By Chuck Strouse
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Poor Joe. Poor crazy, fucked-up, mentally unbalanced Joe. Why is the whole darn world against you? Why won't people just leave you alone?
Is it because your upper lip has begun doing this weird disappearing act whenever you launch into one of your tirades? Is it because your gait recently has assumed the comic aspect of a man wobbling around on stilts? Maybe it's the monotone you've adopted lately, which makes you sound sort of demented. Or could it be that the public simply can't trust a man who looks like he's wearing a cheap toupee?
But it's your own hair, isn't it Joe? It just looks phony. You can't help it if God made you a lipless, stiff-legged, paranoid freak with a bad comb-over. So why must they persecute you?
Poor Joe. Poor, poor Joe. Just look at what the press around the nation is writing about you.
The Atlanta Journal and Constitution said your decision to fire City Manager Donald Warshaw reminded the paper of another sad moment in this country's history. "It was strangely, and sadly, reminiscent of the 'Saturday Night Massacre' during the Watergate scandal, when President Nixon ordered the dismissal of special prosecutor Archibald Cox, but had to fire two attorneys general before he found one who would carry out the nakedly political act," wrote Richard Mathews, a member of the paper's editorial board.
Crazy Joe and Tricky Dick. That's bad company to be in, Joe.
"I don't want to tell Miami its business, but I think it's time to call Janet Reno and have her send in the SWAT team to snatch Mayor Joe Carollo. Joe is the guy who fired the city manager because he refused to fire the police chief. Joe wanted the chief fired because the chief didn't tell Joe when the Elian raid was going down. The chief didn't tell Joe because Joe is a raving lunatic. Don't take my word for it. Turn on one of those cable pseudonews shows and watch him rant like a paranoid despot."
Ouch. Don't they realize you're human and that nobody feels the pain of being Joe Carollo more than you? As Shakespeare might wonder about our mayor: If you prick him, would he not bleed? If you tickle him, would he not laugh? If you poison him, would he not die? And if you properly medicate him, would he not be somewhat less delusional?
The Baltimore Sun and the Boston Globe, in separate editorials, even had the gall to declare that Chief Bill O'Brien was a hero and that his decision to keep you in the dark about the Elian raid was completely justified. "Any doubt that Miami Mayor Joe Carollo would have obstructed the raid given the opportunity was resolved when the mayor went for the chief's head for not having tipped him," the Sun's editorial states. "Had the mayor had his way, there might well have been violence, especially to Elian, from zealots and goons blocking the house. It is not often that an elected executive nails his colors to the mast of anarchism, but Mayor Carollo has just done that."
Anarchism. You may want to look up that word, Joe, but trust me, it's not good.
"The politics of it is excruciating," the editorial continues. "Mayor Carollo is a divisive figure with fairly negative ratings among Cuban Americans, who comprise 55 percent of Miami's electorate. He played to this constituency, losing the respect of the African-American fifth of the electorate and of English-speaking whites, the third-ranking group. He polarized the city along ethnic lines for personal advantage.
"What stands out is that Chief O'Brien lost his job for doing it, with Mr. Warshaw a collateral casualty. Mayor Carollo brought political venality at the sacrifice of law and order to a new low."
The Washington Post called you Miami's "showboating mayor" and argued that you are more than just divisive; you also are dangerous. "This is a case in which people have insisted upon a right to defy the law in order to demonstrate opposition to a dictatorship that they condemn precisely -- and rightly -- because it is lawless," the editorial asserts. "Mayor Carollo is a minor figure on a crowded stage, but in his shabby retreat from the responsibilities of office, he has made himself a symbol of that inconsistency. He does the larger cause in behalf of which he professes to act no favor."
In a way, Joe, they are saying you are no better than Castro himself. The Post even felt the need to lecture you on the guiding principle of a free society. "Democracy ceases to function when a rogue executive will not enforce the law," the Post intones. "That's the destructive -- not just divisive -- path down which this mayor was headed, and from which the city was saved in part by the police chief who has now left office."
And did you see what our neighbors to the north have to say about you? The Sun-Sentinel declared that now, more than ever, Miami needed a leader to rise up and help this community heal. "Instead," the paper opined, "it is stuck with a mayor, Joe Carollo, who shows every sign of returning to the bad old days of living up to the nickname Crazy Joe and ruling by despotism and demagoguery."