Philadelphia Suffers Bout of Nostalgia, Wants Mayor Ed Rendell Back

Nostalgia is a powerful emotion, especially for Philadelphians pining for better days (and winning sports teams). Things in the past were just better, more navigable and less stressful. Some of us can even remember a time when our school system wasn’t completely boned.

Which, naturally, is why so many Philadelphians are longing for a change in leadership, specifically one that hearkens back to an era when we proudly carried the chip on our collective shoulder and got things done. We are, of course, wanting for Ed Rendell’s Philadelphia of old. Now if we could just convince the Big Guy to run.

Allan Domb, Philly’s Condo King, couldn’t think of a better guy to have in office right now:

“If Ed Rendell is mayor, the spirit of Philadelphia will change overnight, investment from the business community will skyrocket immediately,” said Domb, the Center City condo developer and real estate broker. “We have to do this. Who do you put in a basketball game with 44 seconds left and everything on the line? Your best player.”

Political strategist Mary Isenhour agrees:

“Who wouldn’t want Ed Rendell as mayor again?” said Mary Isenhour, a strategist who ran Rendell’s 2006 gubernatorial reelection campaign, adding she knows of no serious discussions toward that end.

Ditto for Democratic consultant Daniel F. McElhatton:

“There’s nostalgia for competency, leadership, communication skills,” said Democratic consultant Daniel F. McElhatton. “All the candidates out there are unknowns. Ed Rendell is a known commodity.”

Sam Katz, of course, provides the rare dissenting view, exhibiting Rendell’s record in office as the prime example of the former Gov’s unlikely fit:

“The things the mayor will need to do over the next eight years are not things Ed’s going to want to do,” Katz said. “He spent the first year in City Hall cutting, and hated it – but most of his experience, in the city and the state, was during times of economic expansion … Why take a reputation that borders on as good as it gets and put it at risk?”

Nostalgia, while powerful and comforting, often provides little more than emotional security, and that might be behind the lure of Mayor Ed 2.0.

The only good thing about the good old days, after all, is that they’re over. []