Q&A: Former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell

Outspoken and oftentimes polarizing, Ed Rendell will tell you exactly what's on his mind. His new book, A Nation of Wusses, does just that, and then some.

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Short-winded he’s not. And chances are, you won’t hear him mincing words anytime soon—or ever. Former governor Ed Rendell remains a force to be reckoned with on the air (providing analysis on Eagles Postgame Live) and in legal circles (as special counsel for Ballard Spahr). Whether you agree with him or not, the man will be heard, one way or another. His new book, A Nation of Wusses, pretty much says it all.

MLT: How did the book come about?
ER: As my elective office wound down in 2010, it was pretty clear that I wasn’t going to run for anything else in the realm of public service. What I understood from my 34 years in the game was that there was a severely deteriorated level of ability to get things done, and that they’d been getting done so badly, and that our country was in desperate trouble because of it. We need to do something to change the direction we’re headed in, and maybe an entertaining book will make people think and say to themselves, “I ought to roll up my sleeves and get this done.”

MLT: Whether you’re talking about Eagles fans or politicians, what’s your definition of a “wuss”?
ER: Someone who doesn’t have the courage to do what they know is right, even if it involves risks. Losing your office is the single worst thing in the game of politics, and people have become so afraid of losing these positions that they’ve become risk-averse. They’ll do anything to go along with the public opinion polls, and then try to convince those people that it’s the right thing to do. If you don’t believe that some issues are so important that you’d risk losing your position to advance that cause, then you shouldn’t be in this business.

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