Monday, October 29, 2007

The debate and the endorsement ...

My Sister-in-Law, Janet, is in town from Texas, visiting my Mother-in-Law. Janet is a nurse who works for the Texas department of …well, whoever regulates nursing homes. She drives around the state looking at nursing homes and investigating complaints. So she is reasonably well educated and intelligent. She is a democrat (she grew up in the suburbs of Pittsburgh), but she has no dog in the hunt for the current Mayor’s race. She watched part of yesterday’s debate because it was on. I told her a little about the Mayor and DeSantis ahead of time, so she might have been predisposed towards DeSantis. But as she watched little bits, parts of the three minutes the candidates got to talk, she expressed some inclination towards the Mayor (sounds like he has his “feet on the ground”) and disinclination towards DeSantis (using "double-talk"). Remember that Janet has no stake in this and comes (mostly) clean to this viewpoint. In some respects, I would take her viewpoint as representing that of “Joe Voter”, average person, even if she is a bit more educated than an average person.

I think most of us have already made up our minds, but I probably shouldn’t. I think statistics probably say that we make up our minds in the last week or couple of weeks before the election. I assume people have noticed, through the year, headlines and news teasers that indicate the Mayor has been involved in some shenanigans. I assume the people who watch the debate were probably more informed and had likely already made up their minds, thank god, since Desantis, in my opinion, did worse yesterday than in the first televised debate. Of course, I was watching in a room full of chattering women, who complained about the TV being on. But he didn’t mention his micro loan program that I heard, nor his tax abatement for new small businesses, the things he is excited about.

I called the PG endorsement (of DeSantis for Mayor) the kiss of death, which is probably unfair. The Mayor himself called it not unexpected, considering where the paper has been going the last few months. Yes, but the Mayor refuses to see how much of this he has brought on himself. From the start, from his denials about the Heinz Field incident and his actions in the McNeilly affair, the Mayor has tried to keep information away from the press. No one should be surprised if the press starts to look harder. Some of the incidents may have been overblown, as the Mayor puts it. But if they were, it is more the Mayor’s fault for trying to conceal events, time and time again.

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