Monday, February 21, 2005

Seinfeld and Philadelphia politics

Seinfeld, Episode titled "The Wig Master":

Jerry: "Excuse me I'd like to return this jacket."

Salesperson: "Certainly. May I ask why?"

Jerry: "........For spite..."

Salesperson: "Spite?"

Jerry: "That's right. I don't care for the salesman that sold it to me."

Salesperson: "I don't think you can return an item for spite."

Jerry: "What do you mean?"

Salesperson: "Well if there was some problem with the garment. If it were unsatisfactory in some way,then we could do it for you, but I'm afraid spite doesn't fit into any of our conditions for a refund."

The Inquirer:
A bubbling feud over political control in Northwest Philadelphia has produced a new ripple in the pool of intrigue that already is the 2007 mayoral race: a possible strike at powerful U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah (D., Pa.).

Philadelphia NAACP president J. Whyatt Mondesire says he "absolutely will" run against Fattah in next year's Democratic House primary unless Fattah renounces his interest in exploring a campaign for mayor.

"He's a 300-pound gorilla in a small cage, playing games for his own agenda," Mondesire said. "It's arrogant."

Because Fattah is well-known and has a disciplined political organization, Mondesire and others believe that his interest in the 2007 race has frozen the organizing efforts of other serious black candidates for mayor, including State Rep. Dwight Evans (D., Phila.) and Councilman Michael Nutter.

Fattah said Mondesire, who has not run for office before but was chief of staff to former U.S. Rep. William Gray, was welcome to try.

"If he wants to run, he should run," Fattah said. "But he doesn't seem to have a substantive complaint about my work or a pressing ideology he wants to pursue in Congress."

The feud appears to have its roots in tensions between some Northwest Philadelphia ward leaders and Fattah over local political decisions, most recently in a fight over who would get the Democratic Party nod in the May 17 special election for a vacant state Senate seat.
Many absurdities of local politics could be straight out of sitcoms, but this really is strange. The idea that Jerry Mondesire is going to run (and almost certainly lose badly) out of spite, and not with any substantial complaint about Fattah at all, really makes it seem like we are living in TV land.


At 11:12 PM, Blogger Charles said...

I think that this all boils down to the old Northwest political alliances. Fattah wants to be the next Bill Gray, and he is not Bill Gray by a long shot is probably what Mondesire is trying to say. He will run and lose just to show Fattah that he can’t just get by without a fight. Fattah, like the article said, isn’t really popular in the Northwest. He and Tasco are jockeying for position, and Tasco has tangible support, where Fattah doesn’t and is in a position where he is just trying to piss off the fewest people possible.

I have never heard of this Mondesire guy, and his criticism of Fattah is probably more about stupid political jockeying than anything else, but it is an opinion shared by many people. I mean I still don’t know what Fattah has done, and he is my congressman, and I’d say that I am fairly politically astute. Sometimes it isn’t good enough to just not do anything wrong. Sometimes you have to actually so something.

One thing that I have learned by talking to certain political people that shall remain nameless is that from the outside, a lot of this stuff looks extremely petty and stupid, but in their world, the world of the politicos, these little petty things are everything. What looks like a baby step to us is a leap and a bound in their world. Sometimes I think that they are still just being petty, but other times, when you hear the whole story, things become clear.

At 11:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Other than a cool name, I don't really know if Fattah's all that effective as a congressman. He's my guy, and he's not very visable in the district.

At 9:50 AM, Blogger DanielUA said...

"I mean I still don’t know what Fattah has done, and he is my congressman, and I’d say that I am fairly politically astute. Sometimes it isn’t good enough to just not do anything wrong. Sometimes you have to actually so something."

I guess I am not sure what you expect, besides Pork, that a Democratic congressman can really do in a Republican controlled (very tightly controlled) House. Fattah, for example, proposes a bill on the equalization of school funding. Should he not do so? Should he "compromise" with Republicans on some awful bill, just so that the GOP can be given political cover and Fattah can have an accomplishment?

At 12:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Um, charlesdog12, you'd say you're "fairly politically astute" but you've never heard of Jerry Mondesire? The president of Philadelphia's NAACP chapter? Publisher of the Sun?

Well, at least we know where to file you and your remarks.

At 12:41 PM, Blogger Charles said...

I did say "fairly politically astute", not "extremely politically astute". I am still learning, as I go along. I do know enough to know what a Congressman has done in my neighborhood.

At 1:57 PM, Blogger DanielUA said...

New rule for Young Philly Politics: No slamming people as "anonymous," because it leaves you zero acountability.


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