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EDITORIAL: Corbett's mouth lands him in trouble again

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By:  The Delaware County Daily Times (
Gov. Tom Corbett needs to utter maybe one more profoundly ill-advised remark to fully realize his role as the embarrassing uncle at Pennsylvania’s holiday dinner table.
But maybe, after his latest faux pas, he shouldn’t get any more free passes.
Early Friday, Corbett smirkingly compared gay marriage to sibling incest during an attempt to provide an example of a relationship barred from marriage in Pennsylvania.
This was supposed to be a better example than the hypothetical — a marriage between two children — that state lawyers provided in a case against the Montgomery County court official who had briefly issued marriage licenses to gays.
“It was an inappropriate analogy, you know,” he said during an interview with WHP-TV in Harrisburg. “I think a better analogy would have been brother and sister, don’t you?”
Later Friday, Corbett offered the standard sorry-if-anyone-was-offended apology that people make when they don’t think they’ve done anything wrong. “My words were not intended to offend anyone. If they did, I apologize,” Corbett said in a statement.
Look, we get it. He was speaking, he says, from a legal standpoint in terms of relationships that Pennsylvania has codified as inappropriate for marriage.
Siblings. Children. Gays.
Except that a rapidly increasing number of people refuse to categorize gay relationships as such. The reason Corbett’s talking about it at all is because state Attorney General Kathleen Kane refused to defend the state from a lawsuit challenging the state’s gay marriage ban. So Corbett’s office picked up the defense, even though it’s the ban itself that’s inappropriate, a position reflected by a large majority of Pennsylvanians and the U.S. Supreme Court which recently struck down the federal ban on gay marriage.
But let’s say Corbett really didn’t mean to equate gay relationships to incest. Then why the smirk?
Seriously, watch the video. He finishes the question with a sly little smile. All the horrified TV host can do is stammer “I don’t know.”
And let’s not forget: This is far from the first time Corbett has said something patently offensive. Perhaps the best example is when he claimed that an ill-fated bill to require pre-abortion ultrasounds would not be coercive because all a woman would have to do is close her eyes.
The governor took one of the most polarizing, controversial issues in the state, poured gasoline on it, then spit a match on it with his thoughtless comment.
Not a lot has gone right for the governor in his first term. He’s been dogged by a no-tax-hike pledge that failed to reap an economic windfall from the state’s Marcellus Shale reserves.
His budgets – including brutal cuts in education – produced a public outcry, most noticeably here in Delaware County, where parents in Upper Darby were up in arms.
His handling of the Jerry Sandusky-Penn State investigation continues to leave many shaking their heads.
Just this past legislative session, the governor failed to get any of his “big three” agenda – pension reform, privatizing liquor sales and transportation funding – through the Legislature.
At one point he was even under attack from within his own party, with the possibility of a primary battle just to see the right to run again.
For the most part, Corbett has been his own worst enemy.
After Friday’s latest awkward off-the-cuff remarks, the governor followed up with an equally clumsy follow-up, assuring he meant no harm and apologizing to anyone who may have been offended.
Ya think, governor?
Corbett insisted that was the lawyer in him speaking, reminding us that always has been his first calling, not that of a politician.
Now that the governor has embarrassed himself – and the state – nationally once again.
Corbett better get used to seeing that clip of him uttering that patently offensive remark.
He’s going to be that bit of “Tom-foolery” again and again.
Maybe this time he’s learned his lesson.
Why do we get the distinct feeling that’s not the case?
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