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Editorial: The Grand Old Problem

Philadelphia’s moribund Republican Party needs to do a lot of soul-searching in this Democratic town. If party leaders Mike Meehan and Vito Canuso really want to shake things up and show that they want to — gasp! — actually win elections, they will get off their butts this summer and do the following:

• Persuade 10th district Councilman Brian O’Neill to come out loud and clear against the prospect of Marian Tasco becoming Council president. Mr. O’Neill’s Democratic opponent in the Nov. 8 general election, Bill Rubin, last week joined 6th district Democratic candidate Bobby Henon in promising not to vote for Ms. Tasco. Mr. O’Neill has not made that pledge, but if he wishes to maintain credibility as a great public servant, he will do so immediately. So too should all five GOP Council at-large hopefuls.

• Demonstrate a desire to pour new blood on City Hall by persuading longtime city elections commissioner Joe Duda to drop his re-election bid, thus clearing the path for reform candidate Al Schmidt in November. Mr. Duda has been The Invisible Man on the panel — the silent minority-party member — for far too long. Send him packing along with his ousted Democratic colleague, Marge Tartaglione.

• Recruit strong Republicans to campaign as independent candidates in the general election to challenge Democrats in the district races where the GOP didn’t bother to field candidates in last month’s primaries. In addition to 32-year incumbent Mr. O’Neill in the 10th, the party found brave souls to run only in the 2nd and 6th districts. The atrocious lack of Republican candidates in the other seven districts — especially Ms. Tasco’s 9th — is an indictment of the poor leadership of Mr. Meehan and Mr. Canuso.

Share your thoughts via e-mail at pronews@bsmphilly.com

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