The dog wags back!

A sometimes funny, somtimes angry, but mostly progressive, blog on the politics and issues of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and America.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Between the Lines: Oh No! Mr. Bill!

In light of his recent passing, it may be too crass to compare the upstart Bill Peduto with Nobody’s Boy Pete Flaherty. For the time being a more appropriate analogy might be found in fiction: Don Quixote. The local punditry seems to believe that this race for Mayor is the biggest windmill Mr. Bill has tried to tilt. It is not.

The big windmill, the one at which he has tilted since he took office, is the city’s fiscal condition. Mr. Bill saw the city’s books after he took his chair and quickly proclaimed, “Oh no!” But Mr. Hand wouldn’t listen. Now Mr. Hand wants to punish Mr. Bill for taking tough votes and trying to address a crisis that (at first) no one cared about with measures to no one would care for. Mr. Bill is about to learn a basic and valuable political lesson: voting for unpopular measures makes you unpopular. Stay tuned as we find out if youthful enthusiasm for doing the right thing will defeat political opportunism.

Mr. Bill is so disliked by the local machine that he didn’t even get the endorsement for his own council seat. The Reformed Felons party gave it to some unknown named Harley Sands or something, whose long record of doing nothing in public service makes him the perfect choice for the new Know Nothings. Actually, not getting this endorsement is actually an endorsement, a badge of honor if you will. The Ds can carp about how the Rs ignored them in their hour of need until they finally sent the Five White Guys Named Moe to argue with city officials and to develop an austerity plan to punish city residents. Anyway – recent history aside, the Ds have been driving the local bus down the highway without any regard to the “Bridge Out Ahead” signs.

But they have a point. Does Mr. Bill have the political savvy to put together a winning coalition and to bridge the interests that dominate the city? So the question is, can Mr. Bill put together the wrong coalition to do the right thing?