Wednesday, November 14, 2007

What I did the day after ...

I’ve been standing back from blogging some after the election (obviously). I had a sister-in-law in last weekend and a different sister-in-law in before that (Janet, who comments on the last debate I mentioned).

I did something relatively obnoxious the day after the election, which I suspect was not caught by my two or three regular readers (not counting the scores of undergrads looking for easy information on “Cognitive Dissonance” who hit here often). Early Returns, the PG’s online blog/gossip pages, had linked to some blogs after the elections, to take the temperature of the Burghosphere (or, as I like to put it, the Burghospree) regarding the election. I checked out the listings and saw one blog I didn’t recognize, with a decidedly pro-Luke type message. Now, that should of set off alarum bells in my head, or at least I should have let well enough alone since the election was (and is) over. But I went over to ”Say Whaaat”, a blog written by a young woman named “KT” who happens to work in HR somewhere, and is, for intents and purposes, apparently a perfectly nice person. She also happened to vote for Luke. In fairness, she wrote a post in July asking her readers who they thought she should vote for. Of course, in July Mark DeSantis had not started his campaign, would not start it until early September, would not release his fiscal plans for a couple of weeks after that, the bare minimum of detail about the Mayor’s 5 year fiscal projection would not be made public for a couple of weeks after that (with the projected deficits), etc etc. As far as I know, my blog might have been the only one to carp on the projected deficits out four years and beyond, and Bob Mayo is the only reporter who asked about it in a debate (a question the Mayor obfuscated, talking about how the ICA had approved his budget). Of course, the issue did get a paragraph or two in one story in the PG. The point being that KT would have had to have been particularly diligent to even catch any of that. Anyway, if you use the above link you will see I responded to KT’s post with a long comment, with a couple of admitted snarky bits in there. Her response to my comment was disappointing but hardly surprising; she ignored the long boring bits and snarked right back at my snarky comments. I did post back basically apologizing (after all, I was a guest on her blog), and she did much the same, along with a comment about agreeing to disagree, politics being what it is. By the way, in fairness to me, I didn’t expect Early Returns to link to such a non-political blog.

The day after the election Morton Coleman said “The campaign, which featured discussion of topics as divergent as ethics rules and pension funding, "was an educational process," Mr. Coleman said. "I don't think we've had that in a long time in a November mayoral campaign."”. That comment actually raises questions. One question is whether that education should have directed voters to one choice or another, and whether it did. But a more important question (to me) is how effective that education was, other than for people like Dr Coleman, in academia. KT’s comments lead me to believe that she really wasn’t familiar with the nuts and bolts of what the two candidates stood for.

Now, in my opinion, the Mayor did very little to define his specific plans for the future, choosing mostly to run on his one year record. But in a city where democrats outnumber republicans five to one and the democrat is the incumbent, he really didn’t need to do more. It was up to the challenger to make specific proposals and then hammer the incumbent to respond to the (challenger’s) proposals. In fairness, DeSantis did some of that, but obviously not five to one’s worth. For example, KT said she viewed the DeSantis website, yet she was not impressed. Perhaps that was because the main menu links took vistors to paragraphs of catch phrases, while the actual pages with content had to be chased through a news releases link. The main set of fiscal proposals, although still available, eventually was not directly accessible on the website.

Much (or at least some) has been made of Squirrel Hill and Shadyside’s turn out for DeSantis. These neighborhoods were/are described as more affluent, and thus (some say) more willing to vote republican. There is another feature of these neighborhoods, though; their proximity to Pitt and CMU. I think the educational nature of this election was successful to the extent that neighborhoods where people with advanced degrees are more likely to live (to be close to work) turned out for the challenger. But the DeSantis campaign failed to talk to the rest of the city. That is something candidates will have to look at in 2009, how to talk issues and facts in such a way that Squirrel Hill understands, but also so does Brookline.


Schultz said...

I don't think DeSantis and his campaign "failed to talk to the rest of the city."

That may be your opinion, but you weren't there when DeSantis visited the non-14th ward neighborhoods, like this meet-up event he had in Beechview.

So, maybe his ideas and what he was saying didn't resonate with the people in "the rest of the city" but I do not think that was the case. He lost people, or votes, on the residency issue, that is for sure, but in the end it was his party affiliation that did him in, not his message.

C. Briem said...

That may be your opinion

I think it goes without saying that Ed's comments on Ed's blog represent Ed's opinions.

you weren't there when

Does he have to have been omnipresent during the campaign to be allowed the right to express himself? I have not asked Sir Ed, but I bet he read your blog-entry on the Beechview meet-up at the time, or at least read other similar comments, and took it into account in his opinion.

In fact, Ed's comments are nearly identical to MD own summation of the campaign in todays city paper. MD's exact phrase is "The message we had didn't resonate, and I fault me... it was my inability to get the message out".

kT said...

"By the way, in fairness to me, I didn’t expect Early Returns to link to such a non-political blog."

You're telling me. I definitely didn't submit it to them. The bulk of my blog is about the Pirates, my band and the fact that I often accidentally fall down in public. It is certainly by no means a political blog, and I certainly wanted no attention for the entry that I wrote. I'm not claiming to know everything. I'm not claiming to be a political expert. All I'm claiming is that I've lived in Pittsburgh for 24 years and love this city dearly, and that when I have a chance to vote for local leaders, I'm going to vote for the candidate whose ideas seemed to best mesh with mine. Obviously, we don't all have the same ideas, and that's okay. That's a good thing. I probably would have argued back with you (and undoubtedly lost--as I expressed before, my area of expertise is the failure of the Pirates, not local politics) had you not included the all the admittedly snarky bits, but whatever. I should have known better than to post that blog anyway, politics are the surest way to rile people up. Oh, and Dave Matthews. I got a lot more angry comments from his fans than from Mark DeSantis supporters.

Schultz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
EdHeath said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
EdHeath said...

Chris Scultz pulled a response to Chris Briem, and I decided to pull my comment reposnding to all. KT and Chris Briem, thanks for your comments. I'm actually not unhappy that the debate about the election goes on. The five to one regiatration factor undoubtedly trumps all, but I believe within that there may be things worth looking at.

Schultz said...

I emailed both Chris and Ed directly rather than post my response here. I am sorry if my first comment above was "insulting."



Bram Reichbaum said...

"I'm not claiming to know everything. I'm not claiming to be a political expert."

Precisely why they picked you. They knew that by paying attention to politics closely, we "Burghosphere" bloggers became less real. They probably did a Blogger search for the terms Luke Ravenstahl and Mark DeSantis, and when on screen twelve when they finally found you, they probably soiled themselves over both your authenticity, and your confirmation with their own pre-conceived notions of what "real" voters are thinking.

(Which probably speaks well of their preconceived notions...)

If you follow the advice I left on your blog and stay focused on local politics, by the time the 2009 election rolls around I'm sure they'll be ignoring you along with the rest of us.