The political luminaries who attended the funeral of assassinated New York City policeman Rafael Ramos on Saturday included Vice President Joe Biden, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. Also in attendance was former New York governor Mario Cuomo.
It’s perhaps interesting to note that all of them are Democrats. According to New York 1, the only big-name Republican attending the ceremony was former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani.
But other prominent Republicans? Including the possible 2016 presidential hopefuls? There was no sign of them. Some 25,000 police officers from around the country made the trip, but not any of the leading GOPers.
This is a curious omission. After all, “law and order” has been a frequent Republican theme since the 1960s. Ronald Reagan, for example, was first elected governor of California in 1966 on a tough law-and-order platform. Two years later, in 1968, Richard Nixon won the White House using the same strong message.
But today, in 2014, leading Republicans don’t seem interested in making an issue out of “law and order.” Why? Perhaps Republicans feel invincible, based on the recent midterm election results, the GOP might believe that it doesn’t need to take on another issue. Or perhaps Sen. Rand Paul’s outreach to Al Sharpton and other urban activists on policing has caused the whole GOP to hesitate about appearing too “right wing.”
If so, Republicans might be making a major miscalculation, because “law and order” is destined to be a major concern in 2016. Not only is there the unresolved issue of safety on the streets — Middle Americans, following the ominous news, are buying guns in record numbers — but there is the further issue of the impact of Obama’s immigration amnesty. What will it be like on the mean streets of urban and suburban America? Will we be importing more of the violence that has plagued Mexico? There’s only one sure answer: We will soon find out.
In the meantime, in the political vacuum left by the GOP, ambitious Democrats have seized their opportunity to reclaim at least some of the law-and-order turf; hence the presence of Biden, Cuomo, and de Blasio.
Mayor de Blasio, of course, is loathed by the NYPD and has little credibility as a law-and-order man. Yet even his worst enemies can’t deny that the was there at Christ Tabernacle Church in Queens. His speaking-role at the funeral can only help him in the future as he seeks to fend off the accusation that he is “soft on crime.”
Indeed, the same fill-the-void dynamic appears to be true even in the media: CNN provided much more coverage of the funeral than Fox News.