“This is a horrible moment,” a visibly upset Rob McCord concluded. “Sometimes people fail character tests. Sometimes good people do bad things. Sometimes great people make mistakes.”
The irony of that statement is not contained merely to the words but to what brought them about. For the same impetus that drove Rob McCord to that declaration also compelled him to threaten potential donors with political payback.
McCord desperately wanted to be Governor and for a time that looked like a real possibility. In 2013, Gov. Corbett’s approval was cratering and Democratic front-runner Allyson Schwartz was floundering.
Everything was going according to plan and it seemed like the only thing that could possibly stop McCord from becoming Governor would be some kind of wildcard.
That wildcard turned out to be Tom Wolf.
Then a little-know cabinet magnate, Wolf put $10 million of his own money into his campaign AND spent most of it on early TV ads AND those commercials were extremely well produced AND (most incredible of all) they connected to voters.
If any one of those variables turned out differently, McCord may very well be sitting in the Governor Mansion’s right now, instead of worrying about how to avoid a jail cell.
Ultimately it was that fact, that Wolf had pulled off a political miracle that was likely to cost him his dream job, that drove McCord to ruin.
As a result, his personal attacks on Wolf make a lot more sense and that statement takes on a whole new dimension (the press conference likely occurred after McCord’s now-infamous donor meeting).
Ambition is by no means a bad thing. In fact, too often we reward politicians who seemingly want the office least instead of the other way around. Not to mention the reality that today’s corrosive environment repels some of the our best (and yes, ambitious) citizens from running for office.
Still, this episode proves the consequences of coveting the office more than the opportunity. That blinding ambition can cause good people to do bad things.