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County Hall Corner: A Wolf in Wolf’s Language

Governor Thomas Wolf is undoubtedly the most educated governor in Pennsylvania history. He went to high school at the prestigious Hill School (where Donald Trump Jr., director Oliver Stone, and General George Patton were also alumni), graduated with his bachelor’s degree magna cum laude from the Ivy League university, Dartmouth, received a master’s in philosophy

Governor Thomas Wolf is undoubtedly the most educated governor in Pennsylvania history. He went to high school at the prestigious Hill School (where Donald Trump Jr., director Oliver Stone, and General George Patton were also alumni), graduated with his bachelor’s degree magna cum laude from the Ivy League university, Dartmouth, received a master’s in philosophy from the University of London and a Ph.D. in political science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He spent fourteen years in higher education after prep school.

Very, very few people can afford to go to elite schools for two decades, but fortunately for Tommy, his father owned a very profitable business. When he finally did go to work, it was with the one his family-owned, but at the same time, he was also very involved in politics. Almost all of Tom Wolf’s work experience has in some way been related to government.

I have never met this man or know any more about him than I can research online, but I have watched and listened to him, and I believe he follows a familiar pattern. There is even a psychological classification for them; Superior Cognitive Intelligence Possessing Individuals, SCIPI (pronounced “skippy”).

In my capacity as a professional leadership coach, contracted with a number of international agencies, including the World Bank, I have had the opportunity to work with a lot of these skippy-types. Almost to a person, they do not believe, they KNOW, they are the smartest person in the room. They generally do not take criticism well. And according to peer-reviewed psychological research, their confidence in their intelligence tends to make them overconfident in their reasoning abilities. Thus, they have a tendency to double down when others question their decision-making. (Which explains why their mistakes are often big ones.)

This is all background to appreciate the actions of Governor Wolf to “explain” for the voters the constitutional amendments that will be on the ballot in May. It has taken over a year for the Pennsylvania legislature to pass the motions that would give the General Assembly the power to end a disaster declaration without the governor’s approval and would require the executive to seek lawmakers’ consent to continue a declaration past 21 days. These are to be formulated into two separate proposed amendments for the May primary ballot.

Observe the language of the first of the proposed amendments: “Shall the Pennsylvania Constitution be amended to change existing law and increase the power of the General Assembly to unilaterally terminate or extend a disaster emergency declaration—and the powers of Commonwealth agencies to address the disaster regardless of its severity pursuant to that declaration—through passing a concurrent resolution by simple majority, thereby removing the existing check and balance of presenting a resolution to the Governor for approval or disapproval?”

Besides the rambling in this 72-word run-on sentence, notice the “skippy” language here and the implications. “Change existing law”(that’s the governor’s job), “increase the power of the General Assembly (small officials with small minds unlike your governor), “unilaterally terminate” (as if they would know better than the governor!), “regardless of its severity pursuant to that declaration” (these folks will only make matters worse by bypassing the governor), “thereby removing the existing check and balance” (we need the wisdom of the governor to keep a check on those small-minded legislators). And not surprisingly, the second amendment follows the same pattern.

The Pennsylvania Department of State, the head of which is appointed by the governor, is responsible for summarizing the proposals into ballot questions. Pennsylvania Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman called a spade a spade when he stated, “They clearly wrote it in a way for it to fail.” He was not the only one. The Center for Opinion Research at Franklin & Marshall College studied the questions in relation to how they provided voters with “information they need to make an informed decision.” They took the questions and simplified them to a sample group, and then used the ones as they will appear on the May ballot. The simplified version had a much higher rate of affirmatives than the “official” ones. In other words, their research found that these were very poorly worded amendments. The cynic in me would say that this was done on purpose.

So, voter beware! Here is the Larry rephrasing of both proposed amendments, “Do you want to change the present law which allows a governor to act in a declared emergency unilaterally indefinitely, or limit it to fifteen days, only extended by a majority of the General Assembly?” Without these amendments, any governor from now on can declare an “emergency” in any situation to accomplish whatever purpose they choose. Forgive me, but that is not democracy. Vote YES for the two constitutional amendments on the limitation to the governor’s emergency powers on May 18th.

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  • Avatar
    Karen McCullough
    April 7, 2021, 10:41 am

    In addition to being the most educated PA governor, he is also the most malevolently arrogant one. Wolf typifies the new American “Democrat” politician. Control, cancel, and crucify those who disagree with their tyrannical agenda. Wolf is to be watched. He certainly is no friend to Pennsylvania citizens.

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  • Avatar
    Joseph Welch
    April 7, 2021, 2:35 pm

    You are wrong. The commonwealth legislature makes and changes law. Not the governor.

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