(reprint of an email received today)
“I hear a lot of people talking about the Contitution, and I hope they believe in it as I do. It is a living document.”
These were Tom Corbett’s words exactly as he spoke them. On two Saturday appearances, first in Harrisburg, then in Pittsburgh later in the same day, Corbett called the Constitution a “living document.” I was in Pittsburgh and heard and saw. When first he spoke the words, a small part of the crowd clapped awkwardly but abruptly stopped as his shocking words sunk in.
Here was Tom Corbett, who now claims to be a conservative, using a progressive case law-driven term–a term that’s kryptonite to Constitutionalists. Any conservative who’s been paying attention knows that “living document” is a phrase used exclusively by progressives who view the Constitution, like a Tiger Wood’s prenup, as a document that can be changed and updated to reflect the times. It would stop any conservative in his or her tracks, and it did. On Sunday the media and bloggers went wild with it. By Monday morning it was on fire, and had garnered national attention.
On Tuesday late afternoon, Sam Rohrer issued a video statement of disagreement citing the Constitution is not a “living” document but one as Governor he would preserve and protect. Rather than address his own remarks, however, Corbett touted the entire sensation as the work of a dirty, desperate trick on Rohrer’s part.
Rohrer echoed the sentiments of every shocked conservative in Pennsylvania as he should. Corbett should have moved post haste to pull his foot out of his mouth and take responsibility for his words. Corbett should have taken the high road and explained that perhaps it was a two-time, two-city slip of the tongue. He might have assured offended conservatives and Constitutionalists that as Governor he would never apply his case law expertise to the Constitution, as his words eluded, but rather would serve to protect and uphold the Constitution. But that’s not what happened at all.
A dirty trick was indeed played, but not by Rohrer. It was Corbett that evaded accountability and instead insisted that Rohrer was responsible for his troubles. Rather than address thousands of voters whose jaws are still on the floor, Corbett has sought to trick them into believing they didn’t hear what they heard, but that poor Tom Corbett was the victim of a vicious trick. Grow up and act like a man capable of leading Pennsylvania Mr. Corbett.
Western PA Director
Sam Rohrer for Governor.org