Oh, so this is when we start the mayoral race
The DeSantis campaign has replaced the photo I posted yesterday with a larger version of the one you see here. Is it because I made fun of the old one? I doubt it, as this one is just as uninspiring. Perhaps even more so before I cropped it, since it makes very clear that no one but reporters showed up.
The result is that the Post-Gazette is reporting today that the mayoral race is finally “starting to warm up.” It is natural that they would say so. It is in the interest of reporters who cover politics to pretend that a race is, at the least, “warm.” It is not really the case here.
There are only two months left in this race, and the DeSantis campaign has appeared to behave in an astonishingly unprofessional manner, especially as they intend to raise $750,000, according to both the P-G and the Trib, which is a little more circumspect about horse-race-handicapping metaphors. As the campaign has made no evident effort to contact voters, recruit volunteers, or obtain any earned media apart from piling on the mayor and making counter-productive announcements about how Mark will be getting his policy proposals from a bunch of people who don’t live in the city. If they don’t have any interest in doing the things that a campaign needs to do to win, it is easy to wonder what, exactly, they plan to do with all that money.
If they actually raise that money, my guess is they intend to buy a bunch of television ads. After all, TV is exciting, sexy, and gets lots of attention from glamorous people, or at least the Pittsburgh version of glamorous people (Sonni Abatta). It is also totally useless for candidates who aren’t willing, or whose staffs aren’t willing, to do the actual work of campaigning.
Now it is too late. Pittsburgh is still a pretty big city, and you can only talk to so many people in a day. Luke Ravenstahl, an inexperienced and unwise frat-boy, should have been low-hanging fruit after his frequent mistakes and his own lazy campaigning, which has been fed by an oversized sense of entitlement and a conviction that Democrats in Pittsburgh can’t lose. Now, no matter how much money DeSantis raises, he has already lost.
This is just as well, I suppose. If Mark DeSanits is unable to put together a competent political team, then he is unlikely to put together a competent governing team.
On the other hand, and speaking of incompetent governing, Luke Ravenstahl, seen here in another misguided effort to look like Jack Kennedy, “isn’t worried” about having fired the directors of all city departments without having found replacements. You see, he didn’t quite fire them:
Ravenstahl said he hasn’t “formally accepted” the directors’ resignation letters, but he has kept them in his desk. He said he expects to accept some of the letters after his staff completes a national search for potential replacements.
The mayor’s comments conflict with a June 14 news release about the shakeup, which said the 11 directors had been “asked to serve the city in an acting capacity” while their job performances are evaluated.
Pittsburgh’s Home Rule Charter requires the mayor to obtain City Council’s approval for new directors or acting directors who serve longer than 90 days. The rule is one of the legislative checks City Council has on the mayor’s office; however, the charter doesn’t define a penalty for missing the 90-day deadline.
Fire everyone for no particular reason, then keep them on and pretend you never fired them, while saying that you also intend to get rid of them whenever you get around to it. Now that is what I call a plan for building a team that is motivated and confident.
So, here is your choice: an experienced and incompetent Republican or an inexperienced and incompetent Democrat. I am reminded of a baseball anecdote that I am sure is attributed to some very famous baseball manager who I don’t know anything about. If you have two prospects who both run from home to first in the same time, one with perfect form and the other with poor form, which do you choose?
You choose the guy who you can coach into better form.
That means resigning ourselves to the fact that Mark DeSantis, while he has the experience, has demonstrated that he has no aptitude for building and running an organization that works. It also means spending the next two years browbeating city council into riding Ravenstahl’s ass like Jesus into Jerusalem until he learns that getting away with what you want to do is not the same as behaving ethically, that cruel and arbitrary demonstrations of authority do not inspire respect or loyalty, and that lying to reporters is always a sucker’s game.