Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Tony Phyrillas: Rendell takes credit for everything

The Ed Rendell Propaganda Machine is working overtime this summer.

The news media is bombarded on a daily basis by all sorts of junk cranked out by Rendell's spinmeisters, trying to sell the governor for another four years.

Rendell is taking credit for everything under the sun. I wouldn't be surprised to see a press release soon saying that there have been more sunny days since Ed Rendell became governor.

Just today, we learn from Propaganda Central that "Governor Rendell Says Pennsylvania's Job Growth Remains Strong State Job Count Hits Record in June; Up 124,800 Since January 2003."

Here's how the press release goes:

"Governor Edward G. Rendell today said Pennsylvania's job count rose in June to a new record high of 5,750,100 jobs, bringing to 125,000 the number of new jobs reported since the Governor took office.
The number of new jobs in the commonwealth since 2003 continues to outpace all the other rust belt states with the exception of New York — Pennsylvania's job growth during that period is the largest among other Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic states.
"Pennsylvania's job growth remains strong," Governor Rendell said. "We are adding more jobs to the economy each month as we improve our competitive business environment. And companies are recognizing our efforts as they invest and expand operations. Along with the growth in the number of jobs, Pennsylvania's unemployment rate fell to 4.7 percent in June, a full percentage point lower than it was in June 2003.

I distinctly recall Rendell campaigning with John Kerry in 2004 and blaming George W. Bush for Pennsylvania's lousy job growth numbers. So if the job picture has improved so much, shouldn't Rendell be sending a "Thank You" card to the president? Let's be fair. If it was Bush's fault that the job picture wasn't so rosy two years ago, shouldn't the credit go to Bush for turning the economy around?

This is why it's increasingly difficult to believe anything that comes from the Rendell Spin Factory.

On the same day as the nonsense job release came out, we got this gem from Rendell:
"Pennsylvania Governor Rendell Says Record Number of PA Motorists Are Using Seat Belts Seat Belt Usage Rate Reaches 86 Percent."

Here's how the rest of the press release goes:

"Seat belt use in Pennsylvania has reached a record-high of 86 percent - the highest rate since the state began tracking seat belt usage in 1988, Governor Edward G. Rendell announced today.
"For a growing number of Pennsylvania motorists, the act of buckling up has become second nature," Governor Rendell said. "It is very encouraging that a record number of drivers and passengers now understand the simple fact that seat belts save lives."
Governor Rendell thanked state and local law enforcement and other highway safety partners for their assistance in promoting seat belt use. These educational and enforcement efforts resulted in the record level of seat belt compliance in 2006, which reflected nearly a three-percentage-point jump from the 83.3 percent level reported in 2005.
PennDOT estimates with every percentage point increase in seat belt usage, eight to 12 lives will be saved. In 2005, 578 unbuckled fatalities occurred on the state's highways."

Wow. We have Gov. Ed Rendell to thank for seat belts. What a great guy. Did he invent the Internet, too? No, wait. That was Al Gore.

I did notice that Gov. Rendell is not taking credit for the increase in head injuries among Pennsylvania motorcyclists since Rendell signed the bill to repeal Pennsylvania's mandatory helmet law. I'm sure his PR people are working hard to find a way to spin massive head trauma that into something positive.

And Rendell's PR flaks need to coordinate better with Lois Murphy, who is complaining about the Pennsylvania job picture in her bid to unseat Rep. Jim Gerlach. It appears Murphy is living in an alternate universe. According to her ads, Gerlach is responsible for the declining job situation in the 6th District, which last time I checked was part of Pennsylvania. So is the job picture good or not? Rendell says it's up. Murphy, his tax-and-spend female clone, says it's bad. Which is it?

Tony Phyrillas is a columnist for The Mercury in Pottstown, Pa. E-mail him at tphyrillas@pottsmerc.com