Wouldn't that be nice? Wouldn't that be totally fabulous?
That's a government I could seriously get into -- compassionate and process-oriented, radical and professional, earnest and innovative. United behind a consensus (brought about by circumstance, perhaps) that it's time to give politics a rest when it comes to operating the city.
It is remarkable how well Ms. Robinson and Mr. Dowd play into one another's strengths and weaknesses. I'm not sure a Hollywood director or a political boss could have scripted a better twosome.
Dowd could still stand to reassure Pittsburghers of modest means, African-Americans, and voters who appreciate straight and clear talk that he's intent on addressing their concerns and enacting profound reform. Robinson could still shore up perceptions that she is knowledgeable about all aspects of city government, and that she's prepared to run a vast and complex administration through very uncertain times.
Having them both present fills me with hope for Pittsburgh's future. If we can populate our government with folks like this, generally, we'd be okay -- or we could at least move on to newer and more interesting challenges.
Of course there is the issue of practicality.
Looking at this as coldly and as analytically as possible, headed in to the Community Safety Forum this evening I am already having trouble thinking of excuses not to vote for the Sergent. I can think of many multiple reasons to vote for Patrick Dowd, but on the other hand I can think of maybe a couple reasons not to as well.
Chief among these is pure gamesmanship. The African-American vote is owned by Luke Ravenstahl and is least likely of all to go to Dowd. The only way that changes is if Carmen Robinson experiences a surge in popularity and support, brought about by an event or two, by which the Iowa / Obama "It can really happen!" factor might kick in. My sense is the white progressive vote is more likely to get on board with Robinson, with a little assistance, than the disenchanted black vote migrate to Dowd.
It is true that I have already endorsed Patrick Dowd on his campaign website -- and I still do, I stand by every word. I think he'd make a thoroughly awesome mayor, despite what some stubbornly partisan, all-or-nothing progressives continue to murmur about him.
But that doesn't mean I can't also endorse Carmen Robinson as an excellent prospect for mayor -- in some ways she aligns with my agenda even more closely. And most importantly, it doesn't mean I've remotely made up my mind on who is the best bet. I expect that to be made at least a bit more clear in the near future.
I'm looking forward to it. Just thinking about Pittsburgh under the leadership of these folks is an enjoyable activity.