More than 3,000 people attended the viewing and funeral for slain FBI agent Barry Bush in Pottstown Thursday. The mourners included U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III, New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine, former NYC Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik and several current U.S. Attorneys.
Conspicuously absent was Pennsylvania Gov. Edward G. Rendell.
Corzine paid his respects to the Bush family in the morning before he returned to New Jersey, where he was involved in a serious car crash late Thursday. Corzine made the two-hour trip to Pottstown because Bush was a part of the Newark office of the FBI and was killed while staking out bank robberies in Hunterdon County, N.J.
Bush was a lifelong resident of Pennsylvania, a native and former police officer in Pottstown and a longtime resident of the Easton area.
Although the Pennsylvania State Police (along with local police departments from across the state) were represented at the funeral, Rendell's absence was an embarrassment for Pennsylvania.
Rendell has taken a taxpayer-funded plane to fly to political events across the state in the past. He's also driven hundreds of miles to attend fund-raisers for Democrats.
Someone suggested Rendell could have sent Lt. Gov. Catherine Baker Knoll to the funeral in his place, but judging from the odd behavior of the geriatric lieutenant governor at other funerals, it's just as well that she didn't attend the Bush funeral.
But Rendell is another story. He's been known to rearrange his schedule to cut ribbons at the grand openings of restaurants. He attends county fairs and baseball games and all Eagles home games. When he wants to be somewhere, his schedule suddenly opens up.
There was nothing more important for Rendell to do Thursday than represent the state at Bush's funeral.
It was another black eye for the state at a time when the nation's eyes were on Pennsylvania.