Friday, October 20, 2006

Ed Rendell's Cognitive Dissonance

Anyone of our readers in Pennsylvania will have known about the legislative pay raises that caused an uproar of controversy and lost some state legislators their careers. For those of you who never heard about it, I'll do a very brief summary. Democrats and Republicans in the state legislature voted to give themselves pay increases and tried to be cute about it by being semi-secret. Now, though the vote was bipartisan, it really was supported more by Democrats than by Republicans, to the point that Democrats who declined to vote for the raise were denied leadership positions, and those who voted for it were given nice jobs as chairmen of committees. And read this from the article: "Every letter writer opposed the raise except Gov. Ed Rendell, who thought officials deserved it."

So, we get that a bunch of Democrats and some Republicans voted to pay themselves a lot of money and tried to hide it from the voting public. The governor, Ed Rendell (D), supported the pay raises.

But, of course, after the news came out, the public went absolutely insane. People were literally and figuratively calling for blood, especially after the judiciary of the state claimed that everything was a-ok (and the judicial pay raises couldn't be revoked in any case. Wonder why the court decided that?). Anyone who supported the pay raise saw his support drop and his chances of re-election plummet. And since judges in the state are elected, not appointed, even the judges found themselves on the block - the main judicial supporter of the raises is one of the few, if not the only, judges in Pennsylvania history not to survive a retention election.


Skip ahead to the present, where I was watching a Philadelphia Eagles football game, and saw a campaign commercial for Ed Rendell during the game. Rendell is running against Lynn Swann, for those of you who don't know, so I suppose it's incumbent (pun) on him to try to garner support from football fans, since Pennsylvania football fans know, respect, and may well vote for Lynn Swann without even knowing his platform.

A major part of this commercial was the statement "Lynn Swann still supports the legislative pay raises. Ed Rendell, on the other hand..." Now, let's recall history. Let's recall that Ed Rendell, a Democrat, supported the pay raises, and that the state Democratic leadership made it a litmus test for legislators - vote for the raise and you'll get a cushy job heading some committee; vote against it, and you'll be cleaning the Capitol's bathrooms with a toothbrush. Now, of course, Ed Rendell has suddenly changed his tune, and is blaming his opponent for exactly what he himself was doing all the time. Even after the public found out about the raises, Rendell was still there, supporting them!

It's as if FDR came out and said "My opponent still supports the New Deal! What's up with that?"

Please, Pennsylvania voters, vote the logical choice. Vote for Lynn Swann, because, well, he doesn't say "both a and not-a." And also, I think he played football.


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