Not sure why that joke stuck in my head this morning as I was reading Rich Lord, but for some reason "Luke's in for some bad sledding." kept bouncing back and forth inside my rapidly balding cranium. He begins:
We all know the details by now. The P-G editorial board summed it up this way:
Armed with 96 percent of the Democratic primary vote, Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl comes to work today fortified by that strong showing at the polls.
But stripped of three council allies and facing an ambitious new controller, the mayor faces more uncertainty than at any time since his Sept. 1 ascent to office.
The winds of change blew through Pittsburgh City Council on election night and, with any luck, will help clear the air in city government. Three incumbents -- one under indictment and the other two backed by the party leadership -- were denied the Democratic nomination and will leave office at the end of the year.And Lord quotes Peduto using that "Perfect storm" phrase again. ("Winds of change" "perfect storm" "bad sledding" - it's certainly raining weather metaphors today, isn't it?)
Anyway, Peduto goes on to describe the bad sledding facing Mayor Luke:
Mr. Peduto argued that the results represent "the transformation of Democratic politics" by a new infrastructure of progressive groups, campaign workers and candidates. Two of the ousted incumbents were endorsed by the Democratic Committee and the Allegheny County Labor Council, suggesting traditional power bases can't guarantee victory.And Luke is no where but sitting on the traditional power base. Lord continues:
That's because a council that -- with the exception of Mr. Peduto -- has been mayor-friendly will get three independent voices. Mr. Kraus, particularly, has no debt to Mr. Ravenstahl, since mayoral pal and Redd Up Campaign Manager Kevin Quigley was campaigning for Mr. Koch on Tuesday.On the other side of the Allegheny River, Jeremy Boren and Mike Wereschagin have a somewhat harsher, less diplomatically-put view:
Democratic machine? What Democratic machine? Boren and Wereschagin get a choice nugget:
Voters tossed a wrench into the city's Democratic machine Tuesday, rejecting three City Council incumbents, including two endorsed by the party committee.
"Not only did you change a third of council, but you had challengers win in three of the four races," said Moe Coleman, director emeritus of University of Pittsburgh's Institute of Politics and aide to then Pittsburgh Mayor Joseph Barr in the 1960s.
"I don't ever remember this happening before."
Frazier is quoted somewhat later:
Bodack and Koch were the Democratic Party's endorsed candidates. Their loss shows the party apparatus needs to change its endorsement process or risk losing relevance, said Allegheny County Councilwoman Brenda Frazier. The Stanton Heights Democrat has won three elections without the party's backing.
"The old way of doing things certainly isn't working," said Frazier, 66, whose district stretches from the South Side to the North Side.
As more candidates win without the party's backing, Frazier said, others will begin asking, "What good is it?"If nothing else (and we know there was much more), that's possibly the most important long-term victory of the 15th. The old party aparatus suffered a shock.
It's no longer business as usual.
Little darling, I feel that ice is slowly melting...