We can’t figure out which is more galling — a politician campaigning at a business where he’s not wanted, or a politician using deception in order to campaign at a business where he’s not wanted.
Let’s call it a tie.
Andrew Giuliani, the son of the former New York City mayor and Trump counselor, is now on the campaign trail seeking the Republican nomination for governor.
As most politicians do, Giuliani sees political value in campaigning in popular local places, where he can get his picture taken and talk to ‘regular folk’ about all the things he plans to do for them if elected.
If the politician is lucky, the staff will let him behind the counter to do some activity that endears him to the blue collar worker and the business’ customers, like tossing a pizza or flipping a burger or rolling some bread dough. They usually buy something to show they support small businesses. And if the business has ethnic roots and the candidate is seeking votes from that group, that makes the photo-op even more valuable to them.
Nothing wrong with that, we suppose. And as long as he’s welcome, why not?
But on Wednesday, Giuliani went where he wasn’t welcome. And his staff used deception to get him there.
That’s neither fair, nor honest. And it’s certainly not a quality voters want in an elected official.
Apparently desiring a photo op at Schenectady’s iconic MORE Perreca’s and Perreca’s Bakery, someone from the candidate’s staff phoned the business and asked if a ‘friend’ could visit.
The caller was deliberately vague and didn’t identify himself as a member of Giuliani’s campaign, or any political campaign.
Despite the employee saying he couldn’t really give permission without the owner’s approval, the staffer persisted and the employee didn’t object.
The campaign interpreted all that to mean that Giuliani could visit the store and use its history, ethnicity and popularity to promote himself and his message.
But the Perreca family has a policy as old as the business itself (over 100 years) of not mixing business with politics. And, co-owner Maria Perreca Papa said had she known the candidate was Giuliani, she definitely wouldn’t have given permission.
Business owners have a right to their own political views, and they have a right to decide if, when and how their businesses will be used in political campaigns.
You see the same thing when candidates incorporate music into their campaign rallies to capitalize on the popularity of the performer without seeking permission — disregarding the possibility that the performer might object to being associated with the candidate.
If candidates want to appear somewhere, campaign staff should be up front and honest about who they’re representing and what their intentions are. And if the owner doesn’t want them there, they should move on to another place.
Honesty and integrity are qualities people value in their elected officials.
Candidates should demonstrate that, starting on the campaign trail.