Sunday, January 16, 2011

"America's Mayor." Fast Eddie." By whatever name, Ed Rendell was a major force in Pennsylvania politics for more than three decades.

He is credited with bringing the city of Philadelphia from the brink of bankruptcy and changing its image and livability during his eight years as mayor, 1992-1999. His eight years as the 45th Governor of Pennsylvania (2002-2010), while sometimes a rocky road, stack up against those of any of his predecessors in terms of achievement. He was the chairman of the Democratic National Committee from 1999-2001 and has been mentioned for various positions in both the Clinton and Obama administrations. And he made a different sort of history by being a regular (if not always astute) panelist on a local post-game cable show during the NFL season.

Bigger than life? It ain't a cliché if it's true.

The main story on the front page of the Philadelphia Inquirer today is a look back at Rendell's term in the state house, with the highly appropriate headline, "Stormy Tenure Ends." For a lot of people, including me, the headline on the second long Rendell piece, "After eight years as governor, Rendell remembered as Philly mayor," has even more resonance.

He says his days in politics are done. Chances are he'll be turning up on a TV near you before long; some rumors have him going to Fox as a token progressive, others think he'll be a "regular contributor" at MSNBC. Either way, the odds on his saying something outlandish on a regular basis are pretty good. Check out "The quotable governor," also in today's paper.

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