"He should have pulled his votes together. But he couldn't. And that says something."
Yes. Undoubtedly. Indubitably. But without explanation, that's really just a shot. What is it exactly?
"Bill believes that the whole city of Pittsburgh is pretty much like his district. It isn't," Payne said. "It's mostly working-class people, who are doing their work and raising their kids. The majority of people don't have it as good as the people in his district." (Trib, Jeremy Boren)
That's -- that's just not it. If someone would start identifying positions Peduto has taken that benefit the upper crust to the detriment of working-class, child-rearing and God-fearing yinzers, we could all entertain such an argument. Consider this an open thread, please. But I think that's a hollow argument which exploits ignorance and maybe a little prejudice. An effective one at times, to be sure, so maybe it bears thinking about anyway, but it's not "the core".
"Legitimate objections are one thing, but if Bill is saying 'night' simply because Luke is saying 'day,' people are going to stop listening," said Jim Burn, chairman of the Allegheny County Democratic Committee, who stressed he has always gotten along with Peduto. (ibid)
That's only a wee bit warmer. I don't recall Peduto having opposed a worthwhile mayoral initiative for its own sake -- indeed it's usually Peduto launching one crusade after another and the mayor opposing those. When Ravenstahl has put something laudable together, usually around bike paths or green lighting or the such, Peduto has been on board. Again, this is an open thread, please use it.
But what Burn said does suggest the difficult position Peduto has staked out. He's not just a rival of Ravenstahl. He is, by his own words frequently enough, a foe of "the machine". He's an opponent of "the way business is done in this city." He has that picture of the tanks in the street in Tianenmen Square up prominently in his office. He has compared administration maneuvering to North Korea on more than one occasion.
He's a True Believer -- which is great if you're also one, but it's not great at all for the game of politics.
That seemed timed to react to the Trib article. It's exactly why the "progressive" base, such as it is, will not abandon him -- probably not ever, no matter how sound the practical argument. He carries that dog-whistle. He's the "It" girl. Anyone else who wants to take their shot will have to do so either with his blessing, or over his cold dead body.
Which means that either A) somebody needs to emerge who carries a louder, better dog-whistle, or B) he needs to fall into less of the pitfalls of a True Believer. If Option A happens, we'll know it, so let's talk about Option B:
1. Bill -- they say that behind closed doors, or even only around corners, you are full of yourself. And I can believe it! What's with this, "Give Up The Crown To Save The Kingdom" claptrap? Did that need to be said? Here you go: "I would have liked to have been picked, but Council President Harris is going to do a great job and I'm proud to have voted for her." How hard was that? There have been many examples of this -- and you're beyond the point of anyone needing to be reminded of your leadership. It's like, why would anyone want to go out of their way to pump your balloon? Because they agree with you on principle? Most people don't have principles, Bill, at least not so much that it's worth making look good someone with whom they're not terrific friends. Which leads me to...
2. Bill -- Skilled politicians don their brightest shit-eating grin and embrace people they can't stand, or at least are sorely upset with. That way, the schnooks feel like they can still do business with you, that you can always be of use to them. So what's with the cold, silent treatment for young Councilman Lavelle? Yeah, I know ... I know ... I know. Still, think like Caesar would have thought, or like Mayor O'Connor. The more you hate a guy, the bigger and more effusive the greeting, back-slapping and bear-hugging. People appreciate when you leave it on the field, it's a magnetic quality. In fact, next time you see Councilman Dowd, I want you to greet him like he's your son and he just got back from fighting heroically in World War III.
(PSSST -- that goes for the rest of you too! In fact, that's what I really wanted to write this post about. When you tell a politician, "You've betrayed me, I hate you now, you've lost my vote," then they only think to themselves,"Well, that's one less person / constituency to worry about -- ever. I'm surely better off!" Whereas, when you tell a politician, "You've really saddened me, I hope this doesn't compromise your support for [issue]," then they think to themselves, "Well now maybe I've got to balance this out, get these kinds of people jazzed up about me again." You can always save your heavy snark ammo for election-time, when it's more fun.)
3. Bill --- and I hope this doesn't undercut what I wrote way up above -- I think you're still suffering from Pittsburgh First / Isle of Capri-itis. Remember that? Maybe there is a kernel of truth to what Tonya Payne said, even if that can't be how she meant it (since she was also a big Isle of Capri booster). Irregardless (love that word!), maybe you should actively build more bridges among unarguably hard-luck neighborhoods. And not just where Pittsburgh United is involved, I mean! It could round out your profile. It could give you some ideas for initiatives that can not so readily be refused by some of your colleagues.
4. Bill -- if you really want to screw them -- I mean really, really frag them good -- consider lending your support to another Democrat for mayor. Maybe a deal can be worked out. Maybe there's a path for you to get into Congress somehow, or at least into the state legislature. That strikes me as a markedly not-horrible universe.
I'm just saying. There's no real reason to think about this for an eternity. Or to be precise, for three eternities. Though I'm sure we will. Or you all will.