Last night was not only Mischief Night, it was also the third and FINAL debate of this interminable mayoral election season. That's right, if you missed out on last night's hot master debator action, you're SOL until 2017, when Mayor Lhota and Alec Baldwin are expected to duke it out for the title. Oh yes, if there's one thing last night's debate made clear, it's that simplistic boxing movie analogies are exactly what this election cycle's been missing. Joe Lhota revealed that there's a reason you're always confusing him with Sylvester Stallone—he's Rocky Balboa, you see.
Lhota's resemblance to Rocky is so obvious we don't know how we missed it: the dark, flowing mane; the rippling muscles; the wiry athleticism; the Italian pedigree. "These comments about attaching me to the national Republican Party, it reminds me of that boxing match between Rocky and Drago,” Lhota declared last night, referring to Ivan Drago, the Soviet antagonist played by Dolph Lundgren in the 1985 boxing film Rocky IV. "We know what happened in that match: the underdog won. Quite honestly, I am that underdog." To which de Blasio replied:
This debate was less rancorous than their previous meeting, and there wasn't much there we haven't heard before. Lhota sought to portray de Blasio as inexperienced, while de Blasio painted Lhota as Giuliani Lite. This always infuriates Lhota, who demanded that de Blasio give specific examples about why Giuliani was such a fascist pig. De Blasio brought up Giuliani's handling of the Patrick Dorismond, a black security guard killed by an undercover narcotics detective in 2000, weeks after the shooting of Amadou Diallo.
Dorismond, 26, was killed by the plainclothes officer outside a West Side bar; several undercover cops had approached him in an attempt to buy drugs as part of the Giuliani administration's controversial buy-and-bust strategy. But Dorismond was not a drug dealer, and his response to the officers' request for weed led to an exchange of insults that escalated into fisticuffs. During the fight, Dorismond was fatally shot at close range by Anthony Vasquez—a grand jury later decided the shooting was unintentional, but the city settled a civil lawsuit for $2.25 million.
Giuliani drew enormous criticism in the weeks and months following the shooting, first by refusing to meet with Dorismond's bereaved family, and then by releasing his adult and juvenile records (the latter are supposed to remain sealed), which revealed that Dorismond had been previously convicted of disorderly conduct. As the investigation was just getting underway, Giuliani publicly argued that Dorismond was no ''altar boy."
"I don’t think that’s divisive at all," Lhota said flatly, by way of rebuttal. De Blasio shot back, "He obviously does not understand what millions of New Yorkers experienced during the Giuliani years." Frankly, we're still trying to understand it ourselves.
In the lightning round, the candidates were asked who they'd pick to perform at their inaugural parties. Lhota went with The Allman Brothers (we got no problem with that) while de Blasio said Bruce Springsteen. The latest Quinnipiac poll shows de Blasio crushing Lhota 65% to 26%, so unless de Blasio runs naked through the 9/11 Memorial fountain screaming "INSIDE JOB!" it's gonna be "Glory Days" in January.