More DeSantis, Less GOP

By Mistick, Joseph Sabino | Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, September 23, 2007 | Go to article overview

More DeSantis, Less GOP


Mistick, Joseph Sabino, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


America lost its foremost native philosopher and political scientist when a small plane crashed near Barrow, Alaska, in 1935. But the wisdom of Will Rogers endures. With rapier wit and gusto, Rogers tackled the American scene; his political acumen was spot on.

In a declaration that still applies today, Rogers declared, "I am not a member of any organized political party. I am a Democrat."

But while Rogers contributed to Democratic Party causes, he also raised bucks for Republicans. He was an equal-opportunity satirist who wore his partisanship lightly. And that same deft approach to party affiliation has worked for politicians and can work again.

As Republican Mark DeSantis presses on in his race against incumbent Democrat mayor Luke Ravenstahl, he must be more DeSantis and less Republican. Since just the thought of voting for a Republican for mayor is anathema to many local Democrats, DeSantis would have been better positioned as an independent.

In some areas, party affiliation means little more than embracing a party of convenience. Often, success comes as a result of merely running as a Republican and not being a Republican. It is a critical distinction when Democrat support is essential to victory.

Frank Rizzo, the late mayor of Philadelphia, had no special allegiance to any party. He was a Republican until 1966, a Democrat until 1986 and a Republican again until the end in 1991. He won Democrat and Republican nominations for mayor in different years. Obviously, it was Rizzo they wanted and not a true believer of any state or national platform. …

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