Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil
Since this story continues to develop, with additional lawmakers calling for DeWeese's ouster and the revelation that $1.4 million in taxpayer money, from a "special leadership account" controlled by DeWeese, has been spent to help the House Democrats "respond" to the Bonusgate investigation, I thought it was an opportune time to re-post this item and seek your additional comments. - Brant
If our state legislators ever do a dinner-theater performance of "The Wizard of Oz," I'd like to suggest our own Rep. Jesse White for the role of the Cowardly Lion. Members of Rep. Bill DeWeese's own party from around the state have been calling for him to leave his position as House Democratic leader in the wake of the indictments in the Bonusgate scandal, but White did some dancing worthy of Sammy Davis Jr. when the O-R asked him if he was ready to seek DeWeese's demotion. Here's what White had to say: "That's a question that is clearly being debated among the members. There are discussions, and at this point, I'm going to not say one way or another. I have some questions that need to be answered. I want a better feel for the facts, and until I have that, I'm not going to make that decision." A lot of words there to say next to nothing. State Rep. Matt Smith, a freshman Democrat from Mt. Lebanon, had enough information to say that DeWeese should step aside, noting that "we must bring new leadership into the fold." Sharing that opinion, and also apparently having sufficient information, were Democratic Reps. Harry Readshaw of Carrick, John Yudichak of Luzerne County and Bill Keller of Philly. Readshaw said responsibility for the alleged crimes of Bonusgate should ultimately lie with the leader, "but in this instance, the buck is being passed." In other words, even if DeWeese did nothing wrong personally, this scandal has erupted on his watch, or lack thereof. Rep. White, are you waiting for political cover, waiting to see if DeWeese is charged in the attorney general's investigation? It's really easy to climb aboard the bandwagon at that point. Are you afraid that there will be retribution if you speak out against DeWeese and he survives unscathed and wins re-election? The Democratic leader has been known to punish those who don't toe the line. You also said that you want anyone who has been involved in corruption to be "out of the legislating business altogether." If you do want reform, Rep. White, do you really think the best person to lead the Democrats in changing the culture of Harrisburg is the same person who led them in the late-night pay-raise grab and was, at least by his own assertions, oblivious to the alleged Bonusgate activities? Or do you just refuse to speak ill of a fellow Democrat who's facing a tough re-election battle - in other words, putting your political party before those who sent you to Harrisburg with the expectation that you would represent them honestly and honorably? Courage, conviction and integrity. Those are traits that separate political hacks from true representatives of the people. Which are you, Mr. White?