I had the pleasure of meeting Pennsylvania Governor (and former Philadelphia Mayor) Ed Rendell about five years ago when I served as a presenter at the rescue parade at the Golden Retriever Club of America's annual specialty show. The show was held in Gettysburg, and the Governor's two Goldens, Mandy and Ginger, were scheduled to participate in the parade. The Governor himself paraded each dog individually around the ring, just like any other proud owner of a rescued dog, and he graciously accepted a rosette from me for each dog. I was especially impressed that he didn't try to work the room and declined the opportunity to make a speech. He seemed to really just want to show off his dogs.
Later, I interviewed Judge Marjorie Rendell, the wife of the Governor, about the Rendells' rescued Goldens for a magazine article I was writing. There was no mistaking the commitment of both Rendells to animal rescue.
So, with the signing of Michael Vick to the Philadelphia Eagles, I figured both Rendells would be horrified. Unfortunately, according to an article in today's Philadelphia Inquirer, the Governor is keeping any such horror strictly private. His statement:
"I don't have to take a backseat to anyone in my commitment to helping protect all animals, and specifically our dogs and puppies. I also believe strongly in the tenets of rehabilitation and redemption. I believe Michael Vick has paid a strong and just penalty for his horrific acts, but he has endured that penalty with dignity and grace. He seems to be genuinely remorseful."
Sorry, I don't buy it.
Snippets of Vick's 60 Minutes interview, to be broadcast tomorrow night on CBS, show him saying, "I didn't step up" -- as though his worst crime was to passively allow the dog-fighting to occur on his property. But the evidence shows that Vick was an active participant in the systematic cruelty he and his cronies perpetrated on the dogs in his kennels. "Didn't step up" doesn't nearly cover what he did. He still doesn't get it.
And, apparently, neither does Governor Rendell.