Jack Wagner used to be a pretty bold guy who took the lead on daring new policy issues, but that phase of his political career has long been over. The appropriate time to wrap up his career was when he left the Auditor General’s office. That would’ve been just enough Jack Wagner. But now he’s like the last guy left at the party, who’s too busy talking at you to realize you just want him to go home.
The Pittsburgh Mayor race would benefit from an elder statesman in the mix who’s free from the pressure to win reelection, and who’s been around long enough to have a breezy encyclopedic knowledge of public policy. That could’ve been Jack Wagner. But that is not the guy Jack Wagner is choosing to be in this race. Either he’s playing dumb in an effort to avoid controversy, or he’s gotten sloppy on city level issues.
Bram Reichbaum rounds up Wagner’s frustratingly vague answers to pertinent city questions on PCNC:
Jack’s failure to share any special wisdom on pensions is especially troubling, given his latest role in government and municipal pensions being the statewide tidal crisis on which Pittsburgh “hangs ten”.
Is Wagner not a details guy? Is he still playing catch-up on Pittsburgh issues? Does he not have a fundamental interest in urban policy? Or was it all just a bad egg salad sandwich? I don’t know what is going on.
But it makes one recall that also his recent answers on social issues questions were unfleshed-out and disappointing. In several ways already, this is seeming like a ginormous step backwards from Luke Ravenstahl.