Like many in the local Twitterverse, we had a chuckle last night when Councilman Jim Kenney revealed, as seen above, that he just didn’t know who Taylor Swift was. On this count, at least, trust us, Councilman: Ignorance is bliss. But as we began to size up — for the first time, really, as both Kenney and fellow Councilman Bill Green approach what already feels like inevitable candidacies – what a Jim Kenney mayoral campaign would look like, it quickly dawned on us: It will look, and be, very square. And the same goes for Green, too.
This isn’t about Taylor Swift, either — although, depending on your viewpoint, it’ll be either a relief or kind of a letdown going from a mayor who moved mountains to get in the frame with Jay-Z and rapped at a sneaker store opening to a guy who doesn’t know who Taylor Swift is and once paid someone to Tweet for him. (Though we really don’t want to harp on this, Kenney’s other Grammy Tweets reveal that maybe his whole paid Tweets bit was really a “first thought/best thought” kind of thing; by contrast, Green’s Tweets reveal an on-topic focus that show, in his mind at least, he’s already running for mayor.) What it’s really about is this: The next mayor’s race, if it’s all about Green vs. Kenney, will look less like the deeply progressive, inspiring race Nutter ran in 2007 race and more like, oh, say, 1977 or 1987.
Why? Because, whereas Nutter ran on the steam that came from knowing he was always an odd man out as a reasonable, sharp and intelligent soul in City Council, Green and Kenney are entrenched Philly poltical players. Both At-Large Councilmen, Kenney has been in Council since 1992; Green’s father was a one-term Philly mayor, from 1980-1984. These are guys whose dominant political mode is a kind of corny, low-level rabble-rousing that can barely even work on the rabble. We once saw Bill Green stand outside the Fishtown branch of the Free Library, then up for closure as Nutter was pondering difficult budget cuts, and put the Mayor on blast, spittling out the phrase “one-term Nutter” as if the Mayor was some kind of GOP book-hater who got off on closing down libraries. Green, please. Kenney, for his part, once famously co-floated (with, good Lord, Frank DiCicco) the idea of suing Facebook and Twitter because they were used by the flash mob kids. These men, though they may love this city with all of their hearts, are less than nuanced politicians.
None of this bodes well for 2015. In fact, the more we think about it, the more a simple plea becomes apparent: Will someone else please run?
Update: Correction: Both Green and Kenney are Councilmen At-Large, not district Councilpersons. Philebrity regrets the error and has edited the above accordingly.