Tchaikovsky Sounds Funny: Rendell: Eddie is Ready

Is this where I put in key words such as sex, lesbians, vampires, Christopher Lloyd and others things to which this blog do not pertain, but by putting them here, I may get hits from all the Christoper Lloyd lesbian vampire fans (and you know who you are)? This is the primarily humorous and occasionally rambling writings of Leon Tchaikovsky, humor writer. Enjoy.

Sunday, October 31, 2004

Rendell: Eddie is Ready

Ed Rendell, unlike many other politicians, entered office as Governor with a clear vision of what he wanted to achieve. Improving education was a primary goal. Reducing the hated property tax was another. He campaigned on these issues, was elected by a decent margin, and immediately set to work on his goals.

A problem with all visions is turning them into realities. The charismatic Ed Rendell discovered his career of successes in winning negotiations with a 17 member City Council composed of mostly Democrats and leading a supportive Democratic National Committee, faced a brand new challenge. He now faces 253 legislators with both Houses being majority Republican and a Democratic leadership that had mostly favored Bob Casey over him in the primary. Still, to his credit, he entered a hostile and suspicious terrain firmly committed to his vision.

Ed Rendell quickly made his first rookie mistake: he trusted people would follow what he requested of them. Instead, he learned his first lesson: never give your opponent what your opponent wants and not expect your opponent to then embarrass you with it, for your opponent will gleefully accept the gift. Ed Rendell announced to the legislative leadership he would be submitting two budget proposals: the first, a budget he didn’t want passed and a second budget, the one he really wanted, that would be finalized a few weeks later. The first budget was only a basic bare bones budget that kept government operating. In essence, it was a “stop government growth” Republican’s dream budget. Republican legislators looked at their dream budget, decided why wait for a budget Rendell wanted, and quickly passed the first budget.

The public will probably never know what exactly went on during these early meetings. Yet, it has been stated that the Republican leadership warned Ed Rendell they would pass his first budget, and he thought they would not do so if he simply requested them not to. Rendell’s vision quickly met reality.

Ed Rendell signed the budget to keep government operating but vetoed the sections dealing with Education. Rendell stuck to his commitment to reform Education while reducing property taxes. He hopes the lack of Education funding will put pressure on the legislature so they will eventually cave into his vision. That is where the budget issue is as of this writing.

Many Republicans are split on this issue. There are some who see their school districts operating short of funds and having to borrow large amounts of money. They are feeling the pressure and are pushing to reach some type of accord. Some compromises have been discussed, some of which gives Rendell a part of what he wants in Education while giving Republicans more influence in other areas of government.

There are other Republicans who see little need to compromise. There is a growing “less government-libertarian-Milton Friedman” movement nationally who have set their goals for greater privatization, even in the previously untouchable areas of health care and even Education. Distressed schools across the nation that do not rebound may find themselves privatized. For this type Republican, the current budget is exactly what they want. They have won. Why negotiate any further? Unfortunately, there appears to be some of this sentiment within the Senate Republicans, who are, so far, generally resisting negotiating any further.

How this ends will tell a lot. Most people presume that some type of compromise will be the eventual result. Yet, should one side or the other, either Rendell’s vision or Milton Friedman’s vision, be the winner, long will be the discussion of the brilliant strategy that led to this new reality.


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