Over the past few weeks, the Pennsylvanai Democratic Party has sent out press releases blasting Governor-elect Tom Corbett for naming a major campaign donor to his cabinet and putting a Tea Party activist on his transition team. Democrats have also criticized Corbett’s staff for avoiding reporters’ calls, and earlier this week, Chairman Jim Burn told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review incoming Lieutenant Governor Jim Cawley is “about as qualified to lead as Sarah Palin.”
Rendell says the attacks need to stop. “Partisanship is ruining the effectiveness of government all over America. And that’s…a perfect example of what that is,” he said at a Pennsylvania Society event in New York City this weekend. “Let’s give him (Corbett) some breathing space. To attack him at this point comes with ill grace.”
Party spokesman Mark Nicastre respectfully disagrees with the outgoing governor’s take, arguing the Democrats are simply raising legitimate concerns about Corbett’s judgment, and providing a counterweight to the incoming Republican administration. “Tom Corbett has made several questionable decisions” – appointing Alan Walker, who gave more than $80,000 to his gubernatorial campaign; putting Tea Partier Ana Puig, who has called President Obama a communist, on his transition team – “These are things people should know…and [Corbett] can expect that for the duration of his term.”
For his part, Corbett says the aggressive Democratic attacks don’t bother him. “I didn’t see them complaining about anybody that Ed put on his transition team, obviously. I don’t know whether they did about Tom’s (former Governor Ridge) transition team. If they want to be partisan about this, they’ll be partisan,” he said in New York. “I think you heard me on Election Night saying we’re not going to be partisan about this.”
Don’t expect too many intra-party fireworks about the aggressive press releases. I asked Rendell whether he’ll talk to Burn or other party officials about the campaign. “In the next five weeks? Probably not,” Rendell said.