‘Political theater’ mas(k)querading as sound public policy

‘Political theater’ mas(k)querading as sound public policy

Sometimes public policy and astronomy intersect.

Come again?

Consider the Wolf administration’s brief filed with the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia seeking to stay the decision of a federal judge in Pittsburgh that some of “The State’s” arbitrary and capricious coronavirus pandemic-related restrictions on the populace were unconstitutional.

We are forced to ask what planet the administration lives on because, clearly, it is not planet Earth.

And, after the appellate court granted the stay on Thursday – without rationale or explanation, no less – the same question must be posed to the court tribunal that granted the stay pending appeal.

Consider this “rationale” from “The State’s” stay request:

“The governor’s order balanced the economic interests of the commonwealth against the health and lives of millions of Pennsylvanians. Temporarily closing certain physical locations in order to protect lives is certainly not invidious or wholly arbitrary. The health and survival of our residents is the most compelling of state interests.”

Since when is fiction the stuff of an appellate court brief?

If “the health and survival” of Pennsylvanians “is the most compelling of state interests,” why would you impose non-sunsetting strictures on mom-and-pop operations and herd the public into what became packed big-box retailers where the risk of exposure increased greatly, perhaps even exponentially?

That “balanced the economic interests of the commonwealth against the health and lives of millions of Pennsylvanians”?


Never mind that the gang who still can’t shoot straight initially declared some businesses “essential” but declared other businesses critical to keeping state-deemed “essential” businesses up and running as “non-essential.”

Never mind, too, that most of the early surge in coronavirus cases came in nursing home facilities that the Wolf administration turned into virus incubators.

And in its 3rd Circuit appeal of the U.S. District Court ruling, “The State” chided the judge for his “failure to understand the commonwealth’s arguments in this case”?

Good grief, no one with even modest mental faculties could understand the commonwealth’s disjointed and intellectually vapid “arguments.”

The actions of the Wolf administration were the furthest thing from sound public policies. No doubt, history will show they did more harm than good — economically and medically.

If you want a succinct tutorial in how the “progressive” public policy mind works (“malfunctions” would be the better word), consider this:

The Tribune-Review reports that Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto is blaming the Trump administration for not bailing out small businesses forced into near collapse or closure.

But it wasn’t the Trump administration that picked business winners and losers, it was Peduto’s fellow-traveling Tom Wolf.

Additionally, Peduto was critical of the federalist system that defers to state preeminence in so many matters.

“We had 50 states acting separately, and you can’t contain the virus when you do that,” he says.

Ah, so hizzoner prefers a centralized form of government where power is vested solely in the feds?

Should that abomination ever come to pass, “Both-ways Bill” — who previously rebuffed the Trump administration for rejecting international “climate change” protocols — will find he should have been more careful for what he wished.

Oh, by the way, state Rep. Wendy Ullman, a Bucks County Democrat, was caught in an embarrassing “live mic” moment on Sept. 29 before a news conference with Gov. Wolf.

Said the governor:

“So, Wendy, I’m gonna take – I’m gonna take my mask off when I speak, so –.”

Responded Ullman:

“I will as well, just, I’m waiting so that we can do a little political theater … (laughs are heard) so that it’s on camera.”

Public officials should feign no surprise at public distrust of its actions when “political theater” is allowed to mas(k)querade as sound public policy.

Colin McNickle is communications and marketing director at the Allegheny Institute for Public Policy (cmcnickle@alleghenyinstitute.org).