"I'm So Bored of Michael Nutter," and Other Popular Sentiments

I think that the internet is probably kind of a scary place for people plugged into the mayoral race right now - I can't imagine what it would be like to make a decision based on the conversations that are happening here and elsewhere. You have the weirdly unsupported triumphalist screeds of Brady fans, and the continued mockery and boasting of the Doc/Knox 98 guys - whose genre might be described as "Fuck you, preppies." (Fair enough.) You have a mind-blowing array of racial code words (and sometimes not-so-code words) passing back and forth between Nutter and Fattah supporters. Ugh. Just, ugh.

And then there's an army of Nutterites, roving around the Web like the living dead trying to get into people's brains. They are immune to self-doubt, fanatical in their Nutter-glorifying, and harshly dismissive of anyone else's personal choices. In case there's been any doubt about it, let's spell it out: PEOPLE WHO LIKE THEIR COMPUTERS ALSO LIKE MICHAEL NUTTER. This is obviously a generalization, but it seems to be based on overwhelming evidence. The level of inspiration and devotion Michael has drawn, combined with the somewhat ungenteel practices of arguing on the internet, has rarely been pretty, and it's sometimes been downright stomach-turning. Not to mention tiresome. And yes, a lot of these people are privileged white people - totally beyond any argument about what "privilege" might mean as far as race and class go.

The thing is: that's not what the campaign itself is like. You'd expect to look into the office and see 87 29-year-old Caucasian dudes with facial scruff and glasses. It's not: it's a really remarkable array of ages, genders, and races, surprisingly representative of the demographic cocktail that seems to be about to vote for Nutter. Without any established GOTV organization or union endorsements, Michael's relying totally on volunteers (and over 4,000 small contributions) to make this thing happen, and the turnout's been really good thus far. The primary motivating factor doesn't seem to be any of the more sophisticated policy points that have been made about policing or taxes in this forum over the last few weeks. I think the prevailing sentiment is a desire for a mayor who will just. Do. SOMETHING. After years of feeling like they aren't plugged in to the network of back-scratching (and -stabbing) that characterizes Philly politics, the campaign gives them a chance to feel involved and proactive, and like they can be a positive force to get great things accomplished.

Most of the media endorsements thus far have leaned on Nutter's style - both in terms of management and on the campaign trail - over his policies. More on that in a minute. For the moment, isn't it weird that this unassuming bespectacled man has acquired so much momentum in this race? The fact that Nutter's a small-case politician - not a backslapping insider, or an outsize personality, or a dynamite public speaker (or, failing that, a multimillionaire) - has really worked in his favor. He's not cut from the same cloth as Rendell, or Brady, or Fattah. People see him as their dad, or their accountant, or whatever slightly awkward guy that they implicitly trust. I know it's become a cliche at this point, but he does really listen to people. Folks have probably seem him out talking to people on the street as much as they've seen him on TV by now. And while he's not quite an A+, his reform credentials are remarkably solid for a guy who has managed to get things done while on council. None of the other candidates can quite pull that off.

And yes, I'm surprised as any to find myself volunteering my time for a tax-cutting stop-and-frisker. My history largely intersects with left-wing lost-cause candidates - I went for Bradley in '00 and Dean in '04, to name a couple. I DO find stop-and-frisk troubling, although I think conflating the problems associated with stop-and-frisk with racial profiling is a categorical mistake. I think as a limited means of immediately quelling violence in the worst-off neighborhoods, it holds some promise; as noted elsewhere, Fattah seems to think the same thing. Nutter said today that if the tactic doesn't work, he'll switch tactics, which gives me hope. I also know that Nutter has a history of being reponsive to police excesses, as one of the leading forces behingd the police advisory commission, which gives me hope as well. There are certainly other, more "progressive" elements to Nutter's crime plan, including some good material dealing with ex-offenders and healing the psychological wounds of neighborhood violence.

I am entirely sold on the limited tax cuts that Nutter proposes as a means of attracting businesses to the city. I am excited for Stan to tell me that I am wrong and that Nutter has a hidden agenda to drown the city government in a bathtub. I think Nutter's really good on education, and I'm moved by his anger about what's happened to the Philadelphia School District.

My confession is that I started working for this campaign because Nutter enabled me to take my girlfriend out for a drink every once in a while; she moved here from NYC, and the smoke was killing her. Let's hear it for altruism and broad-based concerns! Before, I basically thought local politics here were confusing and dirty and weird - now, I still think all of those things, but I have some hope that they will be less so in the future, because I've gradually learned more and more about the city's political history and the potential for change encapsuled in this campaign.

