329 Comments

I want you to know that I heard you lamenting the lack of this article’s readership so I swung by to help

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I did too! We want JVL to know we appreciate him!

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Sigh - came here after being admonished on the Secret Pod for not giving this fine (if by fine you mean depression inducing) piece of writing its due. I guess on one hand I can be encouraged that Frank Rizzo was ultimately defeated. Good people with smarter, kinder hearts prevailed. (or Frank had his own cheeseburger from heaven incident - either way...). Or I can be saddened that even as the Frank Rizzo supporters have died off, they appear to be being replaced by a newer, more virulent strain of hate filled racists. I had thought that maybe we just need to keep this thing on the rails until the actuarial tables sort it out - but - again - as the Frank Rizzo acolytes die off, in marches a new set of Trump acolytes. And that likely means there will be another set after this. So awesome.

Side note - I had no idea the Jerky Boys character was a work of non-fiction. And also find it sad that not as many people as I think should get my "I was very hurt at work today", or "Sue everybody" jokes. Such a disappointment.

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As a fellow Philadelphian (but an expatriate of many years), I completely get this article. Rizzo was despicable, but he fully got white Philadelphia and its self-segregating neighborhoods. Back then, many of us had wished it were otherwise, but he knew better. Just as now, we wish it were otherwise. Yet another despicable individual has got a better understanding of what America is today than many of us like to admit..

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Core reading material. This psychological research on authoritarian personalities done over 40 years - and used by John Dean in his book “authoritarian nightmare” will crack the MAGA nut wide apart for you. https://theauthoritarians.org/

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JVL, this is very astute and compelling. I have always believed that the 1987 mayoral election (I moved to Philly in 1985) was the worst in the history of the country. I mean, the worst election choices ever. On the one hand, Rizzo who as JVL characterizes, was fascistic at best. On the other hand, the incumbent who dropped a bomb on residents of his own city and burned down several blocks. Sort of the moral equivalent of invading the wrong country after your country had been attacked. Trump has the worst characteristics of both Goode and Rizzo…Good one JVL!

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This is a top-5 all time Triad piece. Instructive, disturbing example of how populism is a larger part of our political DNA than most of us consciously recognize. Thank you JVL!

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"He failed. But only because people opposed him and worked over the course of 20 years—20 years—to keep him away from power." >sigh< History repeats.

It will take at least that long to get rid of Trump and tamp down his political philosophy (it will never go away completely). But Americans of good faith will prevail, as we have since the founding of this experiment in republican democracy and we will continue to perfect the ideas enumerated in the Declaration of Independence.

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As a left coaster all I knew about Frank Rizzo I learned from The Jerky Boys. An excellent history update.

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I was a college student in Pennsylvania during the last four years of Frank Rizzo's administration and remember him well. He was corruption personified. The bullying, racism and overall crassness of the man were his calling cards. His resemblance to Donald Trump is spot on. Thanks for the great work.

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Creepy on so many levels.

“It didn’t matter how badly things went in Philadelphia under Rizzo. His people wanted him because of his hatred and corruption and the chaos that followed him.”

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JVL, I agree that this is one of your best!! Keep doing the deep dives!

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Just heard that JVL wasn’t getting a lot of love for this article. I never post but wanted to say how amazing I found this piece. I agree that it is one of his best. And that is saying something given the consistently brilliant writing (and podcasting) he creates.

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Agree very much with this.

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According to JVL I am an outlier because I LOVED this article. I knew nothing of this man. What a wild story. It’s happened before and we survived. Thanks for all you do!!

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Grew up in Philly. Born in 1966. (Unlike Sarah I knew exactly who he was)

JVL nailed it.

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Yes, apt. People will vote tribe over their other interests and well being.

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You told Sarah that this piece got little love. I loved it and shared to my Facebook group.

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