AT LARGE with TOM WILLIAMS: Ed Rendell's book fears 'A Nation of Wusses'

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A Nation of Wusses A Nation of Wusses

Frequent Ocean City summer visitor Ed Rendell has written a book. The former Governor of Pennsylvania, Mayor of Philadelphia and Chairman of the Democratic National Party is concerned that our country is becoming “A Nation of Wusses”.

And the title of the book basically comes from the NFL’s postponement of an Eagles-Vikings game in 2010 from Sunday night until Tuesday because a heavy snowstorm was forecast for Philadelphia.

“Comcast SportsNet called me around what would have been kickoff time,” Rendell said in a phone interview, “and there were less than six inches of snow on the ground in Philadelphia, four in Montgomery County and two inches in Delaware, where the Eagles have a lot of fans. I said it was preposterous. Tom Hanks said in A League of Their Own that there was no crying in baseball. Well, there is no cancelling football games for bad weather, particularly for snow. I said then that it is typical of what’s happening in this country. There was a school in Philadelphia recently that closed because of potential humidity and heat. It never got above 82 degrees. We are being run by lawyers and insurance companies that tell us what we can’t do. That’s also true in our politics these days. Too many elected officials are afraid to anger their base and they don’t give the voter credit for being intelligent. As a result, we don’t get anything done because they behave like wusses.”

A wuss, by the way, is defined as “a person who is physically weak and ineffectual, often a male person with low courage factor”.

Rendell, now a political analyst for NBC and MSNBC, goes to the past for encouragement.

“Look at Abraham Lincoln and Dwight Eisenhower – two good Republicans. Lincoln didn’t care what people thought, whether his actions would cost him votes. He did what was needed, even if it was unpopular at the moment. Like the transcontinental railroad. The same with Eisenhower and the interstate highway system.”

Rendell is currently touring the Northeast and Middle-Atlantic states talking about his book and signing copies for fans.

“The book tour is kind of like campaigning because you do multiple stops in one day and deal with multiple media. But, with a campaign, if you believe in your candidacy, it’s all worth it. The same thing with the book tour. If you believe in the book – that it’s a good read and informative, which I do – the adrenaline from that basically carries you through the day.”

Rendell has been known throughout his career as a man who speaks his mind and does what he thinks is right. But there was one time he gave in. And he still regrets it.

“I say in the book, none of us are 100 percent wusses and none of us are 100 percent non-wusses. Everybody wusses out sometime. I think I’m known as a non-wuss but I wussed out when I signed the Pennsylvania pay raise bill because they threatened not to pass any more legislation in my remaining years as governor. The bill was bad and I should have realized that they wouldn’t do what they said. But I didn’t. I wussed out.”

Rendell also believes that New Jersey’s governor, regardless of what you think of his politics and defensiveness, is clearly not a wuss.

“Chris Christie is a non-wuss,” Rendell said. “He generally says what he believes and lets the consequences fall all around him. He is close to the epitome of a non-wuss. That doesn’t mean I agree with everything that Chris does. But in terms of getting a guy who says what he believes regardless of the consequences and isn’t afraid, Chris Christie is an example.”

Rendell expects to schedule a book-signing appearance in the Ocean City area next month. He hopes it can be arranged while he is on vacation in the resort.

“I love Ocean City. I have some great memories. It has great beaches, the people are terrific and the Ocean City boardwalk is the best I’ve seen anywhere in the country. It’s a great place.”

Ed Rendell’s book is available at most book stores and online through and other sites.

“I tried to make this book meaningful,” he said, “but also funny and entertaining. But the real important point is that we are in a very serious juncture in this country. We’ve got to do something about the deficit, we’ve got to do something about infrastructure, we’ve got to do something about education, we’ve got continue to be the place for research and development. That means we’ve all got to get together, stop being afraid of re-election, do the right thing and tell our base supporters the truth. If you run for public office and you don’t believe there are some things so important that they are worth losing for, then do us all a favor and don’t run.”

Next week in this space we’ll have more from Ed Rendell on the national political tone, Hillary Clinton’s future and what once happened in Ocean City that upset him.                

 Words of Wisdom: “If I lose, I lose. I’ll do it on my terms”

(Ed Rendell)

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