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.

3 Comments so far

  1. Maria (unregistered) on August 28th, 2007 @ 4:12 pm

    >>>>So, here is your choice: an experienced and incompetent Republican or an inexperienced and incompetent Democrat.

    But as you mention at the end of your post, Luke has a HUGE problems with ethics and honesty, so the choice maybe should have been phrased:

    So, here is your choice: an experienced and incompetent Republican or an inexperienced, incompetent, ethically-challenged liar of a Democrat.


  2. Schultz (unregistered) on August 28th, 2007 @ 11:07 pm

    Still not sure how you can label Mark DeSantis “incompetent” just because he hasn’t made the campaign his fulltime job thus far. His campaign started late – so they have been scrambling to raise money. So now the money is coming in and I have heard that he plans to turn it on and campaign fulltime starting next week.

    As far as building and running organizations – DeSantis is a CEO of a southside startup and a board memeber and advisor to a number of local organizations. I don’t understand how you can say DeSantis has no aptitude for building and running organizations just because his campaign team has been slow to get out of the gate.


  3. Ed Heath (unregistered) on August 30th, 2007 @ 12:35 pm

    TV ads actually could swing the race, in my opinion, but only if they were epic TV ads. Ravenstahl in handcuffs, either in official or amateur custody would probably work. I’d like to think that Mark DeSantis could find the right combination of words to swing people to his side, but I don’t think there is time to get people to relinquish their automatic assumptions about republicans. John Mcintire is slinging innuendo and rumor on his blog, which is only significant because he did manage to break a story about the Mayor once. Maybe he’ll succeed again.



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