Friday, March 23, 2007

How the Endorsements Killed Democracy

In the past few days, I have encountered a few viewpoints that have forced me to reexamine the events of the past month or so. The first was an excellent post over at Pittsburgh Comet, which examines the stated reasons behind Pittsburgh City Councilmember Bill Peduto's decision to pull out of the Democratic primary. The second was an email that I received from a loyal reader, which challenged a few of the observations that I made in an earlier post. Together, they have sparked a few ideas in my head, and they cast a light upon just how the mayoral race might have been affected by the Allegheny County Democratic Committee (ACDC) endorsement vote on Sunday, 4th March 2007. In some small way, this most anti-democratic of Pittsburgh institutions -- the idea that party leaders, and not everyday citizens, should chose who is worthy to seek elective office -- is responsible, once again, for ensuring that our election was over before the first voter had a chance to cast a ballot.

In my earlier post, I took the Post-Gazette to task for providing inadequate coverage of the mayoral race, particularly over the past month or so. I presented a kind of ironic argument that it was only now, once Mr. Peduto had pulled out of the race, that the Post-Gazette -- and particularly its editorial board -- was paying any attention to either him or the election in general. I was far from alone in making these observations. Similar arguments can be found over at The Burgh Report and 2 Political Junkies.

Specifically, the Post-Gazette was faulted throughout the burghosphere for either neglecting a number of important issues entirely, or relegating them to its "Early Returns" blog, which appears only online and thus has a far more limited readership than the print version of the newspaper. A list of these issues would include:

  • Endless debate dodging by the Ravenstahl campaign,
  • The use of the "hands on hips" picture on both city and campaign documents,
  • The overdue details of the the tax abatement plan, and,
  • The flip-flop answers about contraception
The paper could even be accused of providing fairly thin coverage of the interim mayor's illicit trip to New York City on Ron Burkle's private jet, at least in the days prior to Mr. Peduto's decision to pull out of the race.

In addition to these accusations largely ignoring issues in the "hard news" portion of the paper, the Post-Gazette's editorials and opinion columns were taken to task for some questionable decisions. The newspaper had, after all, responded to the Master Raventahl's Heinz Field arrest with a kindly wink, and described the favoritism shown to him afterwards as something that was "very Pittsburgh". The theft of Mr. Peduto's policy ideas, such as property tax abatement, was also given a grinning nod in the pages of the Post-Gazette.

But, as one of my readers pointed out in an email this morning, the editorial board also has some history of taking Master Ravenstahl to task when they think he deserves it. They castigated him over the Regan/McNeilly case, and even accused him of using "lame ethics" in this matter. They also provided a very unfavorable reaction to his lacking-in-detail tax abatement proposal, especially as compared to the plan put forward by Mr. Peduto. So there is some degree of balance in the paper's editorial positions, as indeed Tony Norman himself argues in today's paper.

Instead of being blamed for consistently giving Luke Ravenstahl a free pass on his endless sequence of ethical fumbles, the editorial board at the Post-Gazette might be better accused of, at least in recent weeks, simply ignoring the mayoral election altogether. They published their tax abatement editorial on 18 Feb 2007, and that was largely the final word they provided on any mayoral topic until Mr. Peduto withdrew from the Democratic primary this week. There wasn't even a reaction on the editorial page to the ACDC endorsement vote. Instead, they chose to cast their attention on such vitally important topics as the excessive length of the Oscars telecast and the introduction of a new form of postage stamp.

Thus the sins of the Post-Gazette seem to be ones of omission rather than commission. When you look at the list of stories that the paper has largely ignored, you will notice a very clear trend. Every last one of these topics surfaced only recently. And for the most part, these issues have only become truly relevant in the weeks since the ACDC endorsement vote, which Mr. Peduto lost by a landslide.

After that defeat, the Peduto campaign went largely, and rather unexpectedly, silent. While blogs such as this one were busy pointing out that there were still no debates scheduled between the two candidates, that Interim Mayor Ravesntahl had broken his promise to provide "the full data" on his tax abatement proposal, and that the same photographs appeared on both city documents and the Ravenstahl campaign website, there was really only a token reaction from the Peduto campaign. And more importantly, there was no sign that the Peduto campaign itself was driving any of these stories.

