Over at The Clog, Isaiah Thompson writes that Mayor Nutter won’t really shut down the city and lay off all those cops and firefighters if Harrisburg doesn’t come through on the city’s budget package. It’s a bluff, and everybody knows it:
But there are two problems with the mass bluff – if, of course, that’s what it is.
For one thing, not everyone gets it. And the police officers and librarians and such watching this drama unfold probably aren’t making popcorn for the show: I imagine they’re scared.
For another, it paints the situation as a false either/or situation: either Harrisburg passes our plan or its fiscal doomsday.
There’s a third problem for Nutter, actually, and it’s a huge one for him. What if Harrisburg calls the bluff? After all, it’s getting pretty late in the day for legislators to sign off on the budget package. If they don’t meet Nutter’s deadline, two things can happen:
• Nutter goes ahead with the shutdown and the layoffs, potentially burning himself into the pages of Philly history as the most-unpopular mayor ever. And that would be saying something wouldn’t it?
• Nutter admits he was bluffing, keeps the libraries open and the cops on the job — and immediately loses all credibility forever.
It’s no exaggeration to say that Nutter has put his entire mayorality on the line here. He’s in the corner. The only way he succeeds and lives to fight another day — even with some diminished support — is if Harrisburg approves the city’s budget package, oh, yesterday.
UPDATE: Well, if it’s a bluff, maybe it worked.