This picture (right) is one of six on Mayor Greg Nickels' re-election website, under the heading "Senator Barack Obama Visits Seattle." Obama's face is in two of the pictures - Nickels' face is in six. There are, we guess, several hundred photos of the mayor on his site - at least seven on every page, and a panoply of videos, six alone from his Monday kick-off breakfast. Not enough? There's always the picture page - 66 snaps of the mayor in action: signing a bill (for the viaduct tunnel, true cost unknown); speaking at a rally for the climate (it remains mostly unchanged) and making Seattle beautiful (apparently by smiling for the camera).
But obviously it's not just Nickels' well-oiled re-election machinery and brimming campaign coffers that spell doom for those who dare challenge his reign - there's the overwhelming advantage of incumbency. You wanna see pictures of da mayor? Go to City Hall's website, sponsored of course by you the taxpayer. If his photo isn't on every page - thousands of them - his name usually is. Click on the page headers: "Business," there's a story about Nickels as head of the U.S. Mayor's conference; click "Community," he's pictured calling for volunteers; click "Arts & Rec" and he "kicks off the summer;" click "Climate" and he's protecting it. Go to the mayor's own page, and you start with three pictures of him before moving to, say, his seemingly endless video page of appearances on City Hall's TV channel or at press conferences such as his "walking tours" where he leads reporters around a neighborhood while extolling his accomplishments.
It is all done in the name of informing the citizenry, you see, even if it always happens to be good news and he's the one announcing it with a blissful grin. The big picture from all those little pictures is that Nickels is Seattle's omnipotent leader, the most-publicized and photographed mayor of our times, and as both a slick candidate and almighty office-holder, he takes unmatched advantage if not disadvantage of today's high-tech mass communications to reach voters. In other words, there are seven other candidates in the mayoral race. Picture them defeated.