From Dennis Roddy in Johnstown, Pa.AS THE EVENING stumbles upon us like so many sprinters pushed a few hundred yards too far, one casts about for auguries. It has been a short election, much the way a hanging is a short drop or Hiroshima was a brief skirmish.
At the Holiday Inn, the former Sheraton wherein both Paul Newman and Tom Cruise once laid their heads when they filmed movies here, the Mark Critz campaign was setting up for a night of revelry or anguish, depending upon the numbers. Unlike the movies, the catering hints at a sub-Hollywood budget.
IT HAS BEEN an expensive election. That is the only thing that can explain the cash bar – Banker’s Club gin, Smuggler scotch, some sort of vodka unworthy of the name. There is better stuff directly under the bar for another 75 cents a pop.
“Frankly, I’m ashamed to have that out there,” said one of the bartenders. “I don’t know who picked this.”
The lavish spread will include hotdogs, hamburgers, cheeseburgers, all priced to go but, it is well to remember, priced nonetheless. Even a bag of chips is a buck.
THERE ARE several ways to read this, none of them fully clear. Theory one: Mark Critz is a big cheapo. Theory two: Mark Critz is out of money. Theory three: Mark Critz is about to win, so they figure folks will gladly pay for a Coors Light to celebrate. Theory four: Mark Critz thinks he’ll lose and doesn’t want to run up any more debt that necessary. Theory five: the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee only pays for TV, not drinks, which is yet another reason to hate the DCCC. With so much riding, it is unwise to keep the troops sober by virtue of their own penury.