From Tom Barnes
HARRISBURG -- Tom Corbett, the Republican candidate for governor, and Pat Toomey, the GOP choice for U.S. Senate, can rest easy -- Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell does not include them in the category of "wackos’’ or "fruit loops.’’
Mr. Rendell has been getting national attention since, during a speech in Philadelphia this week, he denounced certain fringe or ultra-conservative elements of the Republican party that he claimed fell into those categories.
But talking to reporters here today, Mr. Rendell said he thinks Mr. Corbett and Mr. Toomey were "honorable and decent people,’’ even though he said "some of Tom Corbett’s stances are disappointing.’’ He mentioned Mr. Corbett’s widely quoted view that some people who have lost their jobs seem more interested in continuing to collect their full unemployment benefits than in seeking a new job.
Mr. Rendell said that $370 a week in jobless benefits doesn’t go far when it comes to paying bills and sustaining a family, so it makes no sense to think someone would rather stay on unemployment compensation.
Anyone who thinks $370 a week puts you on easy street "is either whacked out or doesn’t understand how much the cost of living is,’’ he said.
He also criticized Mr. Corbett for joining other attorneys general (most of them Republicans) in suing to overturn the new federal health care law, which Mr. Rendell said will provide money to state government and many smaller companies in Pennsylvania to help pay for health benefits for retirees. If Mr. Corbett is successful in the lawsuit, it will cost Pennsylvania state government $119 million, the governor said.
"Some Republican leaders are under the control of people who are bonkers," he said, but added, "not all Republican candidates are whacked-out people or fruit loops.’’
Mr. Rendell did list some qualifications that make someone a "wacko’’:
--someone who doesn’t think President Obama was born in America.
--someone who doubts President Obama is a Christian.
--those who want "to do away with the 14th amendment’’ to the Constitution, so that the children of illegal immigants who are born in America would lose their automatic right of being American citizens.
--those who want to burn the Muslim holy book, the Quran, such as a minister in Florida says he’ll do on Saturday.