What Fresh Hell Is This?

October 20, 2007

Mayor Luke's Baby Pics Revealed! ...In His Campaign Mailer

Hey, gang! Did you receive your Luke Ravenstahl campaign brochure in the mail yesterday?

I did.

And, I must say WTF???

I'm a super voter. That means I've received tons of campaign lit over the years. Out of all the campaign lit to make its way into my mailbox or storm door Luke's mailer is a first -- the first time a candidate has not one, but two baby pics in it.

Let's review the whole thing, shall we?

First of all it's a glossy, color, double sided four-pager (8 pages of "content") and unlike most, it's saddle-stitched (stapled), in other words: an expensive production.

The outside cover has the now ubiquitous photo of Lukey with hands on hips (strangely dark, I must say) with the words: "Mayor Luke Ravenstahl A Pittsburgh Story" and there's an insert picture of what I'm assuming is Luke and his two brothers as small children decked out in football helmets and meant-to-be endearingly large football T-shirts (Nativity!) holding...a football.

When you open it up to the first two inside pages, two-thirds of it are Ravenstahl family pics: Luke with Mom and Dad and siblings, Luke with wife, Luke in graduation cap and gown (is it for high school or college? I don't know. I suppose a real reporter like a Mayo, Delano, Lord or Earl would investigate the red cap color and have a real reporter's answer, but being a blogger, I'll take a pass).

A full page is devoted to a sepia-toned baby/toddler pic of Lukey and his bros. Which one is Lukey? I don't know! Am I supposed to know his birth order? Did I miss that in Teen Beat magazine? I don't know!

But it is a cute picture and I suppose it's supposed to evoke some sort of warm, fuzzy feelings in me, especially as a woman (do cute baby pics work on guys?). I'm also guessing that it fills in for the pics of candidate's kids that often make there way into these types of lit (but they are not typically full-page).

Mostly however, when coupled with the copy on the page, I'm guessing it's supposed to evoke the warm, fuzzy feelings that Burghers have had in the past for Luke. Something for the "He's just a regular Burgher/Give the kid a chance/Great young hope" crowd.

You know, remind the folks why they liked the adorable little Opie in the first place before he sorely tested our patience and we now want to give the kid a spanking instead of one more chance.

The text simultaneously reminds us that Luke comes from a longtime Pittsburgh political family (father a judge and grandfather a state rep) while saying he's just like us all (He grew up here! A lifelong Pittsburgher! A familiar face on local school and sports teams!). Perhaps most tellingly, it lets us know that he and his wife are members of Holy Wisdom Parish. I mean, do we even know if DeSantis is a Catholic? (What kind of candidate doesn't tell us where he does or doesn't worship!? Commie bastard!)

The next two inside pages get down to the real business at hand and are titled "Mayor Luke Ravenstahl Answering Pittsburgh's Call."

They evoke the late Mayor Bob O'Connor's passing and a bolded, set-off paragraph proclaims:

And in one of the city's darkest hours, Luke answered Pittsburgh's call."
(Would that be when a tornado and flooding came to town and Lukey was hobnobbing at a Steeler's training? Hmmm...maybe not.)

OK. Can anyone name a single politician in town who wouldn't have answered "the call" to be mayor if it was handed to them on a silver platter? (OK, pols, don't trip over each other running to claim the title.)

There's pics of Luke hugging an older woman, skoolin' some old dude on fiscal policy (note the framed photo of Bob O'Connor looking on) and sitting with adorable minority children (one case where Ravenstahl actually managed to make a meeting with some of Pittburgh's African American community members).

The last two inside pages proclaim "Mayor Luke Ravenstahl Fresh Leadership for Pittsburgh's Future" and have snips of headlines like "Pittsburgh's Great Young Hope, CBS News" (I'm guessing that David Letterman, Tiger Woods and Sienna Miller declined to have their pictures used).

It is only until page six that any sort of actual policy is discussed.

Here, for example, Luke notes that he's put more police on the street. (It does not explain that he gamed the numbers by merging housing and city police to get around the mandate for 900 officers). It also says that Luke gave police "improved technology to do their jobs" -- that wouldn't be, say, a tricked out Homeland Security SUV that Luke uses for joyrides, would it -- and, how is that FOP endorsement of your opponent working for you? There's also a big photo of Lil Mayor Luke pouring over more reports.

