Tuesday, March 15, 2005

City of Pittsburgh needs GOP mayoral candidate, a PG statement

City of Pittsburgh needs GOP mayoral candidate The rest of you just have to work on your sales pitch. That argument I've heard so often on talk shows -- 'You people are idiots. Why don't you let us run that city we hate?'' -- will need polishing before November.

For the record, I love Pittsburgh.

The rest of the article is interesting.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

City of Pittsburgh needs GOP mayoral candidate

Sunday, March 13, 2005 By Brian O'Neill

To: All suburban Republicans

From: Nominal city Democrat

Re: Pittsburgh mayor's race

The city is gagging. The Democratic machine is backing people with more baggage than American Tourister. At least one financial oversight committee has Republican sympathies, and Republicans control both houses of the state Legislature.

Don't you see? It's the perfect storm.

For the love of Lincoln, get off the phone with those talk shows, take a break from oiling your guns and come out of your cul de sacs to meet someone who needs you as much as you need him. Joe Weinroth is that rarest of all God's creatures, a Republican candidate for mayor of Pittsburgh.

Weinroth's city resume is solid. Born and raised in Squirrel Hill, he is a graduate of Hillel Academy, holds a bachelor's degree in political science and economics from the University of Pittsburgh and a Pitt law degree, too. Weinroth practices law Downtown, almost close enough to the City-County Building to hear the firefighters screaming. He is the best candidate you never heard of.

Weinroth is not as telegenic as the last Republican to take power on Grant Street, but Jim Roddey moved to Oakmont, probably so people would quit asking him to run for mayor. Nobody is going to confuse Weinroth with an anchorman, but he's smart and he's ready. So are you going to wuss out again this year or make a fight of it?

City Republicans never have gotten much help from the party faithless. Downtown money always gets behind Democratic hopefuls. Everyone looks at the 5-to-1 Democratic registration advantage and figures the GOP has no shot. Seventy-plus years of Democratic rule can dim your confidence that way.

But those numbers miss something. Many a registered city Democrat is more pragmatist than ideologue. If you register as a Democrat in the city you can vote for whomever you like in November. Register as a Republican and you miss voting in the Democratic primary, the only election that has counted in this city since Sophie Masloff was a high school cheerleader.

What I'm suggesting is that party affiliation is wide but not necessarily deep. Down at this level, where handshakes mean something, that Republican/Democratic stuff has little more ideology behind it than you'd find in a shirts/skins basketball game. Or is Dan Onorato, the Democratic chief executive of Allegheny County, your idea of a flaming liberal?

The odds aren't with you, of course. It's just that the closer Americans live together, the more likely they are to vote Democratic. Take a look at a political map. We'll leave it to sociologists and political theorists to explain why. Still, New York still has managed to have two Republican mayors in a row, and that ain't Kansas.

This is just the way Pennsylvania is set up. While the biggest cities in Republican states -- Phoenix, San Antonio, Dallas and Houston -- have spent the past half-century annexing their suburbs, making residents out of commuters whether they liked it or not, the cities of Pennsylvania have stuck with their buggy-age boundaries. If you live in the suburbs, you can't vote for mayor, but you can support a candidate in other ways. Figure one out.

Did you know the first organizing convention for the national Republican Party was held in Pittsburgh on Feb. 22, 1856? Or that a Republican machine dating from the 19th century ran Pittsburgh right up until the day the Democrats took over in 1933 and the seven-decade shutout of the GOP began?

That's right. Pittsburgh hasn't had a strong two-party system for more than 100 years. As a nominal Democrat who has voted for Republicans for governor, county executive, judge, you name it, I'd consider splitting my ticket at the local level, too, if Weinroth makes a good case.

The rest of you just have to work on your sales pitch. That argument I've heard so often on talk shows -- "You people are idiots. Why don't you let us run that city we hate?'' -- will need polishing before November.

(Brian O'Neill can be reached at boneill @ post-gazette.com or 412-263-1947.)