We were mulling over a post about how deathly quiet Team Peduto has been lately, when some news happened.
The Trib's Jeremy Boren (who it is safe to say is now out, proud and no worse for wear) revealed that Ravenstahl took a celebratory trip to New York with Penguins owner Ron Burkle. This caused him to miss several engagements in Pittsburgh, including a meeting with Hill District leaders. The mayor initially denied the trip, but now expresses regret for his handling of the media inquiries.
Which brings us to the loyal opposition.
When asked by KDKA's Fred Honsberger if either the trip or the lie indicates an integrity problem, Bill Peduto replied, "I'm not going to touch it." He said the whole story is "much ado about nothing in my campaign" and that "people have to come past these issues."
Maybe so, but will people get past these issues if he doesn't invite them through these issues?
Peduto readily admitted his frustration at how the media is succumbing to "Luke's PR machine," focusing on personality and style, rather than on issues of policy and finance. He complained that Ravenstahl is trying mimic his own policies, but no one notices and no one cares. He sounded resigned to finishing the race as a noble loser. He'd rather be right than Mayor.
Ravenstahl opted to celebrate the arena deal with billionaires, instead of discussing with community representatives how exactly that arena deal was going to work.
How hard can it be to use this to illustrate his opponent's top-down approach to community development?
Ravenstahl was less-than-totally-truthful in denying that trip to New York, and made the lawyerly excuse that at least he wasn't discussing Penguins business as asked. He was previously less-than-totally-truthful in denying the Heinz Field scuffle with police, and made the lawyerly excuse that at least he wasn't arrested as asked.
Would it be such a stretch to raise suspicions about his frankness and honesty when it comes to the city budget, or the feasibility of programs like the Pittsburgh Promise?
Bill Peduto's best weeks of the campaign were right after the revelations about the hancuffing at Heinz Field. He grew quieter in the weeks immediately preceeding the ACDC endorsement, and he totally fell off the radar in its wake.
We might conclude the media simply hasn't been covering him, but according to sources, Peduto is not exactly burning the midnight oil in terms of door knocking and O'Connor-style retail politics, either.
Somewhere in the city, Matt Preston must be either punching walls or popping Tums.
Bill Peduto must feel betrayed and disillusioned by his fellow Democratic Committee wonks. But if he fails to pull himself out of this funk, the race is going to slip away well before the debates -- which is exactly what Team Ravenstahl would prefer.
Instead of seething with frustration and disrespect for the local media -- and, by extension, local voters -- he should begin where they are now, and lead them by the hand. Which might mean his own hands will get dirty.