Monday, February 07, 2005

A New Hope

In one sentence, a trio of Pittsburgh Tribune-Review journalists sums up what I was trying to say in a post from last weekend:

The last time Republicans had any real clout in Pittsburgh, Babe Ruth was the Sultan of Swat.
Thus begins a report on some good news for the local Republican Party. A young local politician has undergone a major life change:

When state Rep. Michael Diven of Brookline switched from the Democratic Party to the GOP last week, it marked the first time in decades that a Republican lawmaker based in the city held a seat in the Legislature. The switch also positioned Diven to run for the state Senate seat formerly held by Jack Wagner, the state's new auditor general.
Plenty of local Democrats are lining up for their party's nomination, so Diven's defection is seen as no great loss. Pittsburgh is one of three urban centers, along with Philadelphia and Erie, that made otherwise blue Pennsylvania a red state last November. If Diven runs for the Senate seat and wins, it could be the start of a trend that bodes well for the GOP in Allegheny County. If a Democrat -- any Democrat -- wins, it means business as usual. Which might also be to out advantage.

Michael Diven deserves to be thanked and congratulated for his bold move. Political commentators have been saying for years that Pittsburghers are a conservative lot. This could be the beginning of that conservatism taking political form.


Mark Rauterkus said...

This Diven move is not as you might think -- and have blogged about. Diven's move to the GOP side is only because he was kicked out of the Dems and was not able to keep his gov/political job as an idie. See my blog for more insights.

The real hope for the GOPers is if the don't nominate Diven for the PA Senate seat. They should insist that DIVEN serve his term in the house on the R's side. Then another race might be possible.

Nicko McDave said...

Diven's move gave me hope because I was looking at the big picture. Of course, the devil is in the details, and successful candidates for public office are all about opportunism.

Sometimes the voters can see right through it -- hence the reason why Frank Pecora lost while running as a Dem against Rick Santorum in a heavily Democratic Congressional District back in 1992. Republican Dave Fawcett attempted to make it a campaign issue several years later in a race against Mike Doyle in the same district. His campaign mailers seemed designed to discourage voters from voting for Doyle because he had a history of being a Republican, several times. It backfired and a lot of people failed to take Fawcett seriously.

Let's give Diven a chance to show whether his loyalties lie with his party or himself. I will try to contain my excitement, but I still can not help feeling at least a little optimistic about this.