Prior to the ACDC endorsement vote, it had not been that way at all. When Ravenstahl went a week without responding to the Peduto's initial debate challenge, the Peduto campaign went on the attack with a press release. News coverage followed, including some pointed questions put to the interim mayor by mainstream reporters. A few days before the endorsement, when the Werling settlement was coming before city council, Mr. Peduto took bold action to demand the reinstatement of the cost recovery program. But once Mr. Peduto lost the endorsement decision, we simply stopped hearing from him and his campaign. While the blogs were pushing forward, Mr. Peduto seemed to go into a sulking and depressive funk.

This funk lasted a few short weeks before Mr. Peduto decided to throw in the towel altogether. But as The Pittsburgh Comet points out, this decision -- even when examined from a number of different angles -- doesn't seem in any way rational.

Mr. Peduto's purported reasons for leaving the race can be distilled into the two related threads. First, there is the inescapable reality that Pittsburghers seem committed to their "give the kid a chance" delusions. Secondly, the only way to defeat that mindset would be to go massively negative, and that was something that Mr. Peduto simply didn't want to do. A third very important aspect of Mr. Peduto's decision is that he chose to announce it at the very last moment, just hours before the filing deadline. As a result, there wasn't even an opportunity for any other Democrat to get into the race, and voters will be left with no options whatsoever in our mayoral election.

Mr. Peduto seemed most upset that there was no discussion of the issues taking place, and that he was most in demand by the news media to discuss the unethical behavior of his opponent. Yet there seemed to be no push by Bill Peduto to discuss these issues once the endorsement defeat was behind him. Even the burghosphere, faced with a lack of either media or campaign reaction to the stories we were putting forward, began to see Mr. Peduto's defeat as all but inevitable. There were no more Peduto press releases to remind us that the interim mayor was dodging debates. There was no public push for council to adopt Peduto's tax abatement plan instead his opponent's. There were no reminders from the Peduto campaign that the Ravenstal tax abatement details were well overdue. If there were no discussions about the issues, it is largely because Mr. Peduto wasn't asking anyone to have them.

Bill Peduto could have, and should have, continued his campaign. He could have, and should have, continued pushing every last issue that was important to him and the citizens of Pittsburgh. If he was adverse to going negative, he simply could have refused to do so. Pointing out that your opponent's plans are inferior to your own does not constitute negative campaigning. And sometimes, doing so can even force your opponent to take a position on something that would otherwise have been ignored entirely. By leaving the race, Mr. Peduto has guaranteed that these issues will now never be addressed, however begrudgingly, by the Ravenstahl administration.

Bill Peduto could have, as he had done in 2005, stayed focused on the issues and lost the primary with honor. Or he could have used his withdrawal from the Democratic primary as a springboard to announce his independent bid for reform in the City of Pittsburgh. Either option would have assured Pittsburgh's voters -- perhaps a minority of them, but important voices nonetheless -- that there would at least be a choice on the ballot. Maybe we weren't going to win, but we would be given an honest means of communicating to Luke Ravenstahl that we are unhappy with his flawed leadership. Instead of giving us options, Bill Peduto took them away. He turned tail and left many of us out in the cold.

It really would seem that his defeat for the Democratic endorsement, which he did not even seek in his 2005 campaign, destroyed Mr. Peduto's will to go on. In the weeks that followed, his campaign became so timid and weakly reactive that his withdrawal from the race could best be viewed as a mercy killing. My personal view, having never once given a shit about the political endorsement of any group, and especially not the worthless Allegheny County Democratic machine, is that Mr. Peduto's reaction was massively excessive and largely unwarranted. In fact, from my perspective, being unendorsed by that particular group of mental midgets was an enormous asset instead of any kind of liability.

But the evidence seems clear that it affected Mr. Peduto in ways that I will never be able to understand. A few hundred people got together and decided that Mr. Peduto wasn't the best man to represent their own narrow interests as the Mayor of Pittsburgh. And Mr. Peduto decided that he would rather listen to them than to the actual citizens who are supposed to make these decisions in our democracy. For months, Mr. Peduto was our only hope. And now, because of the Allegheny County Democratic Committee -- and Mr. Peduto's gross overreaction to their opinion -- our city has no hope at all.


Skip said...

Admiral, with all respect,

Endorsement results=Peduto Campaign Waning and Withdrawal? I don't buy the argument. Killing the democratic process, however, I will agree with. The recent "The 3rd Round" discusses how there used to be a Democratic council that selected candidates and then told committee members who to endorse. Jim Burns apparently was viewed as a progressive reformer. So, the process is supposed to be better now.

