Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Who is John Galt?

Last night, Mark DeSantis was given the opportunity to lay Fluke Ravenstahl bare. At John Delano's request, DeSantis was asked what he didn't like about Ravenstahl. To keep everything grade-school kosher, he was also asked what he did like. Typically this sort of banal question yields either little insight into a candidate, or throws red meat to political sport. But the answers provided unique insight into an uncommon race.

Desantis didn’t bite… at least not like he could have. He didn’t recount Ravenstahls’ well known gaffes, or his less-than-inspiring tenure as Mayor. DeSantis instead chose to briefly mention Luke’s lack of humility before outlining a very genuine assessment of the Mayor's many (heretofore unknown) positives. In an era of unbounded political hubris, it was an uncommon moment of decency.

Herein lies the biggest difference between the man who is Mayor, and the man who should be. Mark DeSantis stands on a foundation of personal moral clarity. His boundaries are strongly defined; which is why he hasn’t gone dirty in the campaign, and why he found Ravenstahl’s filthy mailer so disgusting. Whereas DeSantis chooses to be above the fray, Luke is win-at-all-cost. Judging by the current Mayor's gratuitous indulgence in the perks of the office, and his slimy campaign tactics, Luke is DeSantis' polar opposite.

DeSantis’ ideology extends far beyond a few compliments and a ‘keep it clean’ campaign. Luke’s last question of the night highlighted this fact, as the Mayor read off the Democratic slate endorsement of his campaign. “If the Governor, the County Exec, a US Senator- if everyone in power endorses me, if they want to work with me and not you” asked the Mayor, “how do you plan on getting anything done?”

DeSantis’ answer was probably the most insightful comment into the nature of this man. “I don’t care what those politicians think of me… I will work hard, and perform, and earn their respect.” The noted lack of Dan Onorato and Ed Rendell’s presence in Luke’s campaign speaks to the truth of that statement; Luke has their backing on paper only. But it also speaks to DeSantis’ rejection of a political culture based on family and party affiliation. ‘I don’t need them to succeed, I need only my ability and willpower. I don’t go to them, they’ll want to come to me. Who is John Galt?’

DeSantis seeks from us an opportunity to be what Pittsburgh rarely has in any level of government; a public servant who is focused on public service. He closed by saying he would be honored to be my mayor. I would be proud to have him.


Postscript [CapitolMAN]: You'd be proud to have DeSantis as mayor, and so would the New Pittsburgh Courier, which just endorsed him.

6 comments:

CapitolMAN said...

You know what kind of person makes a good mayor? The person who doesn't need to be mayor. Ravenstahl needs to be politics; it's his livelihood and I'm sure if you got him wasted, he'd tell you its his birthright.

That last exchange about politico-support encapsulated DeSantis' unassailable character so nicely. Here's a guy who doesn't need his ego to be validated.

No one can say the same thing about Luke.

Chad said...

Beautifully written and argued, CapitolMAN.

CapitolMAN said...

I'd like to take credit, Chad. But that eloquent essay was written by Highland Avenue.

Chris said...

Did he actually say "Who is John Galt?" If he did, that's very cool. If you're into the Ayn Randian philosophy, that's cool, but it's cool for another simple reason...it actually sounds like a Pittsburgh mayoral candidate has read a book! And a long book at that!

Good for him. Hope he wins. It'd be a miracle to actually have someone that might actually cut a tax or two in this town.

Anonymous said...

If you are going to make comparisons to Ayn Rand, at least get them right. The statement by Desantis that you qouted is closer to something Howard Roark from The Fountainhead would say. If desantis had said "GET THE HELL OUT OF MY WAY" then I would agree with your assesment. Oh, and one more thing, you really shouldn't use steal from books that you don't understand the philosophy behind.

Highland Ave. said...

I wish he had said 'Who is John Galt.' That would have been the hottest moment in the debate.

To the Rand Fundie: I always appreciate an arm-chair philosopher's attention to detail. I don't dress up like John Galt at night and bang Dagny Taggart (your pillow); but I'm glad your vicarious nocturnal existence serves to clarify the philosophy for the rest of us.

Now hurry back to the office kitchen and brew up a new pot of coffee; two shakes of cinnamon and a dash of sugar. The boss is thirsty.