The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

February 28, 2013

Too much, too soon for new AG

Daily Item

---- — Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane, just six weeks in statewide office and with only one high-profile decision on her record, made an appearance on national cable TV Tuesday night where "Hardball's" Chris Matthews touted her as a rising star and potential national candidate.

The attorney general stepped historically into state office as Pennsylvania's first woman attorney general. She is in a position to provide substantial checks and balances on Gov. Tom Corbett's scramble to bolster the fortunes of his administration. Plus, Ms. Kane made a number of first rate media appearances in interviews and campaign spots prior to her election.

Apparently, however, the change of gears, or maybe the too-soon hype from host Matthews, threw Kane a curve because her appearance was nervous, unsteady and produced this sound bite about gun control:

"I believe and I think a lot of people feel the same way that you don't have a right to go into a classroom and take down an entire class of children in under a minute."

More than just a lot of people are with the attorney general on that one -- like everyone.

The balance of the interview was acceptable, but not great. There were repeated audio delays between rapid-fire setups from Matthews and answers from Kane, as if she was still trying to decipher the questions.

Even sympathetic commentators have been unable to find in the highlight reel the kind of snippets that will provide Ms. Kane's political career the kind of profile lift Chris Matthews so candidly intended.

There is a lot to be said for political seasoning, consistent performance and a record of accomplishment in the face of adversity. People get better with practice.

Scranton native Kathleen Kane won state office with significant support for her experience as a Lackawanna County prosecutor, great expectations for a balance to an administration and legislature dominated by the opposing political persuasion, and 56 percent of the vote.

The potential for higher office or national prominence may be there, but the proof has yet to be introduced. Everyone in a new job needs time to learn and succeed, even rookie attorneys general.

It would be a shame to see that potential crushed at the starting gate by too much ambition on display too soon, even if the ambition and timing belongs to a talk show host and not Attorney General Kane.