“Don’t do it Michael,” my ex-wife told me when I began planning for a debate between the candidates running for lieutenant governor of Pennsylvania in 1978. I didn’t listen to her and I spent too much time and money in an effort that failed miserably and kept my dreams of entering politics a nightmare that I never again wanted to materialize.
I had gotten a master’s degree in American History, and realized for the first time in the state’s history, there would be a separate election for the position of the second most influential policy maker in the Keystone State.
I was a newspaper reporter and I followed state politics, having worked for the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation one summer during a fellowship I served in Harrisburg. I sent letters out to both parties, requesting the candidates to appear in Pottstown during the primary season and I got input from three persons for both the Democratic and the Republic asides.
The first debate was held during a snow storm when less than five people showed up. The second one was attended by some 10 people, none of whom seemed to get excited about the forum when they learned that the eventual winner, William Scranton III, never showed and the GOP voters stayed home.
It spelled the beginning of the end of my political aspirations, not to mention my first marriage.
It was destined to fail for other reasons, but looking back now, I believe I should have listened to her and seen the errors of my youthful ways.
“Don’t do it Michael J” could be my new refrain for so many off-the-wall ideas I still get.today!