Our opinion: Seen but not heard

When an incumbent’s approval rating suffers, and an election is within a year or two, chances are you will see a lot of folks from the opposing party lining up to pick the low-hanging fruit.

In the case of the impending challenge to Republican Gov. Tom Corbett, you are already seeing the potential challengers; you just aren’t hearing them.

Of the eight people of the Democratic persuasion who have announced they will be taking aim at Corbett, only two have agreed to appear at an open forum for Democratic candidates in Harrisburg tomorrow evening in front of Pennsylvania Cable Network (PCN) cameras. Those holding microphones will be John Hanger, a former environmental protection secretary, and Max Myers, a minister and former Republican.

Those taking a bye are U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz, state Treasurer Rob McCord, former state Revenue Secretary Tom Wolf, former environmental protection secretary Kathleen McGinty, Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski and state Sen. Mike Stack. In other words, only the two current candidates with the least name recognition and previous political experience will be on hand.

And, perhaps that’s why.

You see, it’s an “open mic” forum where candidates will be asked questions from the audience; always dangerous territory. You just never know what one of those members of the public will ask and expect an answer.

If you’re going to run for the state’s top office, you should be prepared to handle the unexpected.

Those not attending mostly mumbled something about scheduling conflicts as they side-stepped.

As Terry Madonna, a pollster and political scientist at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, told the Associated Press, “It could be they don’t see any advantage to it. They probably see no political upside to doing it and considerable downside if they stumble.”

With that thought in mind, it appears there may be a confidence deficiency at this stage of the game.

In the hope for vigorous and comprehensive campaigns, both in the primary and general elections for government, let’s hope that those still in the hunt will exhibit a bit more self-assurance.