Ed Rendell lemme Holla @ you for a minute

You just couldn’t wait your turn, could you?

It is February 12. The Pennsylvania Primary is scheduled for April 22.

You are 10 weeks away. You have all kinds of time to get shine for your candidate.

But this?

THIS RIGHT HERE?

Gov. Ed “Don’t Call Me ‘Fast Eddie’ ” Rendell met with the editorial board of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette last week to talk about his latest budget. But before turning the meeting over to his number-crunchers, our voluble governor weighed in on the primary fight between Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama and what the Illinois senator could expect from the good people of Pennsylvania at the polls:

“You’ve got conservative whites here, and I think there are some whites who are probably not ready to vote for an African-American candidate,” he said bluntly. Our eyes only met briefly, perhaps because the governor wanted to spare the only black guy in the room from feeling self-conscious for backing an obvious loser. “I believe, looking at the returns in my election, that had Lynn Swann [2006 Republican gubernatorial candidate] been the identical candidate that he was –well-spoken [note: Mr. Rendell did not call the brother “articulate”], charismatic, good-looking — but white instead of black, instead of winning by 22 points, I would have won by 17 or so.”

I know I have a habit of sometimes zoning out in these meetings, but it sounded to me like Mr. Rendell had unilaterally declared Pennsylvania to be Alabama circa 1963. Was he suggesting that Pennsylvanians are uniquely racist in ways that folks in the states Mr. Obama has won so far aren’t? By the way, Mr. Obama won Alabama on Super Tuesday, thank you very much!

What accounts for Mr. Rendell’s overweening confidence that, no matter what, he’ll always find a way to overcome the odds by at least 17 points even in a racist commonwealth, but that Mr. Obama can’t?

If Mr. Rendell, a Clinton backer, is right about Pennsylvania’s racial attitudes, maybe we should get a new state slogan. How about: “You’ve got a friend with a pointy white hood in Pennsylvania”?

I have lived a few places, and I have learned a few things about some other places.  But if there is one place I DO know, it’s Pennsylvania.

It has once been described as Pittsburgh on one side, Philadelphia on the other side, and Alabama in the Middle.  It is a great one-liner, but the truth is much more complicated.

Is it true that you are just as likely to roll up on a Klan rally in Central Pennsylvania as you are a We Love Black People sign?  Sure.

Is Penn State universally known as one of the whitest places on earth?  Yep.

But to Suggest that the State of Iowa is somehow more ready for a Black man than the state of Pennsylvania?

And THEN….to somehow support your opinion, you want to compare a sitting United States Senator to a former football player?

Ed, Ed, Ed.

Dumb, Dumb, Dumb.

Ohhhhhh Ed.  You did it now.

2 comments

  1. deesha

    Small world: Tony Norman (author of this piece) is my mentor and “big brother.” I wonder if there will be any fall out from this.

    This is a wild tangent, but have you ever read “Two Cities” by John Edgar Wideman?

  2. jameil

    I wasn’t at all offended by him saying there are white people who won’t vote for a black man. DUH!! come on. everyone knows that. but well-spoken and the rest of his qualifiers? stupid. he may as well have called him clean. ALSO like you said, how do you compare rocky to lynn!??! lynn i know you played for the most storied teams in state history but you can’t go from football player to governor w/no in between. what an idiotic comparison. you cannot draw a parallel between the two other than they’re “clean” black men. ugh.

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