One-on-one: Jim Gardner interviews Ed Rendell
May 24, 2012 (WPVI) -- Former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell has written a book which he says is his first, and will be his last.
His overriding theme is simply stated: elected officials are too scared to take risks and do what's right, and that's causing big problems.
The book is called A Nation of Wusses: How America's Leaders Lost the Guts to Make Us Great.
I sat down with Rendell for an hour-long conversation which you can view here.
Rendell told me the biggest problem in Washington is elected officials are more concerned about keeping their jobs than doing what's necessary for the country.
"We've stopped doing big things because they're too risky. Our political system is paralyzed because no one wants to take a chance of offending their base...One of the reasons we don't have our deficit under control is because Republicans are wusses and won't tell their base a simple fact that everyone knows. We can't eliminate the deficit without raising some revenue...They're wusses," Rendell said.
In his book, Rendell said he took risks in his career, like taking a public employees' strike when he first became mayor as the first step towards moving Philadelphia away from the brink of bankruptcy, appearing with Louis Farrakhan to calm tensions after a hate crime in Grays Ferry, raising taxes by $2.7-billion after he became governor to fund public education, and speaking his mind even when it got him in trouble with the political establishment.
In one way, he would compare himself to former President George W. Bush.
I asked, "Is George W. Bush a wuss?"
"No," Rendell replied, "George W. Bush always said and did what he believed and he let it rip."
Rendell is heading out on a book tour.
He says his book won't top any NY Times bestseller list, but he hopes some people read it and think about what he wrote.
Again, the hour-long interview is available here.
philadelphia, ed rendell, jim gardner, local/state, jim gardner
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