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.