Another knuckle-head against Nutter!

In addition to receiving the endorsement of the Philadelphia Inquirer in Philadelphia's mayoral election (more infra), Councilman Michael Nutter has garnered the endorsement of the city's two left-wing weeklies -- the Philadelphia City Paper and Philadelphia Weekly.

That Nutter's statist views are anathema to libertarians seems to a plus among his fellow leftists, with the Philadelphia Weekly going out of its way to toss libertarians a gratuitous insult:

The man is also a pit bull when he believes in something. You got to be like that in this city.

If not, you get eaten alive.

Take that smoking ban.

To make that pass, he had to fight through the mayor's ever-changing timetables, through tavern owners who thought their businesses would cough up profits, through hipsters who thought their nights out would lose their edge, through knuckle-headed libertarians and through a culture that always finds something inherently wrong with change of any kind.

Yet today we no longer smoke in our bars and restaurants.

And really, who's still complaining? (Emphasis added.)

Um, is that a rhetorical question? Every time I see a waitress or bartender smoking a cigarette outside of a bar I wonder whether that's just a bartender losing tips or whether it might be the owner -- forced to leave his own business to partake in a something that once was his own business.

Who's still complaining? Knuckle-headed libertarian that I am, I'm still complaining.

And I worry about things I haven't complained about, because Nutter strikes me as one of those government-loving types who is chronically incapable of minding his own business. (Nutter loves red light cameras, natch. And he promises more cameras -- presumably all around the city.)

Well, at least the Philadelphia Weekly called him a "pit bull." Considering my close and loving relationship with Coco, and my love of determination, shouldn't that warm me to him?

Actually, I'm such a libertarian knucklehead that it worried me. Because I know from experience that statist types like Nutter love nothing more than going after personal freedom anywhere they can find it. If it's not cigarettes, it's gun control, and if it's not gun control, well, the latest thing is dog control.

I was all set to go into hypothetical rant mode, and opine gratuitously that Nutter is "just the type of statist" who'd be so low as to go after people's dogs. But that would have just been knuckle-headed me, shooting off my knuckle-headed libertarian mouth without any evidence.

So I had one of my knuckle-headed hunches, and was I ever right!

I don't think it's any exaggeration to describe Michael Nutter as an out-and-out anti-pit bull bigot:

According to Hendricks, Fourth District Councilman Michael Nutter is the only Council member so far to answer his letter. Nutter sides with Hendricks, and has no qualms about advancing the possibility of City Council completely banning pit bulls in Philadelphia.

"We definitely need to have a conversation about it," Nutter says. "Although a total ban is extreme, I think it's time for extreme action. These are nasty, despicable animals used primarily to scare and intimidate people, or to protect those involved in illegal activity. The problem, of course, is not so much the pit bulls but the irresponsible owners and breeders. They deliberately mistreat the dogs to make them vicious, and they're a menace to many Philadelphians."

Nutter says the city can make an appeal to the state for changes in the breed-specific rule, either striking it down or asking for an exemption within city limits.

"It's definitely a quality-of-life issue," Nutter goes on. "Neighbors in my district have complained bitterly about pit bulls and their owners in the community. They use the dogs as tools of intimidation and as weapons, and decent people fear for their safety. It's been an ongoing problem and it's got to stop."

Sounds familiar, and rather than rant I should probably start thinking about getting out of the area, and moving to some place where people like Michael Nutter don't want to kill my "nasty, despicable animal."

Funny thing is that on Wednesday I criticized Nutter for using the word "genocide" in an improper manner, and today I find myself tempted to repeat his rhetorical mistake. But I won't, because the word "genocide" does not apply to dogs.

Still, I can't help wondering why anyone would vote for a man who couldn't make it any plainer that he finds liberty as nasty and despicable as he finds a particular breed of dog.

