Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell has been mentioned by some in the media as a potential running mate for Barack Obama, so in this edition of Pros and Cons we look at how Rendell might help or hurt if he were to share the ticket with Obama.
Resume: Rendell began his political career by being electing the Philadelphia District Attorney in 1977. He was DA during infamous MOVE bombing in 1985. Rendell left the DA’s office in 1986 to run for governor, but he lost the Democratic nomination to Bob Casey Sr. In 1987 he ran for Philadelphia mayor, but again lost the primary. Rendell was elected mayor in 1991. He served as the city’s mayor from 1992-1999. Rendell ran for and was elected Pennsylvania governor in 2002, and won reelection in 2006.
Pros to Picking Rendell: Rendell is a liberal white governor of a large swing state that could swing firmly into Obama’s column if he was on the ticket. Rendell would hopefully be able to connect with the white blue collar workers that Obama has struggled with. As a two term governor, he has executive experience. He has also been an outspoken supporter of Hillary Clinton, and his selection might help rally Clinton supporters to Obama.
Cons to Picking Rendell: The biggest con to Rendell is that he is not popular in the state of Pennsylvania outside of the Philadelphia area. Rendell has had approval ratings as low as 40% during his time as governor. For the entire year of 2007, his approval ratings ranged from 48%-53%. Rendell won his first term as governor by winning only 10 of the state’s 67 counties. He won his second term running against a complete political novice in Lynn Swann.
Rendell is very unpopular in the same counties where Obama struggled in the Pennsylvania primary. In fact, Rendell’s base of power is still in the Philadelphia area, where John Kerry won 90% of the vote in 2004, and Obama will do even better in 2008. Early polling indicates that Rendell may actually cost Obama a few points of support in the Keystone state, and he adds nothing to the ticket outside of Pennsylvania.
Odds of Obama Selecting Rendell: For all of the reasons mentioned above, there is little chance that Obama will pick Rendell. For his part Rendell has let it be known that he isn’t all that interested in VP. He has said he would like a cabinet post such as Secretary of Transportation. The people who advocate Rendell are displaying their ignorance of Pennsylvania politics. On the surface Rendell makes sense, but a closer examination reveals that Rendell may hurt Obama more than he helps. Bob Casey Jr. is the most popular Democrat in the state. If the Obama camp is worried about PA, then they could look in his direction instead of Rendell.
The Choice-O-Meter Says:
O (1 O out of 10 for Ed Rendell) 1 O = No Chance – 10 Os = A Sure Thing