Friday, December 26, 2014

Ed Rendell doubles down

The former Guv still pays close attention to doings in the Capitol. Here's but the latest example.

Ed Rendell doubles down

Okay, this is one of those little insider items.

It won't surprise you to know Ed Rendell (still) sometimes calls journalists to vent and/or complain.

My call this week starts with the gravelly voice suggesting "you've made a factual error."

I think something self-deprecating such as `well, it wouldn't be the first time,' but all I say is, "Oh, boy, here we go."

He claims a recent blogpost noting his public thrashing of fellow-Democrats who voted against the state transportation bill that passed last week -- including calling out Dems representing parts or all of Montgomery County -- was wrong.

I wrote that of the nine Democratic House members in question, five voted against the bill when it failed (103-98) and four voted for it. Rendell went on KYW radio after that vote and called the casters of "no" votes (his favorite word) "wusses."

The next day, a second House vote led to passage (104-95). I noted the same tally from Montco: the same five voted "no," the same four voted "yes." Nobody changed their vote, namecalling notwithstanding.

But Rendell argues some DID change their vote eventually, when the House-passed bill came back from the Senate and the House voted to concur. And three did switch from "no" to "yes" at that time.

But by then their votes weren't needed. The vote to concur was 113-85 (102 is needed for passage). Three more "yes" votes from Montco were inconsequentional. The bill was going to pass now with or without them.

But because Ed's never wrong or willing to concede a point, he argues that my "scenario" (his word, I guess, for what actually happened) doesn't take into account that the outcome of the concurrence vote was in doubt, and he knows this because he was working the phones just before that vote.

I stress that my point was the vote-switchers didn't switch after he called them "wusses," they switched only after the bill already passed the House and the Senate and had momentum.

Ed then uses a classic debate tactic. He switches the argument. Well, he says, that makes them "double wusses!"

Says he'd have "more respect" for them (Reps. Matt Braford, Mary Jo Daley, Madeleine Dean) if they stuck to their guns. And he adds he's going to save money and time next year by not contributing to or campaigning for their re-election efforts.

So there you have it: a peek inside Edworld, a world of numbers, "wusses" and, occassionally, "double wusses."

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
About this blog
John Baer has been covering politics and government for the Daily News since 1987. The National Journal in 2002 called Baer one of the country's top 10 political journalists outside Washington, saying Baer has, "the ability to take the skin off a politician without making it hurt too much." E-mail John at baerj@phillynews.com.

John is the author of the book "On The Front Lines of Pennsylvania Politics: Twenty-Five Years of Keystone Reporting" (The History Press, 2012). Reach John at baerj@phillynews.com.

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
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