I can't speak for Coco, but over the weekend she had a doggie play date in North Philadelphia, and among her friends was a loveable orange pit bull with amber eyes whose favorite activity was clambering around on an upside-down rowboat. The two of them fell in love at first sight. Unfortunately I didn't get a picture of the "nasty, despicable animal" that Michael Nutter wants to euthanize for the good of Philadelphia, but Coco is already pining away for him.

And I'm pining away for lost freedom in one of its primary birthplaces.

UPDATE: I didn't dwell much on Michael Nutter's position on gun control, because it's no different than any of the other candidates -- all of whom believe that Philadelphia should be passing its own gun control measures in direct violation of state law:

Nods, too, across the board that Philadelphia needs, somehow, to circumvent Harrisburg's handcuffing on gun control. Each of the candidates said they support city council's gun control measure -- though Chaka Fattah worried about its constitutionality -- and each said they'd stand behind a lawsuit against the state legislature.
Yes, Philadelphia is suing the state legislature for its "negligent failure" to pass gun control laws -- a move so asinine that Eugene Volokh and Glenn Reynolds actually treated it as an opportunity for humor. (BTW, Philadelphia is having trouble finding a lawyer to take the case, and the Inquirer seems to be downplaying the story by burying it in the back pages. Who knows? They might find it embarrassing to the city. I'd hate to be the city's lobbyist in Harrisburg right now....)

But hey, life goes on, and voting means selecting from the best of the available alternatives. As far as I'm concerned, right now Chaka Fattah deserves to win simply for acknowledging that there is such a thing as a Constitution. Progress is progress.

MORE: In a great Fox News piece which seems to have anticipated Michael Nutter, Radley Balko compared pit bull control to gun control:

Both policies [pit bull legislation and gun control] are misguided, and penalize responsible owners for the sins of criminal owners.

To borrow a phrase from the gun rights movement, when pit bulls are criminalized, only criminals will own pit bulls.

Coco and I agree!

AND MORE: Lest there be any doubt as to where any politician running for Mayor should stand, the Philadelphia Inquirer makes it abundantly clear that the principal issue in the election is that guns and crime are synonymous. The cartoon (a map showing Philadelphia as guns) accompanying the Inquirer's question about crime pretty much sums up their editorial position, and the view of the candidates:


In other words, Philadelphia's problem is that guns = crime. And according to the Philadelphia Police Commissioner, the 32,000 concealed carry permit holders are part of the problem. (Never mind that CCW permit holders are more law abiding than any other group of citizens.)

Ironically, because of the unanimity of agreement, the gun issue is both the biggest issue in the campaign, and the one generating the least debate.

The Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms is a fringe idea around here.

You'd almost think the goal was to chase law abiding gun owners out of the city.

UPDATE (05/13/07): The kneejerk gun control mindset in Philadelphia is (IMO) a pretty good example of the "parliament of clocks" described in this Chicago Boyz post which Glenn Reynolds linked today.

posted by Eric on 05.11.07 at 08:33 AM


Knuckle heads against nutters.

I like it!

M. Simon   ·  May 11, 2007 8:46 AM

It is all about power and control, Animal Farm should be required reading for these people.
They are not willing to invest, but think they should have control over others investment.
Second thought maybe they really are the pigs!

Hugh   ·  May 11, 2007 9:00 AM

What doesn't he like about Libertarians? The idea that relations with your fellow man ought to be voluntary?

M. Simon   ·  May 11, 2007 4:44 PM

Massachusetts is doing the doggie control thing too:

Some people are incapable of living and let live I guess. My theory is that it's a form of OCD.

jan   ·  May 11, 2007 7:54 PM

While I generally consider myself a left leaning “statist”, as I am thourhouly convinced that most people are not smart enough to take care of themselves, I am forced to agree that Nutter is an idiot (though you did not say that, I will choose to imply). My wife and I are adopting a pit bull and know many people who have pits and pit mixes. They are great dogs and I will not vote for anyone who advocates a dog ban. I hate to be a one issue kind of guy, but since I like dogs and cats more than I like most people; I will have to take my wacky liberal vote elsewhere.

joe   ·  May 14, 2007 9:40 PM

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