Timing of separation aids legacy

In announcing they were separating after four decades of marriage, former Gov. Ed and federal judge Marjorie Rendell asked friends via email that people respect their privacy. They didn’t get much, though, since the story went national after the Daily News ran with it before dinner. The question lingering a day later is, “Why now?” after years of wandering-eye innuendo.

Terry Madonna, director of Franklin & Marshall University’s Center for Politics & Public Affairs, has conducted polls on Rendell’s mayoral and gubernatorial campaigns. He doesn’t think separation would have impacted his chances in any of them “barring some overt scandal.” Not announcing it earlier helped Rendell pursue a lame-duck agenda and secure numerous private-sector jobs.

“It would have been an impediment to governing, if nothing else but a distraction. It’s only when they use state dollars or resources to hide or pay for it that politicians have a problem,” Madonna said yesterday. “It has everything to do with not wanting to go out of office under that kind of cloud.”

Lisa DePaulo, who wrote a 1994 Philadelphia Magazine story in which Rendell made salacious comments to her, added, “The rumors never hurt his career, though you can speculate whether he might have gotten a cabinet position. In Philly, it was always, ‘He might be a hound, but he’s our hound.’”