And cue the Marcellus question
Pick a card, any card.
Now instead of placing that card back in the deck, I want you to ask the governor about the topic on it.
OK, so it didn't go exactly like that. But I was surprised to see pre-screened questions — the soft balls — being handed out to business leaders at a campaign event last week for Gov. Tom Corbett, a pro-business governor.
Shouldn't he already know exactly what is coming? Taxes, spending, job creation, regulation, legal reform, labor laws. Oh, and where are we with transportation infrastructure, pension reform and liquor store privatization?
Those are right up his wheelhouse. He only gets asked about this stuff nearly every day by the Capitol media.
I'll buy the argument from David Taylor, executive director of the Pennsylvania Manufacturers' Association — host of the campaign forum along with the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry and the National Federation of Independent Business — that they "didn't want to leave it to chance" and have participants get bogged down on one topic.
The roundtable was being aired on PCN. You want to put your best face on for television and run the gamut of topics.
"We didn't just dwell on one corner of policy," Taylor said.
That's fair. But why not just chime in after the governor answers the previous question with: "Job initiatives, who has a question?"
That would get the action moving beyond the economic impact of natural-gas drilling. I don't think business leaders need cue cards.
To be clear, the governor's team said no question or subject was deemed off limits.
But you're not likely to get those random questions when you're touting accomplishments and preaching to the choir for a defined period of time. They just want to know you're staying the course.
You might get that question about your chances for re-election if transportation funding doesn't get done before Christmas and next year being an election year.
"I think we are close" is a good response and one the governor used.
If it doesn't get done, it will be easy to blame the General Assembly and say: "I'm just one person."
I'm not questioning the governor's sincerity and desire to get transportation done. He wants to sign something. And that will only bolster his stock going into 2014.
I also believe that state lawmakers want to work it out in the little time they have left this year. Of course, they also have other wish lists that include pension reform, property taxes, et cetera.
The problem, as Rep. Glen Grell, R-Cumberland, put it to me on Twitter: "There is no consensus on a plan to address the issue."
He was referring to pensions, but the same can be said about all these big policy items. He has his plan, others have their own ideas. Why can't they get on the same page?
Hold on while I find my cue cards.