Certainly, there could have been some improvements on the Peduto campaign, but for what? Like McIntire framed it, voters already drank the kool-aid. The Burgher roughly said, 'for what, Peduto is supposed to stay in the race as some public service'?

Your voice is an important voice and I'm sure this blog is one of a few that serve as a barometer for public opinion on city politics. Yet, the parameters of the discussion have been bound by what was reported in the MSM on its face value. On this particular issue, however, there is a campaign office that is still open and available to answer in more detail questions about dropping out of the race, thoughts of an independent run, or 2009. Hell, Peduto himself might even return a call from the Admiral.

Maria said...

While the massive loss in the endorsements was a real blow, if you read between the lines in some of the stories published in the P-G after Peduto left the race, you get a better picture.

Moreover, Peduto was on Fred Honsberger's show yesterday and I think added some much needed insight. I transcribed relevant portions of the interview late last night and will try to post it today.

We know that Peduto has been certainly willing in the past to run against big odds and not only not being endorsed for mayor, but ACDC giving their endorsement to someone else for his own council seat in the 2005 primary so that couldn't be what was stopping him this time.

According to the interview, a huge factor seems to be a very recent internal poll that showed that not only would Luke win no matter what stunt he pulled (hell, he could probably eat a baby live on TV and the voters would still say 'give the kid a chance'), but even more than that, the poll showed that our misguided electorate seemed to feel that it was somehow a personal insult to Bob O'Connor's memory that anyone would dare run against Lil Luke (Luke has certainly tried to convince folks that he was endorsed by O'Connor and he seems to have won at that).

According to Peduto, his personal negatives skyrocketed -- going higher each day that he dared to defy Lukey's coronation.

And, what got lost in all this was the issues. The public didn't want to listen to anything that the mean old man who was running against their fair haired heir had to say.

He felt that he was risking not just career suicide, but that the overflow of hatred towards him was actually starting to spill over on to the ideas and issues that he was pushing and was threatening the idea of reforming Pittsburgh itself. (Luke = good guy, Peduto = bad man, therefore, Peduto's ideas = BAD).

His only choice if he stayed in was to go massively negative (something he's been disinclined to from the start) and since no one was listening to any issues (including the MSM) a negative campaign would have had to have rested almost solely on character issues and that is a hard road to navigate as things tend to get very slimy and very personal even if that's not the direction in which you're trying to take them.

Richmond K. Turner said...

Skip, you needn't have added the "with all respect" bit at the top of your comment. Respect, in both directions, already goes without saying.

You are probably right that there is a great deal missing in this story. The fact that I missed the Honzberger interivew that Maria refers to doesn't exactly help me here. It could have provided a great deal of information that would have made this post a better one.

It would be a most interesting experiment for me to make contact with Peduto and put my theories, my questions, and even my lingering anger to him. Sadly, though, I have to leave town next week for my kid's school vacation.

Maria, thanks for responding. You bring up points that I hadn't really thought of. Having been so anxious to see Luke Ravenstahl out of the mayor's office, I hadn't really given thought to the fact that there might be people who just as strongly wanted to see him stay there. I hadn't really thought about the way such feelings can generate hate, since -- even though I want to see him leave office -- I certainly don't hate Luke Ravenstahl.

But if people were basing their hatred on the mere fact of appearing on the ballot against Luke, then that tells me three things. First of all, as I always suspected, they are pretty damn stupid. Secondly, this town is going straight down the shitter faster than I thought. And three, maybe it was a better idea for Peduto to keep his powder dry.

PghLesbian said...

I was at a Peduto house meeting a few weeks ago and heard my local wardella proudly announce she's been living in the same house for 53 years and been a wardella for like 20+ years b/c "they wont let her quit." Was I truly the only one who saw the irony in that pronouncement at a meeting of local progressives? Sigh.

Judge Rufus Peckham said...

A very thoughtful post, Admiral. I have one comment. Putting aside any personal preference, no one can deny that having two viable candidates is always preferable to having just one. But as you note, because of the timing of Peduto's withdrawal "there wasn't even an opportunity for any other Democrat to get into the race, and voters will be left with no options whatsoever in our mayoral election." WHAT THE HELL WAS PEDUTO THINKING WHEN HE DID THIS? If you accept my premise that two candidates are preferable to one, then Peduto has done Pittsburgh a grave disservice. If I were one of the Democrats who decided to sit this election one because Peduto had jumped in, yes, I would be furious with him -- that would be unpardonable.

