I went to last night's mayor's candidate debate and it answered a few questions and it raised a few questions.
First, I came away with the feeling that Bill Peduto was the man who progressives in Pittsburgh should be backing. Or: Ye shall know the true nature of a man by who he endorses. And when Peduto ran off a list of endorsements vs. Mike Lamb's, well, it was no contest. After all, Peduto backed Rendell and Mike Lamb backed pro life Democrat Bob Casey. I guess I can imagine who Lamb would also back in the upcoming US Senate race, where I have an objective mainstream media non staked-out position on the matter. (April Fools.) It also struck me that Peduto had the most interesting and artistic vision for the city and he probably wouldn't laugh out loud and have his yellow-shirted youth mafia beat me silly if I suggested that we take one of those vacant buildings downtown and have the Arts Festival year round...(with late hours to boot..)
Two, Bob O'Connor definitely struck me as your archetypal Machine Guy. I felt he had the worst moment of the night when he didn't give a straight answer as to elected vs. appointed school board members. Mike Lamb assumed he said elected (for the record I'm not sure what O'Connor said in his two minute response to the question), and then accused him of a flip-flop. Lamb was an attack dog all night by the way. However, O'Connor, aside from being the kind of politico you'd cast in the Sopranos, wins my award for most authentic Pittsburgher with his constant use of the word "dahntoun". Or to use it in a sentence--let's imagine Bob's "dahntoun" meeting with Big Tony and the other "labor leaders" on the shadowy side of the docks--"Here we Yinz are, dahntoun. Let me assures yinz that the esplanade/trolley money is going to come through...wit no money dahn!" (cue diabolical mob intrigue laughter and...end scene.)
Three, why are the black candidates running? I mean, I liked Louis "Hop" Kendrick, who I think had the best line of the night when he noted that if reindustrialization was easy Duquesne and the Mon Valley wouldn't be dead zones. But was he running out of a need to display a different message or is he running to draw the black vote away from Peduto? That would be the good machine democrat thing to do. It's not unlike the reason Carol Moseley Braun ran for president, to offer an establishment alternative to the nightmarish Al Sharpton is winning the democratic party nomination scenario. Braun's run was also a good machine democrat thing to do, which I kinda didn't mind. I think I might mind now.
The other black candidate, Greg Henderson, simply wasn't ready for prime time. Here's a hint for future debate performances, when you're losing your train of thought: Don't tell the moderator that you're losing your train of thought.
Four, where was the Green candidate for Mayor? I would love for the Greens to run locally. It's not like you're going to get me involved in a war for oil--war with Cleveland more likely--at the local level. Actually, if you were really looking to make a statement for the black community, "Hop", why not run on the Green ticket for mayor? You could even use it as a bargaining position for endorsement later on. I really do think the black community needs a second party, I just don't think it should be the Republican Party--the most evil party in the known dimensions. The Green Party would make more sense.
Five, I actually thought the Republican Party candidate Joe Weinroth didn't come off so bad. He made sense at times. I don't think I detected horns or the faint hint of sulfur. Then I remembered that the Republican Party cheated the popular will in not just one, but two national elections; that it's the Republican Party who shows the world a face just as theocratic and murderous as Osama Bin Laden's; that it's the Republican Party that will more than likely reinstate the draft to fight its oil wars for profit; and that it's very likely that the Republican Party will lead us into an exchange of wmds when they make the classic bully's mistake and overreach. So, it's little things like that which will probably make me not endorse Joe Weinroth. On second thought, I may have seen some horns. And I may have seen him being advised by this man, barely perceptible as he seemed to be phasing in and out of our plane of existence. The Dark Side is powerful...this is officially parody, of a public figure, by the way.