Saturday, March 24, 2007

more questions than answers

So I know we are all beating the dead horse furiously, but there are just things I don’t understand. Like I said in my last post, I don’t feel I ever knew what Bill was about in his candidacy for mayor. I’m told there were position papers in the ’05 run (I’m mixing up dates here, I think ’05 is right), but none this time. At the same time, Pittsburgh Guy covers bizarre efforts by Bill to influence ACDC members prior to the endorsement with mailings designed to look like official party documents. This is difficult to reconcile with Bill’s claim that he was withdrawing because he didn’t want to go negative. Anyway, much of the Burgosphere believes Bill wouldn’t have had to go negative, he could just have no commented that to death. I mean, since Bill was behind he had the freedom to simply run a clean campaign. But again, whither be the issues, where are the meaty position papers that would have indicated what you meant when you said you are the leader of a reform movement. Now, apparently Bill explained to Fred Honsberger that there were indications that people thought Bill was dissing the memory of Bob O’Connor by running against Luke. While the statement is interesting, it’s not like Bob reached up from his hospital bed and anointed Luke. Luke, of course, has tried to establish the connection, but I don’t think it would have gone unchallenged.

I don’t know, there are a bunch reasons for pulling out of a race, but nothing Bill has said has been convincing. Of course, this seems to encourage endless speculation around the parts of the Burgosphere I read. The thing is, as I try and step back and really take a look, I know some of the facts but not really enough to even try to explain what happened.

I also don’t know what is going to happen to the city. Luke surely seems like nothing so much as a Culkin. When he gets a bit older, he is not going to find hidden depths and emerge as a great director like Opie (to continue beating the actor analogy). Luke will turn out to have been one more hack politician all along, perhaps in the vein of Jim Motznik. A kid who likes to watch hockey. And the city will have lost its new star, and slide a bit further backwards.

Would an Onorato as governor pull Pittsburgh’s fat out of the fire? Will the immoderate spending of a Ravenstahl administration finally drive us into bankruptcy despite the presence of state overseers? I would say stay tuned, but what choice do we have?


Char said...

Each time Peduto released any details to any of his many plans and ideas, Luke would come along, scoop it up, change an adjective or two, and then put it out there as “his” plan. That Little Lukey was blatantly cheating off his neighbor’s paper during the mid-term exam didn’t seem to bother anyone too terribly much. Not the press, not the voters. In fact news articles kept using the phrase, “Peduto keeps complaining that ….”

Luke supporters I’d speak to on the street simply shrugged their shoulders and said that it was a good thing Peduto was so smart. That way Luke would have a great source of great ideas to refer to while he was “learning on the job”. And somehow “learning on the job” was totally okay with them. Because, you see, the spirit of Bob O’Connor was channeling its wishes for Pittsburgh through the person of Luke Ravenstahl. Or something weirdly close to that.

So the Peduto campaign was in a bizarrely odd position of either handing over to Luke good ideas complete with all the details worked out only to have the voters credit Luke. Or, they could stay quiet, say nothing, and have the campaign drag on with nothing of substance discussed. Hoping for the next Hooter Air incident.

Kind of a though chess board to be playing from, huh? I’m gonna give Bill the benefit that he chose the best thing … Maybe even the only thing that he could do.

EdHeath said...

Well, thanks for commenting, Char. I just recently noticed your comments, they have been, to my mind, fairly incisive. I will take the opportunity to say welcome to the Burgosphere, not because I have any standing, but because I might be the first or second to do so.

I assume that part of your comment was inspired by Brian O'Neill's column. O'Neill's breezy "who cares if Luke is stealing Bill's ideas, its good for the city" attitude seemed to ignore the possibility that Bill could take his ideas and go home (or even where the ideas would come from once the election was over).

Am I right in thinking you are suggesting that Bill was with holding ideas, the thing I was complaining about, because he didn't want Luke to steal all his ideas.

I gotta tell you, as I type this, Bill is talking on the KDKA's Sunday morning. Bill is compelling when he says he felt he couldn't win. I didn't quite catch why he said he didn't put out the papers, something about the frustration of having his ideas taken. He complained that in '05 the media didn't cover him. He is really thinking about an independent run.

