Thank you to Ruth Ann Dailey for having the courage to write, and to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette for printing, the April 19 column "Nader vs. The System: Democracy at Stake." What has been repeatedly overlooked throughout the Bonusgate saga is that this wasn't just a case of misappropriated state funds, nor was it merely run-of-the-mill Democratic dirty politics against equally greasy Republican opponents.
The Democratic leadership's use of state employees and resources to keep third-party candidates Ralph Nader and Carl Romanelli off state ballots, for the judiciary to publicly slander the candidates' characters in the process of disqualifying their ballot petitions, and then to force them to pay court costs in support of the Democrats' felonious activities, was an anarchistic attack on our republic's core democratic values. The message this abysmal episode sends is, if you want to run for office in Pennsylvania, it better be as an obedient card-carrying Democrat or Republican. Otherwise, be prepared to lose your home, your life savings and your reputation.
Unlike Ms. Dailey, I don't have to worry about political reprisal, so I won't be as polite as she. Pennsylvania's electoral system is a national disgrace and will remain so until Ralph Nader and Carl Romanelli are absolved of their debt to the courts and publicly exonerated of the fraudulent allegations made against them by the Democratic Party, the Reed Smith law firm and the state's ethically challenged judiciary.
In fact, it will remain so until the General Assembly does something about the commonwealth's draconian election laws, which allow no viable alternative to the communist-like grip of Democrats and Republicans on Pennsylvania's government. And until Ed Rendell, Arlen Specter and especially Bob Casey (who had a lot to gain from the Democratic machine's criminality in 2006) have the courage to condemn their party's behavior on this matter and speak out in favor of opening up the state's electoral process so more voices can be heard, then we can only assume they have the same utter disregard for democracy as those involved in the Bonusgate scandal.