Thursday, October 11, 2012

Book Review: A Nation of Wusses by Ed Rendell

Hardcover: 256 pages
Publisher: John Wiley and Sons; 1st edition (June 5, 2012)

A Nation of Wusses: How America's Leaders Lost the Guts to Make Us Great by former Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell is a great political read and one that is also funny.

Rendell has no problems with referring to elected officials as wusses.  Like the rest of us, he is frustrated with the fact that nothing seems to get done in Washington.

To put it simply, Rendell not only writes a memoir here but he also calls out those politicians who "rarely call for sacrifice for the greater good--to avoid making any sacrifices themselves."

Rendell even mixes in sports with politics.  As the Mayor of Philadelphia, he was on the postgame show to talk about the Eagles' performance in the game.  This was a job he continued to do, even as governor of Pennsylvania.  He didn't do it for the money.  He did do it for the money after his term as governor ended since it's no longer inappropriate

In a chapter on President Bill Clinton's wrongdoings with Monica Lewinsky, Rendell goes as far as calling out each and every Republican that voted to impeach the former president and went on to reveal or later have an extramarital affair.

Rendell offers rollicking stories that can be described as profane or profound and why the hard choices are only "hard" because the results that the pollsters get only conflict with the principles of what the politician, in this case Rendell, stands for.  Rendell is one of the few Democrats that had to take a hard stance with the city unions to lower the deficit but, in the end, it was the right thing to do in order to prevent Philly from going bankrupt.

Rendell looks at his rise in Philly, Pennsylvania, and as chairman of the Democratic National Committee, where he said some things that pissed off the Al Gore campaign leadership.  At times, even when he did what he thought was right, he was afraid it would be the end of his career.

Rendell looks at the current landscape and says that he has one more campaign in him and that is for another Clinton run.

I have followed Rendell's career since he became governor of Pennsylvania and he's one of the few elected officials that I truly admire.  I think he would make a great president but I believe him when he says he is no longer running for office.  We need more people like Ed Rendell.  He is funny and heartfelt in this book.  I can't say that about most political books unless they were written by comedians but Rendell could be a comedian in a different life.

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