Peduto really strikes me as a sort of John Kerry candidate, not absolutely compelling when I have heard him talk, but far better than the alternative. It is a petty and personal thing, but Bill's language usage is not 100%, but that wouldn't prevent me from voting for him. Also, I think his attitude of "Le reform movement, c'est moi" is perhaps accurate, but a bit annoying.

Let me say thought that a lot of people have a very high opinion of Bill, and the people who work for him. I take that at face value, and that would certainly be the reason I would vote for him for whatever he is running for.

So I still missed Bill's explanation of why the issue papers are not out there, and I am not sure if they are going to show up (as part of his think tank). The answers to these questions don't matter in the short run, but in the long run - this fall or in '09, we may want to know whether Bill is going to stay in another race. You read how the Admiral felt about these things, and his view might be representative of the views of a fair bit of Bill's natural base.

Char said...


Thank you for the welcome.

Yes, I’m saying I think Bill was withholding ideas. And yes, my comments were partly inspired by Brian O’Neill’s column. But mostly my comments and opinions have been formed because of my daily interaction with the general public. (I am a real estate agent) I get to hear what’s on the minds of a wide cross-section of the folks out there and I tell you … It’s been scary.

Early on (Dec-Jan, before Peduto officially announced) I was hearing the ridiculous sentiment that Luke was mayor because that is what Bob O’Connor wanted. See, Bob pulled strings, put the fix in, whatever, to insure that Luke was City Council President. The reason Bob did this was so that Luke would be mayor should anything happen to him. And if these were Bob’s “last wishes” … well of course they should be honored! “It’s what Bob would have wanted” is what I’ve heard from the very beginning.

The first time I came across this I was too stunned to respond. And then I heard it again. And again. From people who didn’t look particularly crazy at all. I tried the obvious, logical retorts … But I don’t need to tell you how pointless it is to try to debate either the irrational or the “last wishes” of Bob O’Connor fulfilled in the personage of Luke Ravenstahl.

Yea, Peduto was looking at bad poll numbers. But the final straw must have been he and his people came face to face with the ghost of Bob O’Connor just like I did each and every day. I dunno … How do you fight a ghost? I think the answer is you don’t. I think that’s the conclusion they came to.

Would Peduto pull out again in another race sometime in the future? I think Peduto will not jump in again until he’s certain Luke is finished channeling the spirit of Bob O’Connor.

EdHeath said...

Char, with a blog title like mine, I feel I should deal with perceptions and attitudes. I still have more questions, and think there is a bit more to Peduto’s behavior; but I think you have hit on a hugely important point. From watching Bill on Sunday, I think he is startled that people have not seen the Mayor for the 27 year old he is, but Bill sees the situation (I think) much as you do. He felt he was, as you put it, battled the ghost of O’Connor. That’s why there was literally a gleam in his eye when he talks about the Mayor having to put a budget out there. I don’t know that I agree that the ghost of O’Connor is reason to pull out, but I can understand it.

Somebody pointed out this might be the funniest Carbolic Smoke Ball commentary on the whole thing:

Anonymous said...

I used to live in Pittsburgh and came across this blog while trying to decide whether to move back. (I believe you were my prom date.) Just saying, "Hi" I am disappointed in many of the changes I saw to the

EdHeath said...

Well, I think mc might be the wrong initials for a prom date; I'm told I look like Emotive Harmony in Pittsburgh and Beyond.

I dunno, seems like kind of the same Pittsburgh to me, I remember the Flaherty days and the garbage trucks so badly in need of service there parking brakes would let go. Ah, the good ol' days.

Anonymous said...

Sorry if I mistook you for someone I played D & D with in '79...just wondered what happened to an old friend with a similar name. (mc was nickname not initials).

EdHeath said...

Yeah, mc (or Robin), that would be me (D&D in '79 ... er...). I finally enabled my email address on my profile if you want to send an email (I thought it was there all along).