don't know what to say. I support Wagner, and you support Wagner. Is that not a sure sign of the apocalypse?!

Bernie O'Hare said...

Yes. The Mayans were right.

Anonymous said...

Onorato fashions himself as Pittsburgh's version of Rendell from Rendell was the successful mayor of a city reborn. The problem is that Onorato's story just isn't as compelling as Rendell's (nor is it true, which is perhaps why it isn't compelling).

Corbett fashions himself as some kind of champion on cleaning up government. My guess is that his biggest fish (Veon, DeWeese and Perzel) will all slither out of his net though undermining Corbett's story. The challenge for Corbett is that aside from Bonusgate, his experiences are exclusively as a lawyer, either in gov't or for corporations. That isn't going to interest many people.

And so we are left with two guys who are effectively a house of cards waiting to fall. They are propped up by flimsy narratives and the hopes of their respective party power bases. Their opponents, while compelling, are simply going to be overwhelmed.

And thus, PA's mediocrity persists.

Anonymous said...

Bernie, have you been to any event and heard Onorato speak on any of the issues, or have you met him and asked him any questions or for that matter, have you even read any of his white papers on the issues to draw your conclusions?

Bernie O'Hare said...

I've never met Onorato nor have I heard him speak in person. I have read numerous articles about him, as the links in this post reveal. So far, the emphasis has been on how much money he can raise.

I am willing to keep an open mind, but I'm one of those ornery people who thinks having a lot of money usually means something bad.

Anonymous said...

Having been from the Lehigh Valley and going to school at Pitt I have experienced first hand Dan Onorato. He pushed a drink tax that college students decried and taxes on parking garages. Onorato is part of the machine politics that has been in Pittsburgh since FDR. I heard the deputy director to Wagner's campaign speak and that is a man who shares his beliefs. Jack Wagner unfortunately doesnt have the fire power, money wise or relationship wise to win.

Anonymous said...

The root of your story, that Onorato supported the man he knew he would be running against over another Democrat, makes Morganelli sound nuts. He has filed lawsuits over Ron Angle at a time when he can't pursue extraditions. His consultant just got whacked in a criminal trial. Has John lost it?

I wouldn't be shocked if Onorato didn't help Morganelli, but he had absolutely no reason to support Corbett. Politicians may do strange things some times, but this isn't something Onorato would have done.

Bernie O'Hare said...

As goofy as it sounds, Onorato did support the man he knew he would be running against for governor. He promised Morganelli all kinds of financial support, made him come out there three times, and stiffed him every time.

Since Morganelli was the only D in that race, Onorato's refusal to help him necessarily means he was at least tacitly supporting Corbett.

It is not as insane as it sounds. These two (Corbett & Onorato) could have some sort of understanding that the victor will do something for the vanquished, although that is pure speculation on my part.

Anonymous said...

Right and Onorato was the man behind the fence on the grassy knoll in Dallas. Ohare your crazy paranoid connections are bizarre.

Maybe Onarato can help you get into an outpatient mental health program.

Anonymous said...

so by not helping morganelli, he helped corbett? it may have cost morganelli, but to say onorato supported corbett is a stretch in logic.

Anonymous said...

I know Onorato doesn't have the support of several SEIU locals in Pennsylvania because of how Onorato treated Allegheny County workers, many of whom are represented by one of the locals which also staved off the endorsement of Onorato by SEIU so far. That local sees Onorato as another Rendell. It wouldn't surprise me if some SEIU locals endorse Wagner, And yeah, a lot of Onorato supporters and voters don't know where Onorato stands on the issues. I was surprised at the number of endorsement Onorato picked up in the Lehigh Valley on his recent trip there. His campaign chest and support from Rendell almost guarantee him the Democratic nomination, though.