You know who just doesn't get it? The elites of the Democratic Party, especially here in Philadelphia. The raging fire of big-money corruption continues to burn around a party that claims to be the voice of the American working class, just like that internet meme with the dog clutching his coffee mug as the walls of the cafe blaze all around him.
"This is fine."
The latest towering inferno surrounds soon-to-be-former Rep. Chaka Fattah, elected repeatedly to Congress from his poverty-wracked, predominantly non-white district that desperately needs a helping hand in Washington. Instead, according to the federal court case that resulted yesterday in 22 felony convictions for bribery and racketeering, Fattah used those hands to help himself, leaning on millionaire pals to pay everything from his mayoral campaign debts to his kid's Drexel tuition.
"Federal prosecutors don't understand the political process," Rendell said then. "They think everything is done for ulterior motives. They're very cynical. We're not all bad. We're not all evil."
And what about the thousands of protesters expected to descend upon the City of Brotherly Love? The Kenney administration, to its credit, moved to re-write the law book to prevent the embarrassing mass arrests that happened under Police Commissioner John Timoney in 2000. Then there was a loophole. Then it was fixed. Then they said they were sprucing up the shuttered Holmesburg prison. Just in case. Then a day later they said they weren't. Is Philly getting the Summer of Love, or the kind of street warfare that made 1968's DNC in Chicago infamous?
Suddenly, nobody knows nothing. And after months of laid-back, no-biggie attytood about the Democratic confab (in contrast to the hype and hysteria before 2000's RNC...I was there), the civic blood pressure is starting to rise.
Which is why even a small nod toward openness by the host committee would go a long way. In the wreckage of the Fattah case (the last in a string of convictions and indictments of Philadelphia and Pennsylvania Democrats, by the way), Rendell and his fellow bigwigs are hoping to shield their dealings with the 1 Percent through what's always worked in the past: Sheer arrogance.
So, Ed Rendell, you want us to believe you when you say all politicians aren't bad or evil? It's really not that hard. Show us the money!