Friday, February 29, 2008

Meuser still lives in 11th District, not 10th, petitions show

Meuser still lives in 11th District, not 10th, petitions show
Dan Meuser, a Republican candidate for the 10th Congressional District seat, has filed nomination petitions that show he continues to live outside the district.

But in a statement, Meuser, who lives in Shavertown, Jackson Township, Luzerne County, said his fulfillment of plans to move into the district to a home in Harveys Lake is only being held up temporarily by renovations to the new home. Jackson Township is in the 11th Congressional District.

Meuser said he used his Jackson Township address on the petitions to comply with state law.

“After doing a little research, we learned that this address needed to reflect where my family spends the predominance of their time,” Meuser said. “Therefore, as my renovations are taking a little longer than expected at Harveys Lake, we decided to use the old address on the petition to fully comply both with the letter and the spirit of the law.”

Meuser said he hopes to move “in the near future” and would vote in Harveys Lake in the April 22 primary election.

When Meuser and his wife, Shelley, bought the home for $535,000 in September, he said they would move there shortly.

The U.S. Constitution requires congressmen to live within a state, but does not require residency within a district.

Meuser was one of three Republican candidates to file petitions to challenge Democratic Rep. Chris Carney, D-Dimock Township.

The others are Davis C. Haire of Meshoppen Borough in Wyoming County and Chris Hackett of Kingston Township in Luzerne County. No other Democrats filed petitions.

In a statement, Tom Whitehead, Haire’s campaign manager, said the residency issue symbolizes Meuser’s campaign.

“There aren’t too many people in this district who can afford a second house for half a million dollars, especially one purchased for the sole purpose of trying to legitimize a candidacy for Congress,” Whitehead said. “At the end of the day, Davis Haire is the only one who’s actually grown up in this district, the only rural conservative Republican in the race, and the only Republican candidate who can win the general election.”

Mark Harris, a spokesman for Hackett, said Hackett was surprised Meuser hasn’t moved, but declined to comment on the residency issue.

“We’re not going to get into telling the people of the district where Dan Meuser should live,” Harris said in a telephone interview.

In the other local congressional race, Republican Hazleton Mayor Lou Barletta and Democratic Rep. Paul E. Kanjorski were the only people to file to run for the 11th District seat Kanjorski has held since 1985. Political activist Kurt Shotko of Scranton has announced plans to run as an independent, but the petition filing deadline for third-party candidates isn’t until Aug. 1.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

New York Times Quote, "Mr. Scranton is a weirdo!"

The Nation

Recalling the Maharishi and Carville’s Killer Ad

Published: February 10, 2008

WITH his high-pitched giggle and his gentle ways, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi is not someone you would expect to be used as a blunt-force weapon in a political campaign.

But, used he was, to great effectiveness, in Pennsylvania in 1986. The story is this.

The Maharishi, who died last Tuesday, was the man who introduced transcendental meditation to the West. The Beatles were his most famous disciples, but another was William W. Scranton 3d, who went to Europe in 1970 to study TM.

Mr. Scranton came from a wealthy and renowned Pennsylvania political family. He went to Yale where he used drugs “recreationally,” protested the Vietnam War, and sported long hair and a beard.

After meeting the Maharishi, Mr. Scranton became a life-long proponent and practitioner of transcendental meditation and returned home to pursue a more conventional career in politics, serving two terms as lieutenant governor.

Then Mr. Scranton ran for governor. He was a formidable candidate, a moderate Republican in the days before that was an insult.

His Democratic opponent was Robert P. Casey, the state’s former auditor general, who had run for governor three times before and lost.

Mr. Casey brought in James Carville to run his campaign and ramp up the aggression level. It was a big break for the “Ragin’ Cajun,” the most important campaign he had handled to date.

Mr. Carville was itching to make Scranton’s baby boomer habits an issue, but feared it could backfire — among boomers, for one.

In mid-October, Mr. Scranton scored a strategic coup. He announced that his campaign was pulling all negative ads, promised to run no more, and challenged Mr. Casey to do the same. Mr. Scranton took the lead in the polls.

The move flummoxed the Casey camp. Then the Scranton campaign made a fatal misstep. It sent a mass mailing to Republicans that featured a letter from the candidate’s father. A second brochure that harshly attacked Mr. Casey was also included.

Scranton aides said the piece was sent out by mistake, but a copy got into Mr. Carville’s hands. It gave him the opening to use what came to be known as the “guru ad.”

The TV spot featured sitar music, pictures of the young, long-haired Mr. Scranton, a mug-shot like photo of the long-haired, bearded Maharishi and a sneering mention of transcendental meditation. Though the exact words were never used, the message was clear: Mr. Scranton is a weirdo!

The ad was timed to air the Saturday before Election Day, too late for the Scranton camp to respond. Mr. Carville chose not to run it in the Philadelphia and Pittsburgh media markets, fearing a backlash in the state’s two major urban areas. Instead, he made a big buy in central Pennsylvania, hoping to undercut Mr. Scranton’s support among that region’s conservative Republicans.

On Election Day, Scranton won in the state’s conservative heartland, but by a lower margin than expected.

Out of 3.3 million votes cast statewide, Casey defeated Scranton by a margin of 79,216. A victory of 2 percent.

The political consensus was that it was the “guru ad” that did Bill Scranton in.