Bar­letta’s fu­ture, win or lose, linked to Trump RAN­DOM NOTES

The Times-Tribune - - OP-ED - BY ROD­ER­ICK RAN­DOM Lou Bar­letta BO­RYS KRAWCZENIUK, The Times-tri­bune’s pol­i­tics re­porter, writes Ran­dom Notes.

He’s and he ap­proved this mes­sage:

“We want to once again show our law en­force­ment and first re­spon­ders the re­spect they de­serve,” Bar­letta says in a cam­paign com­mer­cial run­ning re­peat­edly on lo­cal tele­vi­sion. “We want to take care of our vets; we want to honor our mil­i­tary;we want to se­cure our bor­ders; we want to put an end to il­le­gal im­mi­gra­tion once and for all and we want to take a knee to pray and stand for the flag. Help me, help Pres­i­dent Trump drain the swamp and make Amer­ica great again. Thank you.”

As the Repub­li­can con­gress­man and U.S. Sen­ate can­di­date from Ha­zle­ton speaks, Pres­i­dent Don­ald

Trump stands nearby.

The com­mer­cial footage — only slightly al­tered from the orig­i­nal — comes from Bar­letta’s role in Trump’s Aug. 2 rally at the Mo­he­gan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza.

Trump showed up to rally his fans for Bar­letta, whose cam­paign lagged badly then and still lags if you be­lieve all the in­de­pen­dent polling.

Dur­ing his roughly 78 min­utes on stage, the pres­i­dent dubbed Demo­cratic Sen. Bob

casey, Bar­letta’s op­po­nent, “Sleep­ing Bob.”

Bar­letta em­ploys the tag in an­other TV com­mer­cial that re­lies on ob­vi­ously al­tered stills and video of Casey asleep.

His com­mer­cials show he’s as all-in on Trump as ever. Only weeks af­ter U.S. Rep.

Tom Marino en­dorsed Trump in 2016, Bar­letta joined him and they haven’t backed off.

At the out­set of this Sen­ate cam­paign, Bar­letta said he would never dis­tance him­self from Trump and he hasn’t. Not all Repub­li­can con­gres­sional can­di­dates feel the same way. For ex­am­ple, good luck find­ing any men­tion of Trump on Repub­li­can con­gres­sional can­di­date

John chrin’s web­site. If it’s there, it’s well-hid­den.

Now, let’s pick apart that arena quote from Bar­letta’s com­mer­cial.

Bar­letta talks about show­ing re­spect for law en­force­ment and first re­spon­ders, some of whom have been un­der at­tack the last few years for shoot­ing or suf­fo­cat­ing un­armed civil­ians — black civil­ians, that is — with cam­eras rolling and, a cou­ple of times, while the sus­pects ran or walked away. Trump’s De­part­ment of Jus­tice has turned away from ag­gres­sively in­ves­ti­gat­ing such shoot­ings.

Men­tions of vet­er­ans and the mil­i­tary weren’t un­usual. Can­di­dates of both par­ties talk about both, but Trump has es­pe­cially em­pha­sized both.

On il­le­gal im­mi­gra­tion, well, ev­ery­body knows Trump’s record on that. From the start of his cam­paign, Trump has made im­mi­gra­tion an is­sue, call­ing for a ban on let­ting Mus­lims into the coun­try, build­ing a wall to keep out Mex­i­cans and Cen­tral Amer­i­cans, etc. Bar­letta or­ga­nized against il­le­gal im­mi­gra­tion when he was still Ha­zle­ton mayor, and it’s cer­tainly a rea­son he aligned him­self with Trump early on.

Now, as for that part about how “we want to take a knee to pray and stand for the flag.” That’s Trump all the way. As NFL play­ers be­gan kneel­ing dur­ing the na­tional an­them to protest wrong­ful shoot­ings, no one railed harder against the play­ers than the com­man­der in chief.

Bar­letta’s ral­ly­ing cry trans­lates roughly as “just do it” when it comes to stand­ing for the an­them. As every­one who wears sneak­ers knows, Nike coined and adopted the slo­gan “just do it.”

The com­pany just used it again in its cam­paign fea­tur­ing for­mer San Fran­cisco 49ers quar­ter­back colin

Kaeper­nick, who hasn’t been able to find a job in the Na­tional Foot­ball League be­cause he in­sti­gated the protest kneel­ing.

Stoked by the pres­i­dent, plenty of peo­ple raged at the temer­ity of an NFL player in­ter­fer­ing with their en­joy­ment of foot­ball. At the Cir­cle Drive-in flea mar­ket a while back, one ven­dor had his NFL gear for sale be­cause he no longer watches games.

Bar­letta only upped the rhetoric Wed­nes­day in Erie.

Once again, Trump stood nearby as the con­gress­man re­minded of the na­tion’s eco­nomic surge un­der his ally.

“Unem­ploy­ment at 3.7 per­cent, 4 mil­lion new jobs were cre­ated,” Bar­letta said. “And this is the stat I love the most, 4 mil­lion Amer­i­cans came off of food stamps, 4 mil­lion Amer­i­cans came off of food stamps, black unem­ploy­ment at an all-time low, His­panic unem­ploy­ment at an all-time low, women’s unem­ploy­ment at a 64-year low. There are more jobs than peo­ple who are un­em­ployed, and I’ll tell you how good the econ­omy is. This econ­omy is so good that even Colin Kaeper­nick found a job.”

Trump and Bar­letta, per­fect to­gether.

With less than a month to the Nov. 6 elec­tion, maybe Kaeper­nick will be­come the new Nancy pelosi, the for­mer House speaker who re­mains one of Chrin’s fa­vorite foils.

If Bar­letta wins the elec­tion, no one will ques­tion his Trump-love strat­egy. He will say his vic­tory only shows how much Pennsylvanians (and Amer­i­cans) re­ally like Trump. If he loses, well, lots of peo­ple al­ready think Trump will of­fer Bar­letta a job in his ad­min­is­tra­tion. Say­ing nice things about the pres­i­dent as you’re los­ing can’t hurt your chances.

Maybe Bar­letta will find a job in govern­ment sooner than Kaeper­nick finds one in the NFL.

KEITH STRAKOCIC/AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Rep. Lou Bar­letta, Repub­li­can can­di­date for Sen­ate, joins Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump on the podium Wed­nes­day dur­ing a rally in Erie.

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