My recent political activism has forced me to pay way more attention to local politics. For years I heard from wiser heads that Ed Rendell was a slippery eel of a politician, but I had trouble seeing it. He seemed like a democrat pol of the sort I could reluctantly support, given the lack of available options in Philadelphia politics.
Well, as I have learned more about his deceptive tax schemes promising to beggar his successor I now realize I was blinded by his amiability. He is, indeed, a weasel.
His contortions over our Commonwealth’s presidential primary serves as a good overview of what type of politician he is. Two years ago he was for it, forming a commission to look into the matter. Showing how well these sorts of government commissions work, they did precisely nothing for two years. Then he was against it as recently as this January. Then he recently became for it again. Now he is back to being against it. [HT Keystone Politics]
His rationale for now being against it covers two broad areas, about both of which he is unsurprisingly evasive. First, he admits he would rather not make a presidential endorsement. With a primary in April he will not need to. What he does not say is he is likely a Clinton supporter. So one can only surmise that the Clinton camp feels they are now weak in Pennsylvania and would rather not give Obama the opportunity to pick up the Commonwealth’s delegates in a meaningful primary.
Second, he claims to be concerned about the effects a February primary would have on school board budgetary procedures, a problem created by his own ACT I real estate tax “reform”, to which he would rather not draw attention as more and more schools are opting out of this scheme. [HT Phyrllas] This objection, as detailed here, is complete bunk. You see, the workaround for this problem would make it harder to raise our taxes, and Rendell is against this. This is because the solution would be to bifurcate the primary, having most ballot items– including the presidential primary– in February. Then school districts that want to raise taxes over inflation would have their referendum in June. This would make it harder for them to raise taxes as if a tax raise is the only thing on a ballot voters will be better prepared to shoot it down no matter how confusing the language of the proposal.
So now the insiders in BOTH major parties are working to diffuse the influence of Pennsylvania voters. Any PA Obama supporters out there that would like to help me make a stink over this? I now know why the office of my state senator [Andy Dinniman] couldn’t tell me last week where he stood on the matter of moving the primary forward. I was asking precisely when Fast Eddie was changing his mind!