Milquetoasts do not win elections
If anyone expected Joe Lhota to be able to play Giuliani, they were disappointed. Like so many Republicans, including Mitt Romney, Lhota, despite being down over 40 points, was too afraid to hit a man whom the media decided was "likable".
And so Lhota is going to lose. Unless the welfare class and the unions licking their lips at being able to eat the city whole and spit out the crumbs on what's left of Detroit somehow decide to stay home on election day, New York City will have a radical left-wing mayor.
And it's Lhota's fault.
Obviously Lhota is running against the media. A lot of Republicans are these days. And when you're running against the media, you better either have an outsized personality that can shine through, which he doesn't, or serious attack dog skills.
Lhota has a reputation for the latter, but it's not obvious. The man who shows up at the debates is too afraid of being seen as a mean guy. Giuliani once upon a time had that worry. Then he got over it. And he won.
Milquetoasts do not win elections. Not unless the media spends all its time manufacturing a fake brand for them. Or unless their opponent forgets to take his medication and says something so unpardonable that even the media can't cover up. And the media can cover up a lot.
Bill de Blasio was a political activist for a murderous Communist regime that burned churches and synagogues. And the media will make a federal case out of a Lhota sneeze.
That's what Lhota is up against and he is only slowly coming to that realization, which, like too many Republicans, has only made him more timid.
If you're going to take on a liberal messiah, then you either hit hard or go home. Hitting hard won't always win the day. The media will hit even harder. That's why this isn't a game for the weak. You have to bring it 24/7. You have to make sure the nasty gibes don't take you down or characterize you as a loser by fighting non-stop.
Too many Republicans still imagine that they can play by Lindsay rules as long as they share his liberal politics. They can, occasionally, until they go into an election that really matters. And then the media stops caring that you're for gay rights, abortion and everything but budget cuts. And it dismisses you if it can or eats you alive, if it can't.
Despite being down 40 points, Lhota was not prepared to fight hard enough. And it's not just his loss. It's New York's loss. His boss pulled back the city from the brink. Bill de Blasio will toss it into the hole.