Saturday, June 18, 2011

"Shovel Ready": Former "America's Governor" Ed Rendell Speaks Out, Then Dines Out

I don’t think we meant to be deceptive.” -- Former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell

              Back in October, when Obama admitted that he had to learn on the job that shovel-ready jobs don’t exist, then-governor Ed Rendell (D., Penn.)  — a leader in the push for the stimulus — told the New York Times it was all a terrible misunderstanding and called the question of "shovel-ready jobs" a "definitional” issue.

              Rendell said “shovel ready” always meant that projects were ready to begin the sometimes long process of public bidding by contractors.

            “When we said ‘shovel ready’ we meant ‘shovel ready’ in the way we do things.” 

                He added, I don’t think we meant to be deceptive.”

        Note: The above post, keyed mostly to this column by Jonah Goldberg concerning the "shovel-ready job" travesty/deception portion of President Obama's "stimulus" program, but containing some additional language from the earlier Peter Baker New York Times interview with the president, must be especially disheartening to those people who believed in both the sincerity and competence of the actors involved.  Everyone else simply feels continued disgust. Long before the Times piece appeared last fall, I recall reading a Philadelphia Magazine interview with a city infrastructure executive who, responding to questions concerning the ongoing, perpetual deterioration of our Schuylkill Expressway and the permanent I-95/Blue Route intersection bottleneck, explicated and debunked the myth of the "shovel-ready job".  That city manager was a Democrat also, but he felt the need to give a straightforward, factual answer to the reporter's question.

        Former Governor Rendell is, interestingly, one of the few politicians who is difficult to picture with a shovel in his hands.  (Shovel photos tend to be regular, almost heraldic political symbols because of politicians' regular attendance at groundbreaking ceremonies.)  Actually, the only photograph I could find of the current MSNBC pundit-at-large/Large Pundit holding a shovel was taken last November 7th at the  United Flight 93 memorial groundbreaking in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where he was sporting an incredibly inappropriate grin.  Out of respect for the families of the brave passengers and victims of Flight 93, I decided not to post that photo.  

        Pictures of Rendell in the vicinity of and eating cheesesteaks abound, however, so here are two.  I recall with amusement the time Rendell took then-presidential candidate John Kerry on the obligatory campaign cheesesteak run in Philly (at the iconic Pat's, I believe, pictured here) and Kerry tried to order his steak with a gruyere cheese topping, thereby making himself look completely ridiculous.  

                 It has always been said that Ed Rendell looks convincing eating a cheesesteak.  It will not be gainsaid here.

        A Large Man, never at a loss for words, former Governor Rendell clearly regards the rest of Us as small

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