Sunday, August 27, 2006

Mayor O'Connor: Great Mayor or Greatest Ever?

I got to thinking this morning during my Sunday morning bus ride (somebody has to keep PAT in business during the weekends), and it occurred to me that Bob O'Connor could be the greatest, most politically savvy mayor of the City of Pittsburgh, ever... and yes, I'm including David Lawrence, William MaGee, AND Ebenezer Denny in that list. Bob's a heavy hitter here.

Consider the following: in the recent past, Americans have found themselves bound together through crisis and adversity. The recent example of this are the events of September 11, 2001, which, for one brief shining moment, all differences in the country were blurred away. The President used this incident to push the country into one war, and then another; a successful political ploy.

Now, Pittsburghers, as a more concentrated community would feel this sense of "oneness" more acutely. Indeed, anyone who partied in the Southside, Lawrenceville, Bloomfield, Oakland, Squirrel Hill, Shadyside, etc. etc. the night of the XL Superbowl will testify to this. On that day, we were all Steeler fans... unless you were a Seattle fan, in which case we spit on you.

OK, now consider the following: the City Firefighters sold out of all the Bob O'Connor wristbands in a matter of hours, two banners are full of get well wishes to Bob, and the day that Bob was admitted to the hospital, the local network news covered it intensely. Truly, the outpouring of support was and has been immense.

BUT! Other than the "Redd Up" Campaign, I can't think of a single Bob policy that... actually, I can't think of ANY policies. I can't think of anything that has significantly changed for the better since January. What's more, I can't think of ANY bad news that has come out of City Hall (aside the 9th Council District fiasco) recently. In fact, the Bob O'Connor illness has actually cajoled a "get well wish" from the Trib.

If that had been Tom Murphy, the Scaife rag would have pushed assisted suicide.

Anyway, this is why I think that O'Connor may be the most brilliant Mayor the City of Pittsburgh has ever had: O'Connor's illness has distracted the citizenry from the crap that is whirling around our heads. Such strategic distraction is something I would have expected from a Karl Rove, but never from a local politician. What's more, the electorate is 100% behind Bob, but I doubt they could tell you what Bob has actually done for them. The result: re-election. Bob is clearly a mastermind of local Democratic machine politics!

Alternatively, Bob is still really, really sick and deserves our best wishes and hopes that he gets well soon.

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