I know there are slow news days, and no-news days, but it is staggering to me that any political pundit worth their salt would have taken seriously Mayor Jim Kenney’s supposed interest in higher statewide office.
Yes, yes, if reporters hear Kenney has had a meeting with supporters to kick around the idea of running for higher office, they have to report it. But they could get the opinion of political kingmakers and insiders to explode a notion that is as unlikely as him shooting a hole-in-one. (He doesn’t even play golf. It’s too white, although its balls are as small as his.)
He wasn’t morose when he was in Council. Angry, yes, but not miserable.
He just isn’t cut out to be a chief executive. That’s what mayor is, and that’s what governor is. Anyone who knows Kenney would know he would not want the job.
The Senate would be better — no real responsibility and with a green light to be as big an asshole as you want.
But that would mean living in, or commuting to, Washington, and while he has grown to hate Philadelphia, he is not ready to leave yet, not for another crappy Northeast city. And he would have to deal with, ugh, constituents, those grasping, knuckledraggers who always want more and more and more.
The South Philly kid has moved from South Philly to Olde City, and has left the neighborhood, the friends, and the blue-collar ethos behind.
He is a changed man. He is sniveling proof that not all change is good.
He is a progressive Democrat and — yoo hoo, political writers — a Philadelphia progressive will not win a state that (outside our collar suburbs, and State College) hates the nation’s sixth largest city, the one that dominates Pennsylvania’s economy.
Let’s count the Philadelphia Democrats who have won the governor’s chair in our lifetime.
Edward G. Rendell. That’s it — and he was and is a centrist, not a progressive. He was also a happy warrior who liked people and loved being the Numero Uno Hombre.
What’s that? Did you say Milton Shapp, a Democrat governor?
Yes, but from Montgomery County, which most of the state doesn’t know is Phillies country. Shapp hid his connection to Philadelphia, as he hid his Jewish faith. His birth name was Shapiro, but the Quaker State, he feared, wasn’t ready for a Jew.
What’s that? Rendell is Jewish. Well, barely, and also “Rendell” doesn’t sound Jewish and times had changed. Tom Wolf sounds Jewish, but he isn’t.
Neither is Kenney, but being Irish isn’t enough.
You know James Carville’s famous description of Pennsylvania as Philadelphia on one end, Pittsburgh on the other end, and Alabama in between.
Like the Jew thing, that’s no longer completely true, but true enough to mark this as a purple state — not a blue state. That Donald J. Trump won in 2016 should be taken as a warning.
Now, reality triumphs, Kenney does himself a favor by avoiding a political humiliation. Any political capital Kenney might have achieved in his first term is gone, a victim to his mishandling of the George Floyd protests, the pandemic, and the homicide rate. He gutlessly runs from making decisions. He managed to infuriate the Right while disappointing the Left. Kind of amazing.
Don’t pity him because he hasn’t got a clue.
Pity us because he’s not leaving.