The back page contains another beauty shot of the mayor with a quote that Lukey loves the city and needs our help.

Most interesting on this page is instead of the expected "Paid for by Friends of Luke Ravenstahl" or "Paid for by Ravenstahl for Mayor" we see "Paid for and authorized by the Pennsylvania Democratic State Committee."

Are there some folks worried out there?

Doesn't Lil Mayor Luke have a big war chest to pay for this on his own?

Is Luke worried that if DeSantis makes a good showing, he'll not only need that money to fight off a slew of contenders in two years, but he'll also have to spend the next two years campaigning -- as if he ever stopped in the last year?

Will he need to break out some TV ads?

Will they contain even more pics of Lukey as an adorable tot? (You can bet your ass they will!)

Stay tuned for these and other questions.

Same Bat-time, same Bat-channel!

A Tale of Two Brochures:

DeSantis Vs. Ravenstahl

I'm Luke! I was an adorable tike in Pittsburgh!
Which adorable tike am I? Who cares!

I'm Maria! I was a semi-adorable tike in Pittsburgh!
Does it matter which tike? Apparently not!
Does it qualify me to be mayor? Apparently so!

NEXT: New Ravenstahl print ad to feature adorable family pets.
New TV ad to feature dangling keys! Ooooo! Shiny!


Paul said...

I received mine yesterday - and immediately threw it in the junk mail recycling bin. Actually, I received two - one for me, and one for the former resident that moved out three years ago. Nice to see they keep a clean mailing list - but then anyone familiar with direct mail knows that the Post Office (or any mail house) will clean the list for you.

What a waste.

Maria said...

Seriously! Who campaigns on their baby pics!?!

Sherry said...

hey, i was a semi-decent looking tike.

can i get a job with a ton of perks???

Maria said...

Sheyy! Come on down! You've won a brand new federally tricked-out SUV!

Go easy on the BBQ sauce though.

Bram Reichbaum said...

I'm guessing he's the kid on the right. He looks like he's getting away with something.

Maria said...

(Of course that should have been "Sherry" not "Sheyy.")

Maria said...


HA! My thoughts too!

Anonymous said...

I'm all for DeSantis becoming mayor and having real Republican leadership in this city, but this post is just weird. It's campaign lit, for Christ's sake. Maria, your detailed obsesive mocking is starting to look like a personality disorder on your part.

Char said...

I folded mine up and mailed it back to the State Committee with a note telling them not to send me anymore Ravenstahl junk mail again. Ever.

Sherry said...

hi, yep a really COOL suv so i can go places and everyone will know i'm just so important!

could we get sophie back. write in maybe?

i like her!

Maria said...

Anyone who puts their baby pics in their campaign lit mocks the voters and deserves mockery in return.

Chad said...

Amen, Maria. Amen.

Nice work, also, with the photo of the two brochures side-by-side. It's as clear and concise an image of this race as you're likely to find.

One guy's all about the city; the other's all about himself.

Matt H said...

Great piece of campaign lit.

Anonymous said...

Who campaigns on their baby pics? A person running for high school student body president...

Paul said...

Actually, I can imagine Ravenstahl (maybe) and the Democratic Machine thinking that using baby pics will work to his advantage. Imagine all the babas in Bloomfield and the South Side receiving it and thinking, Oh, he's such a nice man. And wasn't he a cute boy.


Geneology said...

A guy, who is a Pittsburgher & a life-long Dem, came over today. He saw the mailer, read the part that "simultaneously reminds us that Luke comes from a longtime Pittsburgh political family (father a judge and grandfather a state rep)"

This guy was not amused. He was disgusted. He will not be voting for Luke. When 3rd generation Pittsburgh Democrats have had enough, it's worry time Mr. Ravenstahl.

Maria said...


"Bubbas" on the South Side, "nonnas" in Bloomfield.


jwander said...

He campaigns with baby pics because that is all the experience that he has!!! I hope Pittsburgh elects an adult on Tuesday...