Monday, December 13, 2010

The Cradle of Governors--Blue Collar Steel Towns

A story in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review put me on to it.  It's interesting to note.

Republican John Kasich, incoming Governor of Ohio, grew up in McKees Rocks, Pennsylvania, down the Ohio River from Pittsburgh.

Republican Mitch Daniels, Governor of Indiana since 2005, grew up in Monongahela, Pennsylvania, up the Monongahela River from Pittsburgh.

The new, incoming Republican Governor of Pennsylvania is Tom Corbett.  He's a native of Shaler, Pennsylvania, up the Allegheny River from Pittsburgh.

Who would have thunk it?  Blue collar, Democrat-dominated steel towns in Western Pennsylvania as the cradle of three Republican governors.

It really isn't that hard to fathom, actually.

I'd say it's not just a Western Pennsylvania influence at work here.  It's a steel town thing.  It's a blue collar thing.

I know what they have in common because I grew up in and worked parts of my life in similar such places.

My Dad grew up in Youngstown.  I grew up in Massillon and worked there and in Steubenville.  All blue collar, Democrat-dominated steel towns in Eastern Ohio.

Three common traits come to mind when you think of these towns.  These things come to mind with these officials too.

Pragmatic.  All these places tend to abound with conservative-minded people who, more out of lineage rather than agreement with a national party platform alignment, have been Democrats.  To emerge a Republican in a Democrat-dominated political scene, you have to be practical and pragmatic.  It's not really that big a leap to be a Republican, though.  It's a pragmatic one.

Public Service-Minded.  It should be no surprise that these places produce people who seek out public service.  Foreign competition for the steel industry, coupled with a failure to prepare for it, caused demise of these towns' economic bases.  These towns have long-craved economic heroes.

People from these towns are free marketers, but not government haters.  Wanting to be that helping hand from government to create a better business climate is a natural evolution of thinking for someone from such places. 

What-You-See-Is-What-You-Get Approach.  There's a blue collar toughness to people from these places too.  They are, often, blunt and direct.  They make no apologies for telling it like they see it.  Sound familiar?

I'd say John Kasich resembles these things.  From what I've heard, Mitch Daniels does.  I'd be willing to bet Tom Corbett does too. 

Blunt, pragmatic public servants.  With record deficits and calls for change, it sounds like the right time for that. 

I guess you could say blue collar steel towns are the new cradle of governors.

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