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.