Tuesday, March 20, 2007

How much spin is left in the Mayor

Well, I tell you what, I’d rather be putting this into a comment than a post, because I think more people might see my comments on *other people’s blogs* …

So the Mayor has been caught in a lie *again* and once again the MSM is carrying it, perhaps a bit more aggressively. If the MSM keeps it up, the Mayor’s campaign may be fairly damaged by this.

The Mayor is in a fairly interesting position. He got national attention last year taking over Pittsburgh, going on Letterman and getting national write ups. He is clearly a photogenic young man, and although to me he sounds a bit like a kid when he speaks, this seems to be part of his charm. The story on CBS Sunday morning didn’t hurt. Then there is the Penguins story; they were going to leave and all looked dark, then suddenly we were all pulled back from the brink. Between Rendell, Onorato and Ravenstahl, Ravenstahl has clearly benefited the most because Rendell is not running for anything and Onorato is uncontested. Arguably Ravenstahl contributed the least of the three.

So it is no surprise that the local democratic council bestowed their blessing on Ravenstahl, he is our media star, practically a tourist destination. No surprise that Ron Burkle pulled him aside and invited him to New York. I don’t know Burkle, but if he is a FOB (Friend of Bill) he probably has some pull.

By the way, some people have suggested this trip was a violation of ethics. C’mon, get real. The Mayor, this Mayor, is on a different plane (no pun intended). He is basking in the glow of popularity and generating buzz. How could he refuse? I mean, he’s not like that stick in the mud Onorato. Hmm. Back to that in minute.

The thing is, this is a 27 year old politician Mayor. Now there are different kinds of politicians. There are those who play the wonk, like Peduto seems to be (like Adlai Stevenson played an “egghead”, blasted for being a phony by the Kennedy’s, according to Beschloss)(what?). Then there are the campaigners, which is what Ravenstahl seems to be, charming and pretty intelligent, probably enjoys helping people, but also in it to win. Mostly (I suspect) in it to win.

The other thing is, he’s 27. Young enough not to have learned when *not* to be combative. Young enough to think that people care more about the bad thing you do than they do about whether you own up to it. Consider that people believe that Clinton lied, and many think that Bush has lied. Clinton (eventually) owned up and apologized, and even the Republican senate couldn’t quite get rid of him. And he finished the second term with pretty good poll numbers. Much better than Bush’s number right now, the Bush who can’t admit he’s made mistakes.

And Ravenstahl has made mistakes, lying about Heinz field, lying about the New York trip, letting Dennis Regan make bad calls for him, etc. Then there are potential ethical violations. Cost recovery (the lack of) may be a mistake, although the voters probably won't care. Still, as these mistakes begin to pile up, I wonder what the democrats are going to do? They have this novelty figure, but if it turns out he can’t figure out how to behave with the press, can they afford to keep backing him?

I wonder about Dan Onorato. Here he is, a rising star, managing to make the right friends in the party, championing “right sizing” the Port Authority yet escaping any accusation of selling out the county. He’s weathered the assessments mess so far (probably because even expensive property in Pittsburgh would be considered a steal anywhere else). Dan’s worked pretty hard to get where he is, but he is not getting any national press. Suddenly here’s this kid, and everybody is paying attention to him. And what does this kid do with this incredible gift from heaven? He’s risking throwing it all away because he doesn’t know when to tell the truth.

Onorato must be beside himself, Rendell too. When do they start to distance themselves?

If the MSM stays with it, if tough questions get asked in the debates (if there is/are debate(s)), this might be a turning point. Tough questions might get asked too, because reporters have memories, and remember that Luke stonewalled them on the Heinz field thing for months. Or maybe the blogs are too incestuous and the voters still like the spiky hair.

No comments: