Usually, I don’t do a lot of reporting on weekends.
With the schedule we keep here at Hall Monitor attempting to give you the best information possible about the shenanigans that come out of the Big Building On Broad Street, weekends are when we reclaim some of our time.
But when something you’ve been pointing out to whomever will listen finally gets addressed, and it requires you to do some reporting on a weekend, you do what you’ve gotta do.
Because of this, I’ll be among the reporters going to the Dorothy Emanuel Playground at 8500 Pickering St. in Ivy Hill — I’m not sure I’ve ever been there before — on Saturday morning to see John Fetterman speak to Philadelphians about his run for Senate.
U.S. Rep. Dwight Evans is going to be his opening act, which is probably why it’s happening in the only section of the city that Evans would ever hold an event of any kind in, West Oak Lane. But that’s another column for another day.
When I found out that Fetterman was coming to visit, I reached out to his campaign office to get the details on acquiring a credential because I wanted to ask dude a very basic question: Where have you been?
That’s a question that Philadelphians have been asking the Fetterman campaign since the primaries. While he had no problem going around certain sections of town with friendly council people or state legislators — read, Progressives — you couldn’t get him to meet with large groups of Philadelphians it seemed.
The most glaring of these un-visits was a political forum put together by the folks at Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church. How you blow off the congregation of one of the most influential Black churches in the largest city in the Commonwealth is something I’m still trying to figure out. I get that progressives fancy themselves as iconoclasts, but when Helen Gym, the woman who brought the progressive convention Netroots Nation not only goes into those churches, but makes sure she understands the history, you might want to follow her lead.
(Which is something that Fetterman’s campaign manager, Brendan McPhillips, should know all about since he ran Gym’s first campaign for City Council. Just saying.)
When I talked to Fetterman’s press secretary about what his beef with Philadelphia was, I tried to be nice. Having worked on a campaign in that capacity, I know just how much power you DON’T have regarding what the candidate does, where he or she goes, who they speak to, etc. That’s just one of the many reasons why I decided long ago to stay on this side of the political campaign infrastructure.
(That, and the fact that when it comes to their communications people, some politicians become a lot like crime, meaning that they don’t pay. But again, that’s another column for another time…)
But while we here in the City of Brotherly Love and Where Most Of The Commonwealth’s Voters Live understand that the Lt. Governor has had some health challenges and is recovering from a stroke, we can’t help but notice that you’ve gone to Pittsburgh, Erie, and more than a few other places that weren’t Philadelphia as part of your recovery tour.
Especially since you didn’t come here much, if at all, before the stroke.
Whether or not the Fetterman campaign wants to admit it, if he wants to be Pennsylvania’s next senator, he’s going to need to spend some time here.
And by time, I don’t mean just going to friendly spaces where people are predisposed to supporting you. I mean talking with groups of people who have spent 12 years being totally ignored by the Senator that was supposed to be representing them.
If they think you’re going to do the same, you give them no reason to vote for you. Just saying…