Did I write another irritating Nutter testimonial? Crap. Well, as compensation for reading this far, here is a picture of an adorable four-legged duck. Best of luck to everybody during this crazy weekend.

I was also glad to read that

Nutter said today that if the tactic doesn't work, he'll switch tactics, which gives me hope.

It was a pretty clear statement and one I was hoping he'd preface the plan with.

Jennifer

Nothing I say is going to change anyone anymore

at this site. I just can't help noting that while Nutter has said he'll modify his stop and frisk policies if they don't work, he hasn't said the same about his tax policies. And it's not the stop and frisk policies that he spent four years of his life trying to get passed in Council. (I start counting in 2002 when he introduced the legislation creating the Tax Reform Commission.) Whatever, you summed it up JK, the folks who are for Nutter here are beyond conversation about it, it's just happening for them. So enjoy folks, we'll see how long the euphoria lasts if you get what you're working for. I sincerely hope you're right and I'm wrong, and Philly blossoms with new businesses whose heads got completely bent out of shape by our wonderful new tax structure. If not, I'll do my damnedness not to say I told you so . . . for a little while anyhow.

This was prettttty darn

This was prettttty darn funny.

The timing of this

"Fuck you, preppies." (Fair enough.)

was great.

And in defense of the scruffy bespectacled 29-year olds (I'm 27), we're not in the office so often. We love our computers too much.

Praise Be Unto Nutter...

... for in his bountiful blessings shall lie thy salvation."
--Book of Nutt, 5:15

I'm glad someone on Nutters side is able to admit how ridiculous some of the posts on this blog have been lately. From what I have read, there are three types of crazy Nutter bloggers:

1. The Fundamentalist Nutt: The almighty word of Nutter is the truth. Literal interpretation. No room for compromise, variance of opinion, or criticism. You cannot criticize that which is holy.

2. The Delusional Nutt: Nutter actually is a living hero and has never done anything wrong, questionable, or "dirty"... ever. He saves puppies from burning buildings in between council sessions. The simple nomination of Michael Nutter means that all problems in Philadelphia will immediately cease to be, and there is no possible chance that he may be unsuccessful in anything.

3. The Egocentric Nutt: This Nutter-Butter actually posts to congratulate themselves and other Nutts weeks away from the primary. The simple act of voting for Nutter is divine... and should damn well deserve some praise, a medal, or at least a really good cookie.

In any case, thank you JKFriz for posting a decent and well-written endorsement of him and for being able to laugh about it in the process.
_______________________
I support, but do not work or volunteer for Dwight Evans

good stuff

It's true, the devotion of the Nutter Butters can come across as a little over the top, but I do believe that we're a well meaning bunch. Besides, when you're stuck infront of a computer all day, that leaves alot of time for posting on the internets....what do you expect us to work or something?

And to add to the categories, there are the orignal Nutters...the ones who've been with him from the start...the O.N.s if you will. And the new, evangelical Nutters....A.P.s perhaps (after polls). It's all good though, plenty of room under the tent :)

I agree that Nutter Butters are over the top

but doesn't the Fattah crew sometimes treat him as a Saint? That's okay?

Kudos to Olivia

If Michael gets elected, as I expect he will now, it will be due to Olivia. It was a genius ad. It's kind of ironic that an intelligent, wonkish, detail oriented, sometimes single-minded, proven reformer that knows how to work the system better than virtually any other council members over the past twenty years will be elected mayor because of his 12 year old daughter. He has his personal flaws: he can be dismissive and smug. It was Olivia that humanized him and made him seem like a very acceptable and loving man. And his stop and frisk policy remains troublesome, both in its effectiveness and in its potential for other problems. And his tax cut policies may not yield all that many of us hope for.

But he has been effective over the past several years in getting his agenda passed in city council. He has been able to get the smoking ban passed. He was able to get the campaign finance limit bill passed. And he was able to keep the wage tax cuts incrementally continuing. All of these were done against pretty long odds. Yes, perhaps much of the city was also rooting for them, but it was Nutter's determination that pushed them through a fractured and somewhat dysfunctional council that typically likes to reward themselves, and their contributers, but play it safe with its policies that benefit the majority of Philadelphians. Perhaps just those three bills which he championed are enough for many reformers to lionize him.

