Chicago Greg is gone, but who will take his place? As attention turns to the November 3 general election, those who tried to ignore the outgoing mayor must now sort out his would-be replacements. Problem is, the top two vote-getting candidates don't have much flavor to distinguish them. They're both nice, bland, white Democrats from North Seattle (though in a non-partisan race). Just a coupla dudes in Dockers knocking back Bud Lites at your backyard barbecue; and afterward you can't remember which is which or who's married to whom. ("One of them had a beard, I think...")
To recap, there's the no-to-the-tunnel guy, Mike McGinn, and the T-Mobile guy, Joe Mallahan. And that's about where public awareness begins and ends. The election is only two months away, and they need some nicknames, stat. So we've devised a few possible handles for them to try on.
First for McGinn...On-the-Level Mike See, he's opposed to the expensive deep-bore tunnel, but he's also a regular fella, just like you and me. Pants one leg at a time, and all that.
McG It's young, it's edgy, it's in-your-face, it's fresh and now. And if voters think he's the same dude who directed Terminator: Salvation and Charlie's Angels, so much the better.
Mike the Bear It's the beard, the schlubby physique, the beer gut that marks him as being one of us. He's smiling, jovial, a Teddy bear of a guy. Or to translate for our friends on Capitol Hill, he's a bear, only straight.
Mr. No Only got one issue? Make it a virtue.
Biker Mike We get it: Sierra Club lawyer who cycle-commutes to save the environment and display his eco-virtue. It's a little obvious, but being obvious in Seattle politics never hurts. Perhaps he should wear his orange reflective safety vests to press conferences.
The Great McGinn Film buffs familiar with the 1940 Preston Sturges comedy The Great McGinty, about a rascally corrupt pol who accidentally goes straight, will dig the reference. And the entire staff at Scarecrow will vote for him.
McGreen Again, you can't make these things too obvious. Spell it out to voters. Wear hemp clothes, brush your teeth with rainwater you collect from your gutters. Accuse your opponent of using plastic shopping bags.
Pirate Mike Work that look. Just add parrot and eyepatch. He's an outlaw, a brigand. And the swashbuckling makes Mallahan look like a bit of a prig.
And for Mallahan:
Jo-Mo Embrace the brand association with T-Mo, a high-tech company with many local workers. Sure, it may not be as good a network as Verizon, or have sexy handsets like the iPhone, but Jo-Mo says he's connected, a veritable human WiFi hotspot.
iJo Short, sweet, 3G-compatible.
The Mallinator He's an unstoppable techno-governance machine. He will dig that tunnel by hand if he needs to.
Regular Joe Remind people that while you worked for a Bellevue telco, you're Wallingford through and through. Your kids go to public schools. You wear cargo shorts and Crocs on weekends. Beer from a can. Also, lose the metrosexual eyeglasses and stop shaving.
The Shoveler Again, if that's your issue, work with it. Dig, baby, dig!
Techno Joe Embrace the legacy, secure the geek vote. Issue your press releases in Ascii, declare your love for Futurama, court those citizens who only care about download speeds and game controllers. You write code, you love code, you bleed code.
Jö In a contest between two similar-looking white Irish Catholic liberals with similar-sounding names, dare to be different! Jö could be a fragrance for men, a Swedish electronica band, a new Belltown bistro...or the next mayor of Seattle!