Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Smart, Very Smart

My most recent entry was critical of Bill Peduto. He has really earned my respect with his decision not to run against Luke Ravenstahl for mayor. Politically, it was a brilliant move and should serve him well in the future.

His actions should serve as a response to his critics. He is viewed as not being a party guy. Whoops let's rephrase that. Word is that Bill likes to party, just not with THE PARTY. Old line Committee people reward loyalty. They reward candidates who fall on the sword when they are not endorsed. If you decide not to run against an endorsed candidate you will get lots of support the next time you ask for an endorsement.

Critics say that Bill has a history of negative campaigning. At this point the only strategy he had if he remained in the race was to run a negative campaign. The opportunity was right in front of him. Luke accepted a boondoggle from a billionaire who just got a sweet deal from the state, county and city on a new arena. Luke's response to questions about this trip was less than straight forward. Bill had his opening. In commenting on his role in running a negative campaign for Cohen, he said he has learned from his mistake. He vowed not to run a negative campaign. Although he started to take some small pot shots, when the big opportunity was in front of him he did an incredibly honorable thing. He kept his word. He stepped back and not only didn't take shots, he made the ultimate sacrifice. He dropped out of the race rather than become ugly.

Bill had to know that after the arena/Penguin deal was done his chances of winning were slim and none. He also knows that fumigating the mess left from Murphy and then O'Conner in a half a term is almost impossible. It will also be impossible for him to raise enough money to run a meaningful campaign against Luke. Some of Bill's biggest contributors from his last bid already had jumped ship to Luke. You can't win these days without a war chest. If, as Bill and his supporters believe, Luke fails as mayor, Peduto will have a much stronger chance of winning next time. Instead of running as a two time loser. He can run as an honorable candidate on a "told you so" platform.

Should Bill not have the stomach for another run at the mayor's office, he clearly has political ambitions beyond City Council. Should he decide to run in the future for State Rep, State Senate or even Congress his actions today will be remembered. The party types should reward him for stepping aside for the endorsed candidate. The public should remember him as one candidate who really took the high road.

Now is the time for Luke to do the unexpected. I would like to see him offer Bill a prominent role in his administration. The city could be totally unified, and enjoy Luke's leadership and Bill's analytical and well thought out ideas.