Anyway, the debate that happened last night but will only exist in theory until tomorrow night was also the debate that almost never happened, and Carmen Robinson used last night's debate as another opportunity to point out the fact that the Mayor tried to duck public forums as much as possible.
Carmen Robinson, 40, took the mayor to task for saying two weeks ago that he could not change his schedule to appear at last night's event. Although he eventually agreed to last night's taping.
"Once public opinion said 'that's really bad,' he called here and said I only had one day [that he could appear]," said Ms. Robinson.
"We're here. Let's not waste our time talking about the past," Mr. Ravenstahl responded to the Hill District attorney.
Yes, let's not waste our time talking about the past. If you're an incumbent who would rather run on trumped-up paper-thin claims of success that crumble at the first hint of scrutiny, if you're an incumbent whose track record is so spotty that infomercial salesmen hawking dishwasher detergent use it to represent the results of Brand X, if you're an incubment who would much rather campaign on phony promises about what you're going to do rather than stand accountable for what you've already done, then yes, I can see how you'd rather not talk about the past.
Mr. Ravenstahl leapt into the fray when he got there. His foes, he said, "continuously talk about me and make this campaign about Luke Ravenstahl and my administration.
"I have chosen to make it about you," he told the few dozen people in the Sunnyside Elementary School auditorium.
To which The Pittsburgh Comet succinctly replies:
YOU ARE THE INCUMBENT.
Exactly. Challengers for elected seats are, first and foremost, charged with pointing out why the incumbent should not be re-elected. So yes, Mayor Ravenstahl, they are talking about you. Because that's what they are supposed to do. And you are supposed to run on the merits of your administration.
To put it another way: you're supposed to talk about the past.
But for some people, that's not exactly the most ideal subject.