Matt H said...

High internals for Mayor Ravenstahl...good vibes on the street...huge ACDC endorsement...

Don't all of these things lead us to the conclusion that voters all over the city overwhelmingly support Mayor Ravenstahl & his policies? I think the proof is in the pudding.

Maria said...

Yes, matt h, but only if you consider 'give the kid a chance' a policy.

Maria said...

People loved GW Bush once too...

Richmond K. Turner said...

High internals for Mayor Ravenstahl...good vibes on the street...huge ACDC endorsement...

Don't all of these things lead us to the conclusion that voters all over the city overwhelmingly support Mayor Ravenstahl & his policies?

Well, honestly Matt, no. You see, we have these troubling little things in this country. You may not have really encountered them, having grown up in Pittsburgh, but they're called "elections".

We don't decide who becomes mayor of Pittsburgh based on either (a) internal polls by political campaigns, (b) "vibes" -- good, bad or otherwise -- that anyone might pick up, however imperfectly, "on the street", or (c) by asking a few hundred political masters to make the choice for us. Instead, we are rather expected (and should expect) to make this choice ourselves in the voting booth.

The "voters all over the city" will not be given any oppotunity, "overwhelmingly" or otherwise, to indicate any level of support for Luke Ravenstahl -- let alone his policies -- in the voting booth. In fact, an unopposed run may very well end up hurting him very badly. Everytime he screws up, people are going to be able to say, "Well, *I* didn't vote for him!"

If he had run with opposition and won big, voters would be forced to own up to some of the blame when things go bad. Without opposition, they will delightedly be able cast every last bit of the blame on Ravenstahl himself.

Long term, unopposed elections hurt everyone.

Maria said...

If you accept my premise that two candidates are preferable to one, then Peduto has done Pittsburgh a grave disservice. If I were one of the Democrats who decided to sit this election one because Peduto had jumped in, yes, I would be furious with him -- that would be unpardonable."

Considering how much Luke had already screwed up before Peduto announced and how much the public still wanted to 'give the kid a chance' maybe Peduto was the only one who really considered challenging him.

Remember how everyone was predicting back when that there would be loads of challengers? Do you really think that it was Peduto and not, maybe, Luke who scared them all off?

Remember how early Luke announced and had his bosses at his side when he did?

I think most possible challengers got the message.

Judge Rufus Peckham said...

Wait a minute, Maria, on your blog on September 15 I wrote: ". . . I don't like the fact that he's already announced he's running for his own term -- I suppose he did this to try to keep certain people out of the race. It is too soon for that." And you responded: "It's hard for me to imagine that the 'threat' of Luke running would keep anyone out of the race." See

Judge Rufus Peckham said...

Wait a minute, Maria, on your blog on September 15 I wrote: ". . . I don't like the fact that he's already announced he's running for his own term -- I suppose he did this to try to keep certain people out of the race. It is too soon for that." And you responded: "It's hard for me to imagine that the 'threat' of Luke running would keep anyone out of the race." See

Anonymous said...

How sad for the city of pittsburgh that they have no choice in who will be their mayor. Once again, Luke "wins" by default. The only office he was elected to by the people was City Council. And I am surprised that no one had notice that when he ran for City Council he never used his first name on his signs. Only "Ravenstahl". Apparently, he was trying to run on his father's and grandfather's name and it worked. Having lived in the city of Pittsburgh for 21 years, thank God that I no longer live there but have been a suburbanite for quite a few years. Those Pittsburghers who want to "give the kid a chance" deserve everything they get. And yes, Admiral, I wish that you would have listened to Bill Peduto on Honsberger on Thursday. I have even more respect for him now.

Judge Rufus Peckham said...

Let's be candid as to why Mr. Peduto likely never had a a chance to win the primary. From Rich Lord's Jan. 23 article: "He was the first city official to call for state oversight of the budget, and has backed cost-cutting measures." Although the dual oversight boards, are a fact of life, there are many powerful interests who will never like it. I agree with Peduto on this, of course. This is not to say, however, that Ravenstahl is the only candidate these interests would have supported back in September when Ravenstahl wisely (for him) jumped in the race (unofficially) just days after Mayor O'Connor's death. I was on the road yesterday and I, too, heard Fred Honsberger for the first time in years, and he happened to have Peduto as guest. Peduto was impressive. I feel sorry for him. Unfortunately, there are too many people who felt threatened by him. The good news is that Ravenstahl has cooperated with the oversight boards, from all reports, and he has no choice but to do so.

