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Daily Howler: Bob O'Connor never gave up. God bless Bob O'Connor
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WHAT WE SAW ON HOT METAL STREET! Bob O’Connor never gave up. God bless Bob O’Connor: // link // print // previous // next //
MONDAY, OCTOBER 23, 2006

WHAT WE SAW ON HOT METAL STREET: We’re back from a pair of incomparable comedy events, designed to get out the vote in November. Last Friday, on Pittsburgh’s Hot Metal Street, we shared the stage with our old friend Will Durst, and with several of Pittsburgh’s finest, including hilarious Allegheney county executive Dan Onorato and Rep. Michael Doyle. Montana governor Brian Schweitzer also took part in the fun, bringing his 77 percent approval rate all the way from his large western state. A similar event followed in Philly last night.

Friday night, at the annual Allegheny County Democratic Committee Kennedy-Lawrence Dinner, we listened to governors Rendell and Schweitzer, and to Senate hopeful Bob Casey. But we thought the most memorable presentation was offered by the son of the late Bob O’Connor. O’Connor was elected mayor of Pittsburgh last November, dying in office just last month, at the age of 61.

The younger O’Connor summarized his father’s public life. Because we thought his central comment was so memorable, we can come close to quoting him. “He worked hard. He worked for the average person. And he never gave up,” O’Connor said of his father. And then, he briefly abandoned his prepared remarks. I can see the tears have already started, the younger O’Connor said.

Pittsburgh has never been a fancy-pants place. As happenstance would have it, we had already noticed that the ballroom was full of the “average people” for whom the late Mayor O’Connor had worked. But then, it’s “average people” who decide the nation’s course when they go to the polls and vote. Their values and opinions must be addressed when progressives and liberals do politics.

To us as outsiders, it was obvious that Pittsburgh’s Democrats remember Mayor O’Connor with feeling. His son wasted few words in describing a man who had earned that warm regard.

STARTING TOMORROW: We plan to spend several weeks on Harris and Halperin’s new book, The Way to Win. This week, we’ll look at some of the book’s shortcomings. Next week, we’ll review its high promise.

TREAT YOURSELVES: Do you live in the D.C. area? If so, why not go see Brother Durst at the D.C. Improv this week.