A fresh pot of Fortunes' Viennese roast coffee was the only elixir for the bellicose hangover that would cloud my Sunday morning viewing of Meet the Press.
But I would not see Tim Russert the Potatohead because a sickly David Johnson found this time slot agreeable for a silly debate between Mark DeSantis and Luke Ravenstahl.
Another one of these snoozefests? I’ve had enough. Unless a bikini-clad Julie Bologna is going to moderate this debate I’ll just as well drill an hole in my skull to relieve this pressure.
But this event was hardly the sombrous affair of dustups past. At the debate’s outset, a composed and passionate Mark DeSantis articulately excoriated Mayor Wunderkind for a milquetoast negative campaign flyer that was sent to residents yesterday. While the flyer is not exactly on par with Swift Boating your opponent, it did expose DeSantis’ horrifying Republican allegiance.
Much to my chagrin, DeSantis has chosen to take the high road in this campaign. But calling out Luke for a crummy flyer is as close as we’re going to get DeSantis calling Luke a creep. And Luke’s a creep, folks. His smarmy smirk is no more beguiling than George Bush’s chortle.
I can’t tell you how angry it makes me to think anyone would vote for Luke. He’s a simpleton of dubious intellect. Here are three of Luke’s most memorable malapropisms and platitudes:
“We see more efficiencies continue throughout my tenure.”
“It’s a policy decision that should be followed up on.”
“Zachary is what we work very hard to achieve.”
“The superintendent has a supporter in Luke Ravenstahl.”
Luke is the master of the non-sequitir. He has this insatiable capability to mangle the English language. It would really be quite hideous if it weren’t so funny. At one point during the debate, Johnson asked Luke about his presence at the UPMC golf outing. Instead of showing any humility and moving on, Luke offered a bumbling soliloquy about attending “charitable events.” Only people can be charitable, Luke.
He’s the personification of a sluggish PC that needs to be rebooted.
Simply put, the dude is a dud.
DeSantis oozed passion this morning. He spoke eloquently about coming together as Pittsburghers to make this city great once again. When he suggests we should rise above partisan acrimony, he actually believes it. The only time I can remember DeSantis attacking Luke during the debate was for not showing enough humility. He sounded like a teacher disappointed in his pupil’s behavior.
I tweaked DeSantis’ stiff performance at the WTAE debate, but there’s no doubting his zeal for public policy and public service. He’s the genuine article.
Highlights from the debate:
Good move by Johnson to let the candidates confront each other. DeSantis caught Ravenstahl flat-footed several times, especially when Luke asked him how he could possibly expect to extract a better health care deal for the city. DeSantis has said recently that he’d ask UPMC to provide discounted health-care to city pensioners in lieu of their paltry non-profit contribution to the city’s budget. Luke smugly pointed out that the bid for health care was an open request for proposal, but DeSantis said this wasn’t creative enough. After some back and forth, DeSantis smashed the volley.
“If you think an RFP process is creative you need to think again.”
After DeSantis cited his agreement with Dan Onorato on regionalism for the umpteenth time in this campaign, Ravenstahl said "I just want to point out that Dan Onorato is endorsing me in this campaign."
DeSantis cheerfully replied that he didn't mean to imply Onorato was endorsing his candidacy, but he could understand why Luke could be confused, given all the endorsements he's been receiving. [In case you missed it, the PG endorsed DeSantis.]
It’s really Luke who should have no chance in this election. He’s a 27-year old parochial yunzer running against a professional businessman with sound policy ideas. But alas, this is Pittsburgh. Home to 70 years of one-party rule, blatant corruption, crumbling infrastructure, and approximately 200,000 parochial yunzers.