Bram Reichbaum said...

I only read the first 400 words or so, so far.

You should have heard Fred Honsberger! He endorsed Bill Peduto, pretty much, the day after, in a conversation with Joe Mistick. The Hons-Man transformed into He-Man at the least opportune moment. Like, the Adventures of Young Prince Adam.

Pattent pending.

Bram Reichbaum said...

I have skimmed the rest of your article, though I was distracted by Henry Kissinger.

"But as The Pittsburgh Comet points out, this decision -- even when examined from a number of different angles -- doesn't seem in any way rational."

I have have since discovered said rationality, and have corrected myself rather forthrightly in my recent post. Surf over.

Maria said...


I was wrong when I wrote that on 9/15. But he seemed such an obvious lite weight to me.

I could not have imagined back then the power of the 'give the kid a chance' vote which he ruthlessly exploited with his claims to have the blessings of O'Connor and which was later reinforced by all the national media coverage and his relentless pursuit of applying his name and image to everything in this city. That, backed by the help of his bosses whom he willingly submits to helped to make him pretty friggin' invincible.

I guess the support he got from Onorato, Ferlo, etc., did help to get the message across to all the frightened bunnies in the party that, despite the fluke of his being there, it is "Luke's turn."

EdHeath said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
EdHeath said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
EdHeath said...

Sorry for the litter on your blog, Admiral, the first sentence below originally read "county executives face" ... Quite embarrassing …

You know, I can't remember hearing one word about the County Executive's race as a problem for democracy. At least, not a lot of words recently. If we can stand the candidate, it’s ok if he runs un-opposed for the nomination or position. I mean, I'm right with y'all about how terrible it is that Peduto pulled out, and my feelings about Luke are well publicized, but politics in Pittsburgh, well, democracy doesn't always seem to be a real big factor. Sometimes we yell, sometimes we are silent and sometimes we might applaud. Things were moving against Luke in the last week, but to be honest, he is a national celebrity and is seen as the heir to O'Connor (somewhat bizarrely but also through his own clever publicity). I can't say that an ethics investigation wouldn't have found something, or that the accumulated weight of Luke's missteps would not have tripped him up, and if I were Bill I would have taken the chance of the tide turning or the other candidate having to pull out (or being pulled out). But Bill would still have no better than a 10 or 20 percent chance of actually winning, in my own rough estimate. It’s fair to say that Bill was just declaring the result early.

Wouldn’t it be weird if the state ethics board pulled Luke from the Primary or the general? Do-over, anyone?

Judge Rufus Peckham said...

Maria, politics is your bailiwick, mine is simulated news. You know a lot more about these things than I do. I was not as interested in this race as the rest of the blogosphere, but the absence of choice concerns me. For one thing, it will be that much more difficult to hold the mayor accountable now. My primary interest in Pittsburgh at this time is the city's billion dollar debt, but for that issue it wouldn't matter much who is in office right now. The oversight boards will make sure the city has a small surplus every year. That, of course, is akin to a band-aid on a gunshot victim. People who should know tell me the city will never be able to get out from under that staggering debt on its own.

Maria said...

There are a lot of things that I'm unhappy with today:

- The attitude of an unhealthy majority of the electorate
- The ACDC
- The MSM
- Luke's minders (Onorato, Ferlo, etc.)
- A City Council mostly comprised of clowns or folks in-over-their-heads
- Pretty much everyone in the Ravenstahl Admin.

I don't think that any of them take either our debt/pension crisis seriously.

I think Bill Peduto does take it seriously and now he's out.

I'm pissed at everyone.

As much as I am for many progressive social issues, I'm a Dean Democrat and that means Social Progressivism coupled with FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY.

That's what I liked about Peduto -- I thought he had both sides covered.

Ravenstahl represents Social Conservatism coupled with Fiscal Irresponsibility and when you add in his poor judgment and his propensity for dishonesty, you have in my mind a worst case scenario.

