We learned a valuable lesson this week: Hell hath no fury like an ex-mayor with a website and some time on his hands.
On Monday, the Inquirer and Daily News published a story about approximately $52,000 in unexplained credit card charges that former City Representative Desiree Peterkin Bell racked up while she was the chair of the Mayor's Fund of Philadelphia.
Her former boss, Michael Nutter, responded by posting a 1,500-word opus on his curiously named website, manutter.com – or, “Man Utter,” as City & State PA's Ryan Briggs refers to the site. (Clout prefers the less common “Ma Nutter” pronunciation, but let’s not stray off topic here.)
Nutter's commentary read a bit like a jilted teenager's diary entry, dripping, as it was, with venom for Mayor's Fund executive director Ashley Del Bianco, who had the gall to report Peterkin Bell's questionable spending to the City Controller's Office.
Del Bianco, Nutter wrote, “has demonstrated the worst of human traits – a lack of honesty, serious personal character deficiency, and a lack of professional integrity," adding that he was “stunningly disappointed, disgusted, and offended,” etc. etc.
The city's political community was surprised to see the normally composed Nutter accuse Del Bianco of back-stabbing Peterkin Bell and hurl ugly adjectives in her direction. It was a compelling read, in a three-car pileup sort of way.
We’d even link to it here, except … now it’s gone.
The statement vanished from Nutter's website by Wednesday. And when we reached out to the former mayor, he suddenly had nothing to say. No response at all.
Should we consider that a retraction?
Clout gets it, Mike: This writing game ain’t easy. But unlike you, we stand by our story. It’s still online at Philly.com and isn’t going anywhere.
Clout recently reported that U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly, a Butler County Republican and potential candidate for governor, had been peddling the conspiracy theory that former President Barack Obama was continuing to live in Washington, D.C., because he’s planning to “run a shadow government that is going to totally upset the new agenda.” Kelly backed off that statement after our column got picked up by the national political press.
This week, we’d like to direct your attention to U.S. Rep. Scott Perry, who at a town hall meeting last weekend responded to a question about the EPA and environmental regulations by, basically, blaming God for pollution.
"And by the way, some violators, if you believe in, if you’re spiritual and you believe in God, one of the violators was God because the forests were providing a certain amount of nitrates and phosphates to the Chesapeake Bay,” Perry said.
The town hall audience – and the internet – responded with a prolonged groan. But our favorite response was from reader “Seth in Philly” (no, not that Seth), who wrote in the comments section at Raging Chicken Press: “God created people. People created Obamacare. Therefore God created Obamacare. The GOP is trying to destroy God's work.”
Can’t argue with that logic.
If your wacky congressman says something extra-wacky this weekend, drop us a line at email@example.com. Maybe we’ll make this a regular feature.
Quote of the week
“My advice to judges and politicians is that if someone comes to you and you have even a remote feeling in your gut that they're looking for something from you, punch them in the throat. Say some profanity. The government can't say it's assent by silence. I'd rather go to trial on assault than public corruption."
− Defense attorney William Brennan (a man with Clout-like sensibilities) in response to text message threads in the indictment of District Attorney Seth Williams that show a business owner asking the DA for help with an associate's criminal trial.
Staff writers David Gambacorta, William Bender, and Claudia Vargas contributed to this column.