Sunday, February 18, 2007

The Emporer Is Not Exactly Wearing a Tuxedo

Upon our first reading, Sunday's offering by the P-G's Rich Lord stopped us cold in our tracks. A second and third reading yielded nothing remarkable. So we read it a fourth and fifth time, trying to recapture our Beginner's Mind.

The article focused on the Mayor's penchant for featuring himself on billboards, city mailings, and the city website. Old news on the 'sphere, of course.

Jerry Shuster, Pitt professor, framed the analysis thusly:

He's in a very unique position ... He does have all of the perks of an incumbent, and runs like one. The only deficiency here is, by the time the election comes, he probably will not have had time to satisfy some of his critics with regard to his ability to make hard decisions.

Over the Mayor's objections, Lord insists that his prominence on the website is unusual when compared to other cities. He allows City Democratic Committee Chair Barbara Ernsberger to posit that the race to win the endorsement is going to be a close one. And he selects this decidedly uneven quote from Ravenstahl to wrap a bow on his piece:

Certainly, somebody as young and fresh as I am, I think has an opportunity to show [leadership] and be a leader ... I believe I'm a good mayor, and the more chances and the longer tenure I have to show that, the more successful I'm going to be.

In summary, the Luke Ravenstahl of the blurghosphere -- unsteady, vapid, and and a little egocentric -- actually made an appearance in the mainstream media -- in the very central stream, in fact. It was a jarring realization.

The Comet is reminded of a late January interview with KDKA's Jon Delano, in which the mayor is asked the perfunctory softball, "Why Luke Ravenstahl? What do you want voters to think about the Ravenstahl administration when they go to the polls?" Ravenstahl responded thusly ...

Luke Ravenstahl, in my opinion, is a man who is working for the people, who has come into this situation listening to the people, and doing the people's work. That's the kind of person I've always been. That's why I got involved in public service -- following in the footsteps of my father, and my grandfather -- is to simply help people. Nothing satisfies me more than helping people. Obviously, there's a lot that goes along with it that doesn't involve that, but that's at the root of me. That's the root of why I like to do what I do -- and interacting with people on a daily basis is really the most exciting thing for me. And I think people in Pittsburgh can relate to me; they understand me. I'm genuine, I'm honest, I'm upfront, and I'm optimistic about our future.

We are not saying this particular Rich Lord piece in Sunday's P-G is the turning point in the election. We are saying that with 85 days left until the primary election, the above just ain't gonna cut it anymore.


  1. "mainstreamiest"? Stop making up words, or at least notify the Oxford English Dictionary whenever you do!

    I rather like Mr. Lord's penultimate parargraph, where he notes, "Similarly, Mr. Ravenstahl could face public wrath if arena talks with the Penguins collapse or some fiscal scandal erupts."

    Perhaps Mr. Lord's been reading the musings of a certain dead admrial.

  2. Editorial notes:

    1) I made that edit while the Adm. was typing his comment, though I defend "mainstreamiest" as a perfectly cromulent word.

    2) Posting will be spotty in the coming days due to a death in the family.

    3) Don't forget about Civic Duty. The anonymity of bloggers in attendance will go unprobed and be respected.

  3. That's how we like our mayors ... young and fresh. Sounds like a testimonial from the gay love story "The Mayor and the Cop."
    Is he seriously asking for a longer tenure to prove to us he can become a good mayor? Hmmmm ....

  4. Not to argue semantics, but I always saw that to be the nature of every election: a candidate asking the people for X amount of time more than said candidate has at the moment to show they are a good (insert office title here). Honestly, isn't that what Peduto's asking for - two years more than he has right now to try and prove to us he can be a good mayor?

    Also, there's nothing wrong with "mainstreamiest". It embiggens the vocabulary of us all.