It’s that time of the year again: the great State Budget Face Off. As it routinely does, Pennsylvania has sauntered past the deadline for getting the budget without getting it done and now faces the prospect of laying off thousands of people.
But this blog isn’t about public policy; it’s about perception. So we ask, what are peoples’ perceptions? More specifically, who’s getting the blame?
The truth is that Governor Ed Rendell and the state legislature should share the blame evenly. But that is not the perception, because as the Philadelphia Daily News’ John Baer put it this week, nothing sticks to Governor Ed.
Baer says it all comes down to branding. He writes:
The thing Republican leaders, well-meaning in efforts to curtail state spending and hold down taxes, apparently fail to understand is that Rendell is what marketing folks call “branded.”
No matter what he says or does, he remains the guy who saved a city, who finds ways to keep trains running, who ends strikes and fights trouble, a full-of-life fellow who loves food, fun and the Eagles.|
Lawmakers are “branded,” too. They are amorphous beings in a discredited class, easy targets for broad-brush definition, a whole subject to the faults of a few, with a reputation as more responsive to special interests than citizens.
Talk about a power imbalance. Like Pepsi against Coke and Adidas against Nike, the Legislature is fixed in second place. And as Ricky Bobby said inn Talladega Nights “if you ain’t first, you’re last.”
That right there is the power of branding.