Saturday, May 30, 2009

"Hey, Obama, My Man! . . . (He Loves Us)"

Over at Bram's place, somebody ridiculed the idea that Dan Rooney might have been responsible for attracting the G20 event to Pittsburgh, and this soft Post-Gazette article was mentioned. The apparent suggestion is that local elected officials -- and their relationship with President Obama -- are responsible for this news and perhaps goodies to come.

The shout-outs to President Obama in that P-G article remind me of the Animal House scene in which the road-tripping fraternity brothers happen upon a club whose marquee indicates Otis Day and the Knights -- the black musicians whom Delta House engages periodically to perform at parties -- are playing inside. "Holy Shit! Otis Day and the Knights! I can't believe it! Wait 'til Otis sees us . . . he loves us!" They rush into the club with their dates, at which point one of the pledges observes: "We are the only white people here," to which the rush chairman responds: "We are going to die." Undaunted, Boone, the original Otis fan, heads to the bar and screams at the stage, "Hey, Otis, my man!!" Otis turns and, frozen for a moment during a song, stares incredulously. After a momentary sneer, Otis returns to "Shama Lama Ding Dong." Boone responds with an oblivious, satisfied smile.

Instead of splitting their support during the Democratic presidential nomination race, ensuring a regional player in the winning campaign, southwestern Pennsylvania's two most prominent elected officials, Dan Onorato and Luke Ravenstahl, both endorsed Hillary Clinton. Onorato preferred Obama -- he had made no secret of that privately -- but succumbed to Ed Rendell when it came to a public endorsement. (I don't know whether Ravenstahl genuinely preferred Clinton, or did Rendell's bidding, or Onorato's.)

Dan Onorato may believe his "secret" support of Obama gave him a leg up when he hopped on the nominee's bandwagon. I believe he is wrong, and that the Obama camp considered him a spineless weasel.

Ravenstahl and Onorato compounded the problem by bolting from a campaign rally before Obama attempted to acknowledge their presence:

I believe Obama also noted the boos when he introduced Ravenstahl and Onorato at other campaign events.

After that performance, who are the Pittsburgh area's connections to the Obama White House? Dan Rooney, no doubt. Cliff Levine, no doubt. After that, I'm thinking Pamela's pancakes and Franco Harris.

So when the local pols talk up their relationship with Obama, I see Luke, Dan, Shawn Fox and Yarone Zober walking into the Dexter Lake Club, heading to the bar to order their Carlings Iron Citys, and Luke and Dan yelling in unison: "Hey, Obama . . . my man!!"


Bram Reichbaum said...

Someone somewhere was pushing the angle that Obama was "impressed how they closed ranks" around him after he became the nominee, and good feelings and regards besides. I don't know about Dan Onorato and your "weasel" theory, but in regards at least to Luke I don't see why not. If there's one thing Barack Obama understands its politics and young people. Fingers crossed.

Infinonymous said...

Barack Obama likely didn't become President of the Harvard Law Review, United States Senator or President of the United States by habitually misjudging people. Plus, he has good information sources. I suspect he has a decent read on the locals -- good, bad, or mixed -- to the extent he needs or wants it.