Rudy versus the Rev.: An outdated NYC motif

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Spin Cycle

News, views and commentary on Long Island, state and national politics.

At one point in the 1990s, the racial cast of New York City political debate may have been roughly represented in the opposed personas of Mayor Rudy Giuliani and the Rev. Al Sharpton.

Even if municipal politics in the five boroughs nowadays hasn't become "post-racial" or "post-ethnic," it may be safe to call this period post-Sharpton and post-Giuliani.

In other words, it's not about those two anymore -- presuming it ever was.

On its own, Sharpton's facile pigeon-holing of former Giuliani deputy mayor Joe Lhota, described here, as a continuation or resumption of Giuliani-style animus, stands to have little effect on voters. That's because 12 years after Giuliani left office, any of the Democratic candidates -- in a city with six times as many enrolled Democrats as Republicans -- is guaranteed to play the "don't-go-back-to-Rudy" card if Lhota's the GOP nominee. 

Point is, Sharpton doesn't hold the franchise on viewing Giuliani as an albatross among African-Americans. And Lhota, perceptive as he is, undoubtedly knows he must make his electoral case on his own -- notwithstanding the attitudes, personalities and policies of anybody who employed him.

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