The problem seems to be that this city doesn't seem to want to be 'saved' by a Peduto or anyone else (not that I'm saying that Peduto could have necessarily 'saved' it, but he wouldn't be rushing headlong into the abyss like Luke).

I did feel that Peduto was unnecessarily savaged by the P-G editorial and by some others. I can somewhat understand that impulse. I had it myself when I first heard the news. Anyone paying any attention to Luke should know that he's no good for this city and want someone else -- pretty much anyone else -- to be Mayor.

I am unhappy too that there will be no choice but Luke, but it would seem that he had a lock on this whether or not Peduto was on the ballot. (I was already concerned that I wasn't hearing any poll numbers from the Peduto Camp which could only mean that their own polls sucked.) I am also unhappy that Onorato is running virtually unchallenged -- Rick Schwartz may beat the challenge to his petitions but does anyone think he can win?

The Democratic Party and the Money Men have far too much power in saying who runs and who wins in this town.

Maybe it's better that we come to terms with this than pretending that if we have another name on the ballot that we really will be deciding the outcome.

Sorry, but I have no hope to offer here.

Mark Rauterkus said...

No hope?

Hope is where you find it. Hope is where you make it. Hope doesn't come easy.

To say our city has no hope at all. My, my, my. Might as well say the internet hasn't been invented yet.

Get a grip.

Okay.... Small point: Peduto pulled out way after anyone else could have gotten into the D primary. To get into the D primary, paperwork and signatures needed to be turned in by March 6, 2007. Collecting the signatures would have taken more than a week.

Peduto didn't pee on the parade of others who were headed to the D primary.

If you think Peduto is strong on fiscal matters, i.e., FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY, and enjoy his tough love approach to guarding our public cash -- you'll droll over my prudent attack.

I heard the 'wet kiss interview' between Honz Man and Peduto.

Finally, let me state the obvious: Democracy is important to me.

I look forward to the end of the cry-baby postings. Seems too many of you are in shock. We've got an emergency on our hands. We don't have a funeral for democracy yet.

Rather than worry about who is going to carry the casket for our dead democracy, that ain't dead yet, how about a hand with the CPR.

We'll need a vigil for the revival of democracy. Not a wake for its death. What do you want to do?

Judge Rufus Peckham said...

Well said, Maria.

Char said...

Ditto. Well said, Maria.

I too am mad at everyone. But what has turned me from simple anger to being a raving lunatic is the horrible realization I’ve come to … It’s no longer about whether we have a “real” election with more than one candidate. No longer whether Luke is dumb as dirt and/or dirty as they come. No longer whether Peduto is Pittsburgh’s Savior or whether the Political Christ is even out there somewhere.

It’s about the 100% certainty that all “The Party” has to do is to declare it so and it will be. No matter how ridiculous. Because the sheepizens of Pittsburgh will march in lockstep right into the Mon if that’s what they’re told to do. The Machine is a formidable enough opponent. But stakes have now been raised to doing battle with the public support of the last wishes of the ghost of Bob O’Connor as told to us by Luke and the boyz? Yikes, that is past unwinnable. That’s moving squarely into the arena of irrational.

So I hate to be a cry-baby, Mark. It’s just I flat-ass don’t know what to do. I know I have to do something. But it’s not something to or with or about Luke, Peduto, Council, etc. It’s unfortunately now about trying to revive conscious thought in my comatose neighbors, coworkers and Burghers on the street. That is such an uphill battle. They have been heavy on the NyQuil for so long …

Maria said...

I will give it to Mark who keeps tilting at windmills -- looks like he's got someone who's going to fix up that old rink(?) on the South Side that he's gone on and on about.

And, while I say I have no hope, I've just spent most of the day working on artwork/website for Rick Swartz who will be running against Onorato if he survives the petition challenge (I believe he will).

Shows you how corrupt the system is that the Onorato folks challenged him in the first place. I mean they probably only added to his name recognition for their troubles. I spoke to someone today who said she'd vote for Swartz on the basis that Onorato challenged him alone. Ha!

So, Char, I do agree with you that it's vital that we try to engage our friends, relatives and neighbors.

That's grassroots democracy at its best.

Oh, and keep on blogging! ;-)

Anonymous said...

What happened at that party meeting makes perfect sense - if you don't have the Democratic machine w/in the city of Pittsburgh backing you, then there going to be working against you and for your candidate.

Total BS.