Close your eyes, and guess who is talking:
Candidate One: "I don't care who you are, whether you're black or white, whether you had a bad childhood--if you commit a crime in this town while I'm mayor, you're going to pay."
Candidate Two: "When it comes to human rights, I'm a stoned-out liberal."
The choices are Frank L. Rizzo, 62, the white ex-mayor, and W. Wilson Goode, 44, the black ex-city manager. If you made the obvious connections, you got it backward.
The Democratic mayoral primary here this spring has been full of those types of surprises. Philadelphia bears a strong ethnic and racial resemblance to Chicago, but unlike Chicago's mayoral race, the one here is a contest between two candidates doing their level best to keep racial passions from flaring.
"It simply isn't politically expedient in Philadelphia to exploit race," said Berit Lakey, executive director of the Fellowship Commission, a local civic group that recently held a news conference at which Rizzo and Goode pledged not to inject race or religion into the campaign.
Philadelphia is a typically unmelted, big-city melting pot that has endured its share of racial divisiveness in recent years. Both campaigns take it as a given that on May 17, the vote will break heavily along racial lines in a primary in which about 44 percent of the registered Democratic voters are black.
But the dialogue of this campaign has been almost entirely devoid of racial code words, and the tempera- ture of the electorate seems as cool as Chicago's was hot.
In a sense, Philadelphia has already had its Chicago. It went through a period in the late 1970s when blacks, after generations of electoral slumber, became angry about back-of-the-hand treatment from City Hall and started registering to vote in unprecedented numbers.
The results have been dramatic. In the last four years, Philadelphia has seen its first black city council president, its first black school superintendent and its first black city managing director (Goode) and has elected about a dozen new, young, independent black legislators to the city council and state general assem- bly.
"We just don't have to rabble-rouse anymore," said Chaka Fattah, 26, a state legislator from West Philadelphia who broke into politics registering blacks to vote against a 1978 charter amendment that would have permitted Rizzo to seek a third successive mayoral term.
"The race issue is very subdued now," said Fattah, a former community activist. "It's not part and parcel of the everyday campaign."
"When I'm out in the ethnic white wards, I pick up a sense of resignation about the idea of a black mayor," said Ed Schwartz, a progressive white community organizer running for an at-large city council seat. "The attitude almost seems to be, 'Well, it's inevitable.' "
With blacks in the political mainstream and whites growing more accustomed to the idea of sharing political power, a third factor has helped to keep the lid on in Philadelphia: the personalities and strategies of the candidates.
Goode projects a no-nonsense, businesslike image. In reaching to blacks and whites, he comes across as tough on crime, eager to work with downtown developers and mindful of the concerns of all neighborhoods.
"Non-threatening" is the favored word of his campaign; "non-smiling" is the running stump joke. "I've managed to get it up to a grin," said the somewhat stiff Goode, with a touch of self-deprecating humor that has blossomed during his first run for elective office.
Rizzo is all personality, full of charm and fire and eager to live down what he considers a bum rap as a racial polarizer. Thus the "stoned-out liberal" line and others of its ilk.
He did loose one explosion at a news conference two weeks ago in which he linked the Rev. Jesse Jackson with Palestine Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat and Libyan leader Col. Muammar Qaddafi, compared Chicago Mayor-elect Harold Washington with Al Capone and endorsed Republican Bernard E. Epton in the Chicago mayoral race.
Campaign aides said privately that Rizzo's attack on Jackson was planned but that the rest of the outburst was Rizzo on his own. Jackson, leader of a social action group known as Operation PUSH (People United to Save Humanity), had spoken in Philadelphia the day before.
Rizzo has since restrained his tendency to speak so boldly--"Vintage Rizzo," headlined the Philadelphia Daily News after the eruption--but strategists on both sides think he did himself more good than harm.
"They had to start activating their base," said Neil Oxman, Goode's media adviser. "Their campaign had been flat until then; the Rizzo-by-the-fireplace, older-and-wiser stuff wasn't getting them anywhere. They were going after a voter that doesn't exist."
Despite Goode's 19-point lead in the most recent television poll and a slightly smaller margin in a survey by his pollster, Patrick Caddell, Oxman said he believes "we've got a two-point race on our hands."
As he sees it, the candidates start with irreducible bases about equal in size--Goode with the black vote plus the 10 to 15 percent of the white vote that is vehemently anti-Rizzo, and Rizzo with the white ethnic vote.
"We're both going after maybe 10 percent of the white vote that is persuadable," Oxman said.
The fight for that vote has been an old-fashioned Pier Six political brawl, with each slashing away at the other's record.
Rizzo's camp believes that Goode entered the campaign with an inflated, goody-goody image and that he is ready for a fall.
"The bubble is going to burst on this guy, and the only ques- tion will be whether he comes down fast enough for us to win," said Jon Macks, Rizzo's campaign director.
Rizzo has begun hammering Goode for being No. 2 man to Mayor William J. Green, who earlier this month announced that the city is facing a $99 million deficit and proposed modest increases in the property, wage and business taxes.
He also claims that since the "Goode-Green" administration succeeded his in 1980, crime has gone up, trash collection down and "the only thing they've done on economic development is to cut ribbons on projects I started."
Goode fires back that, as mayor, Rizzo enacted the largest tax increases in city history, left his successor with a hidden deficit of more than $100 million, operated City Hall as a patronage haven and stood idly by while the city lost nearly 100,000 jobs.
Goode recently called Rizzo a "national embarrassment" after Rizzo had called Goode a "big zero."
But, to the relief of just about all Philadelphians, neither man is calling the other a racist.