I, myself, have a very different story that starts very close to home. Michael Nutter had been my councilman for 12 years, and I worked with both him and his office as a member of my neighborhood civic association board. So I know I would have voted for him based on my personal knowledge of him as a man and as a councilman, and also for his reform agenda.

That does not explain my contributing to his campaign and my zeal in trying to convert my friends and co-workers to vote for him. Several years ago he dramatically changed my life for the better. No, it wasn't with a job, or with anything that could be measured monetarily. He allowed myself and my wife to get a good night's sleep - literally. My home was very close to a apartment building that housed a lot of students at a local university. For a couple of years, most of the kids were good kids and only had the occasional late night party, which when they were reminded by neighbors that their were alot of babies, children and adults that had to get up the next morning and go to school and work, they toned it down or moved it inside.

About five years ago, however, there were this small group of students that weren't nearly so accomodating. They had extremely loud, outdoor parties four or five times a week until about 4 AM in the morning. We first appealed to their good nature, then notified the university, and then the building's owner. We called the Philadelphia police, and the university police 2 or 3 times a night on average 3 or 4 times a week. Nothing ever changed. The music went down when the police or campus security showed up and then went back up even louder after they left.

We were told by the students that had it not been for them that our neighborhood would be filled with a bunch of crack-smoking junkies and prostitutes, which didn't sit very well with us who spent dozens, if not hundreds, of hours every year cleaning up the neighborhood, and promoting an environment where all races, ages, religions and people felt welcome. We went up the ladder in the police department - past the precinct captain, and we went all the way up to the president of the university. Nothing ever changed, except the kids (granted a very small percentage of them) got ever more arrogant and out of control. They assaulted my wife and destroyed her camera. They spit and screamed obsenities inches from my face.

My neighbors and myself were at our wit's end. I know it sounds somewhat trivial, but try holding down a full-time job as well as working two other part-time jobs on several hours of sleep a night. We were beyond cranky, moving towards despair and anti-social revengeful remedies. That is until Michael Nutter crafted a bill that would hold the university responsible for the kid's behavior. Some said that it would not stand up to a constitutional challenge. We didn't care. We were grasping at anything that would allow this nuisance to end.

It worked. Like a charm. The university shut their partying down immediately.

Am I proud that that is why I'm somewhat of a Nutter zealot? No. Am I ashamed? No, or I wouldn't have posted it. In a city that too often says we can't get this done. Michael Nutter has. He has earned the privilege of being our mayor.

OK, there are three voters

OK, there are three voters at my address, but...

I just saw 9! pieces of anti-Nutter lit from Knox. 3 for each of us, including a duplicate of one of the pieces (which I think I also got yesterday.)

Crazy.

Yeah, I got the same two

Yeah, I got the same two this morning.

Robo-Calling

I just got a negative robo-call from Knoxwell. I remember when he said that Michael was the second most qualified person running for Mayor, besides himself of course. What changed :)

If Alren Specter believed that Nutter would run as a Republican

and tried to court him to run on the Republican ticket for Mayor of Philly. Not to mention that Nutter is a member of the DLC. Nutter will completely revive the Republican party in this city and destroy the progressive cause of reforming the Dem party from within. Take that to the voting booth with you when thinking about voting for Nutter.

Vote for Knox stop Nutter.

Stop Johnny Knoxwell!

Nutter didn't run as a Republican, why would he? He's a Democrat. What exactly will Knox do for the Democrats? Didn't he used to be a Republican? Hasn't he given money to Republicans? Vote Nutter, stop Johnny Knoxwell!

Tom Friedman...

of the NYTimes? It's expected that you would back someone like Nutter. Do you deny that he is in the DLC? Do you deny that Specter tried to woo him to run as a Republican? Knox has never been courted by Republicans.

Except of course, when he

Except of course, when he ran as one back in the day.

Yes indeed people who like

Yes indeed people who like computers like Michael Nutter but somehow this race has brought more angry sextogenarians who like Knox into computer land than I thought was ever possible. And they have a disarming knack for ignoring the bare bones of nicities their youngers have established in the medium and seem to aim directly at the knees, if not the crotch. Its quite a phenomena these angry older men.

Perhaps these will be the lasting gifts of Tom Knox - angry blogging seniors and the first real chance to discuss at least partial public financing of elections in Philadelphia and not get laughed at.

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