BACK IN 2003, there was a popular country song called "Have You Forgotten" by Darryl Worley that garbled the history of 9/11 and Iraq but spoke to a broader truth: Our amazing capacity to forget events - especially political events - that happened just a couple of short years ago.

Especially in Philadelphia.

Consider the case of John Street, ex-mayor and now - apparently when I wasn't paying attention - political elder statesmen.

For several months, the media here have drooled over the Street-fueled notion that the Democrat-turned-independent, in City Hall for most of the 2000s, is getting back in the game - either challenging longtime nemesis Mayor Nutter or running for City Council at-large, a ploy that could actually work because of a quirk in the city's election law.

But few if any of the stories have stressed what should be the headline: That Street presided over one of the most corrupt administrations in Philadelphia history.

Have you forgotten, Philadelphia, that Street's top fundraiser, attorney Ron White, was indicted on corruption charges for showering Street's city treasurer with gifts while winning massive amounts of city business for himself and his clients? The indictment clearly stated that Street told staffers to give special treatment to White, who died of pacreatic cancer before his case went to trial.

Have you forgotten, Philadelphia, that Street's city treasurer, Corey Kemp, is still serving a 10-year federal prison sentence for selling his office?

Have you forgotten, Philadelphia, that Street and his aides steered major city banking and bond business to Commerce Bank (where two officials were later convicted) at the same time that Street was asking bank officials for a good deal on a mortgage?

Have you forgotten, Philadelphia, how Street never adequately explained why he received a mysterious $10,000 check from an insurance company that received city business?

Have you forgotten, Philadelphia, that Street's former law partner, Leonard Ross, pleaded guilty to corruption charges that included misusing his position as head of the Penn's Landing Redevelopment Authority?

Have you forgotten, Philadelphia, that there is much, much more - that well over a dozen people were ultimately convicted of corruption charges, and that the constant scandals harmed the city's efforts to curb problems like failing schools and rampant crime.

The comeback talk - boosted yesterday when Street signaled his interest in a closed-door meeting with U.S. Rep. Bob Brady, the Democratic boss - is even more bizarre when one considers that the subsequent Nutter administration, though flawed, has been arguably the least corrupt administration in modern city history.

Indeed, you have to also think the buffoonery of Street's older brother, the convicted tax dodger T. Milton Street, and his mayoral primary bid was a clever ploy to make John Street look Churchill-esque in comparison. Many experts think Street is just toying with Nutter and in the end won't run - but why are we letting him do this?

Don't call it a comeback.

And don't take it seriously.

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