HARRISBURG -- Joe Hoeffel, the most liberal of the four Democratic candidates for governor, blasted Republican Attorney General Tom Corbett today for appealing to hardline conservatives in the GOP, whom Mr. Hoefell branded as "teabagging tea partiers," by joining a lawsuit seeking to overturn the new federal health care reform act.
Mr. Hoeffel strongly defending the new health care law, signed by President Obama last week, saying it will be good for Pennsylvania. He assailed Mr. Corbett for opposing it, along with 12 other state attorneys general, all but one of the Republican.
Mr. Hoeffel said he thinks Mr. Corbett is worried about the appeal of state Rep. Sam Rohrer of Berks, his opponent for the GOP gubernatorial nomination in the May 18 primary. Mr. Rohrer has been getting support from conservative elements in the party, who are sometimes called "tea partiers,’’ because of their protests against the federal government and taxes, modeled after the Boston Tea Party of 1773.
"Tom Corbett always struck me as a moderate Republican, but his desire to appeal to the right wing of his party has overwhelmed his good judgment,’’ said Mr. Hoeffel. "It concerns me that Tom Corbett would veer to the right and join this lawsuit, which has hardly any chance of succeeding.’’
Mr. Corbett has said the Obama administration overstepped the bounds of the U.S. Constitution by getting this health care bill through Congress. Mr. Corbett contends the federal government doesn’t have the right to tell people to buy a certain product or service, such as health care. He claims the Obama administration is overreaching in its attempt to regulate interstate commerce.
Mr. Hoeffel broadened his criticism of Mr. Corbett beyond just the issue of health care, also criticizing him for opposing efforts by towns to enact laws requiring people to report lost and stolen firearms and by opposing efforts to enact a new tax on gas companies that pump natural gas from areas of Marcellus shale in Pennsylvania.