Ed Rendell enjoyed himself at his book signing hosted by The Hill Tuesday night. Between bites of curry chicken puffs, the former Pennsylvania governor held court with a bevy of pretty VIPs ("A lot of them were Hill staff," he pointed out to Yeas & Nays, "and the Hill staff is almost 95 percent women"), signed copies of his new book, "A Nation of Wusses," and yukked it up with political types.
Rendell, dressed in a pinstriped suit and pink tie covered in lizards ("I thought they were crocodiles," he said), has found the book tour delightful. "The good news is that only people who like you buy the book," he said. "I looked at the comments on Amazon, and they were all great."
He also took time to explain to Yeas & Nays the nuances of wussery. "Understand, none of us are 100 percent wusses or nonwusses," Rendell said. Some favorite nonwusses include Hillary Clinton (whom Rendell would love to see run in 2016), and, perhaps an unexpected pick for the Democrat, Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., whom Rendell singled out as the leastwussy member of Congress.
"It'll surprise people because we don't agree on much," he said. "Tom was on Simpson-Bowles, voted for Simpson-Bowles -- even though it meant raising revenue. And when Grover Norquist said, 'Those are tax increases and you signed a pledge,' he told Grover Norquist to pound sand."
Norquist drew further ire from Rendell. "No one voted for him," he said.
Rendell also let Yeas & Nays in on a little story of his own nonwussiness. Despite a history of public stunts (jumping into the water on opening day of the Philadelphia pool season, etc.), Rendell was only willing to go so far to embarrass himself, and he drew the line at Mickey Mouse ears.
Disney had offered the city the use of actors and actresses at no charge for a festival, on one condition: that Mayor Rendell would pose with Mickey Mouse. He refused.
"The previous mayor had posed with Mickey," Rendell said. "He wore the ears, the Mickey Mouse ears. Looked like a complete smacker."
His staff tried to persuade him, but Rendell wouldn't budge. After much cajoling, he broke. "I said, 'All right!' " he said. "'I'll do the effing mouse!' "
Rendell posed in a photo with Mickey. He did not, however, wear mouse ears.