When we reflect on the current political crisis engendered by Russia’s election victory, we keep coming back to “The Twilight Zone.” Republican politicians are, for all intents and purposes, giving Vladimir Putin’s putsch-by-proxy a pass. This is the party of Reagan and “Tear down that wall,” of the Army-McCarthy hearings - the party that built its reputation of being strong on national defense in large part on constantly confronting Soviet aggression.
Now? Not so much, for some reason. Which leaves an unusual double bill of Putin and Trump as this week’s national winners, and patriotic Americans as the losers.
As for who’s up and who’s down this week in the commonwealth, read on …
Michelle Henry: Attorney General-Elect Josh Shapiro announced this week that Henry, currently the first assistant district attorney for Bucks County, will become Pennsylvania’s first-ever woman attorney general. Henry may be familiar to some for her role in prosecuting Kathleen Kane, the state’s first female attorney general.
Maria Quiñones Sánchez: The Philadelphia City Councilwoman was the subject of an orchestrated campaign by Mayor Kenney staffers intent on cornering the vocal anti-soda tax opponent into supporting the bill. Quiñones Sánchez stuck to her guns, and the attack against her not only fizzled out but, some might argue, its revelation is giving her a boost.
Mike Folmer: The Republican state senator drew kudos for his candor about using medical marijuana to combat the side effects of treatment for non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Folmer, who admitted to using the drug before its legalization in Pennsylvania, was a co-sponsor of the state’s medical marijuana bill with fellow Sen. Daylin Leach.
Chaka Fattah: The former longtime Congressman was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison on corruption charges relating to his failed 2007 bid for the mayoralty of Philadelphia. The collateral damage turned out to be more than just another body blow to the public’s trust in their elected officials: two of his co-conspirators were sentenced to jail time, while a third got house arrest.
Dan Truitt: Three-term state Rep. Truitt is not planning to go quietly into that good election-loss night. Despite final official results showing that Truitt fell to Democratic challenger Carolyn Comitta by a scant 25 votes, he is demanding a recount in place of giving a concession speech.
Edward M. Mitchell: Longtime Upland Borough Councilman Mitchell was arrested for receiving $133,000 in a kickback scheme involving overpriced security equipment in the borough building. The Republican politician is facing felony charges on theft and kickbacks, ethics violations and violations of the Pennsylvania Wiretapping Law. It seems as though all of that surveillance didn’t alert Mitchell to how others felt about him: According to one report, the mood in the borough hall following his arrest was “celebratory,” with one person calling Mitchell “the devil incarnate.”