BIANCHI ‘FOURTH’ SIGN FIRES FIRST SALVO AT MARCHETTI; CAMPAIGN 2011 UNOFFICIALLY BEGINS, and BARE-KNUCKLES BATTLE IS PROBABLE
By DAN VALENTI
PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary
BIACHI SIGN FIRST SHOT ACROSS MARCHETTI BOW
(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, SATURDAY, JULY 9, 2011) —The Boring Broadsheet didn’t mention it, of course, because they didn’t know it happened (sound familiar?). THE PLANET, however, couldn’t help but notice the huge “BIANCHI FOR MAYOR” sign placed in direct view of the muster area for the 4th of July parade in Pittsfield.
Peter Marchetti, who had other things on his mind that morning, noticed. Mayor Jimmy Ruberto, who’s enjoying his lame duck status, noticed it. Ruberto claimed the sign was illegal and wanted to send officials to the Bianchi camp ordering them to remove it. Marchetti said no, and he made the right call. He followed one of the best pieces of advice ever given for those who play on the public stage: “Don’t chase criticism.” When you ignore the shots, they usually lose momentum and fall harmlessly away.
What’s it Going to Be, Then: Run to Win or Run to Govern?
Bianchi’s ploy with his Fourth of July billboard indicates he’s going to play for keeps. Actually, that’s the only way to run for public office. Candidates have two choices: They either run to win or they run to govern. The first choice will use almost any tactic to secure victory. The second choice keeps the campaign lofty, talking about “issues.” Fact is, though, the high road leads to second place. As horsehide philosopher, Leo Durocher put it, “Nice guys finish last.”
Can candidates do both? Can they run to win AND run to govern. In theory yes, but in actuality, no. Campaigns in the 21st century are simply not designed for thoughtful deliberation. The electorate lives hurried, worrisome lives. Many have barely enough time in the day to keep their frantic lives above the rising waters of challenge.
Campaigns have become exercises in bumper-sticker logic. Points must be made pithily. Sustained, intellectual engagement has gone the way of the fedora. Most people don’t pay attention. Many are disgusted with politics and politicians and have stopped participating. Those that do follow campaigns want their information in a hurry.
Interestingly, this plays into the hands of the bloggers, who will continue to become THE media kingmakers. Newspapers are dying and losing influence. TV and radio can’t bother. Cyberspace will be where it’s at, baby.
Campaign 2011’s X Factor: THE PLANET
Campaign 2011 in Pittsfield, assuming we don’t decide to retire to Austria and keep bees, will have an X Factor to contend with: this web site. We weren’t in existence in 2009.
THE PLANET will cover what the Boring Broadsheet isn’t smart enough or brave enough to cover. THE PLANET will employ a vast network of contacts that take you inside the races.
We won’t waste time on matters that won’t count. We will focus on difference makers and deal breakers. In a close election — run at a fever’s pitch between two competitive, smart, well-organized and well-financed men — our words will carve their way into enough of our audience to, perhaps, become THE factor. We don’t shy away from that responsibility.
Our demographics tell us THE PLANET’S readers are more engaged than the general public, and more importantly, THEY VOTE. Like it or not, candidates and camps of candidates, THE PLANET is on board.
How Do You Define ‘Dirty’?
Will Campaign 2011 get “dirty”? No one knows, since no one can properly define the word in a way that suits everyone. Most of us know it when we see it, but the difference between “slinging mud” and “adopting a full-court press” lies in the eyes of the perpetuator.
In 2009, Ruberto justified running his campaign out of the Greylock Federal Money Store, with the oily Angelo Stracuzzi applying butter to the skids. Oh, sure, the mayor’s “official” HQ stood on the corner of Fenn and North (nudge nudge, wink wink), but the back-filled smoke rooms (not a typo!) were at Greylock. It was the worst kept secret in town, after the one that had No Show Speranzo plotting to stab Berkshire County in the back.
Some insiders say the 2009 campaign was one of the factors in why Greylock’s “What, Me Worry?” board never let on what it knew about their sainted CEO and his encounters with teenage boys, the police, and the courts in Biddeford and York County, Maine. Not one of them — not Ruberto, Stracuzzi, Greylock’s John Bissell, or any of the board’s members — admitted to the illegal politics being carried on in the bank. They wouldn’t even admit that they were using Greylock to muscle a grieving Ruberto past a resurgent Bianchi.
The Contest Will Be Down to Bare Knuckles
Marchetti has said he will take the high road, a stance he has slightly altered since Bianchi’s sign salvo on the Fourth of July. His camp is certain Bianchi will run dirty. Marchetti has since altered his position slightly. He says he run clean, take two “unfair” shots from Bianchi, and the third time, he says, the gloves come off.
In September, the race for mayor will weed out the wannabes. Yes, we will put up with the protests from Joe Nichols and the rest. We will remind all the “others,” though, that, barring the startling unforeseen, only two will be standing: Peter Marchetti and Dan Bianchi. No, this is not an endorsement. No, this is not THE PLANET trying to influence the outcome. Yes, this is THE PLANET acknowledging the cold, neutral logic of Campaign 2011, mayoral division, Pittsfield style.
When the results are announced Tuesday evening of Preliminary Election Day, it will be Bianchi and Marchetti. THE PLANET speculates that by then, the contest will be down to bare knuckles.
LATER, WE WILL HAVE JOSH CUTLER’s GAME STORY FROM BWP AS THE PITTSFIELD COLONIALS GO FOR THE SWEEP AGAINST NEWARK. IN THE DAYS AHEAD, WE WILL ALSO BE REVIEWING “TOMMY,” THE BERKSHIRE THEATRE FESTIVAL’S FIRST PRODUCTION AT THE COLONIAL THEATRE.
“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”
LOVE TO ALL.