Badass Ron Paul and a rookie move in Philadelphia City Council

    You know Ron Paul’s voice? Sincere but small, right?. Well, he got a big dog announcer to read the copy for his latest ad in Iowa and New Hampshire. In fact it’s called Big Dog.

    And then there’s this weird video from the staff of the Newt Hampshire campaign.

    If you’re interested in Philadelphia politics, the Inquirer’s Miriam Hill had an interesting bit of Kremlinology over the weekend. She noted that incoming City Council freshman Bobby Henon got primo office space on the fourth floor near the President’s office, a suite you’d expect to be awarded to a veteran member of some stature.

    City Council President-to-be Darryl Clarke told Hill that Henon got the nice digs because he asked, but it’s hard to not read it as a sign of status. Henon has for years been the political director of influential electricians’ union, whose leader John Dougherty actively supported Clarke’s bid for Council president.

    That said, a big office and physical proximity to power won’t make Henon a leader on Council. That has to be earned.

    It’s a 17-member body, and you get influence by working hard, hiring a talented staff, immersing yourself in issues that matter, and paying attention to your 16 mates on the Good Ship Council.

    The best example of this was John Street. He was elected in 1979 and assigned a crappy little office that wasn’t even on the same floor as Council chambers.

    But by the mid 80’s he was emerging as one of the most knowledgeable people on Council, a member would get into the gritty details of budgets, contracts and policy issues and ask tough questions at hearings.

    And over time he learned to control his temper and build alliances among members he’d tangled with in the past. When the city’s finances began to tank in 1988, Council members found Street could tell them what to do so that they didn’t look stupid.

    By the end of the decade he was Council’s unquestioned leader, on his way to two terms as Council president and two more as mayor.

    There are six new members coming into Council next week, and if any emerge as leaders, it won’t be because they got the cool offices.

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.