Our opinion: Crazy mixed-up politics

Gov. Tom Corbett’s warming cold war with the legislature controlled by his own party could provide him with some much-needed traction among independents in the state.

Whether that will be enough on its own to overcome a current 20-point deficit in the polls to his Democratic challenger Tom Wolf is doubtful, but could make November’s polling a bit more interesting.

To be sure, Pennsylvania’s Republican General Assembly has never marched in lock-step with its Republican governor, shying away from Corbett’s agenda priorities of privatizing liquor and the lottery, and most recently, and perhaps most importantly, public pension reform.

The last bit was the straw that has prompted the government to pull out the stops in his criticism of a number of his party faithful in both houses of the legislature and portray himself as the lone champion of the taxpayer.

Afterall, he has nothing to lose at this point in the campaign.

The trouble is pension reform is not a particularly sexy issue, and we suspect that a minority of the electorate of both parties are only mildly interested and don’t connect the dots between public employees pensions and their own financial interests.

In the meantime Wolf has tied his wagon to the imposition of a severance tax for deep shale gas producers and frequent reminders of the state of education under Corbett’s watch.

The battleground in this election portrays a classic example of shifting strategies to adapt to changes in the terrain and how politics can drive a wedge in loyalties when the chips are down.

Whether that translates to a step toward better, more efficient government is questionable.

But, no one ever said democracy was neat, tidy, or predictable.