The liberal "alternative" paper Philadelphia Weekly (PW) has taken aim at former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R) for his October 1 stop at Geno's Steaks (h/t Blonde Sagacity). What's so political about a lunch stop? PW took issue with owner Joey Vento's strong conservative views on immigration and immigrant integration. Given Giuliani's decidedly more liberal immigration stance when he was mayor, the PW sought to make Giuliani's lunch run a symbol of pandering to "xenophobic" intolerance:
On the way to a fundraising event, he stopped by Geno’s Steaks at Ninth and Passyunk, and embraced Joey Vento, the biggest symbol of ignorance, intolerance and immigrant-bashing in the U.S. today. Vento’s thinly disguised abhorrence of brown people—don’t just take our word for it; his vile screeds are available with the simplest of searches on YouTube for all to see—has been an ongoing embarrassment to the city and to the brotherly love we allegedly stand for. Though widely known for the discourteous sign he posted in the window of his cheesesteak stand—“THIS IS AMERICA: WHEN ORDERING ‘SPEAK ENGLISH’”—Vento’s ever-multiplying xenophobic statements about Hispanics on the Fox News Channel and at rallies around the country reveal a far deeper viciousness.
Of course there's a simpler explanation for Giuliani's stop: Geno's makes damn good cheesesteaks and the owner is a strong Giuliani backer. It'd be rude for Rudy to not drop by when in town. To its credit, PW did allow for comments from Philadelphians to chip in their two cents. Many contributors echoed the liberal lament of the PW, including Philadelphia Tribune columnist Linn Washington, Jr., who said "the dude's a pig" in reference to Giuliani. Yet others, such as conservative blogger Ala of Blonde Sagacity, defended the mayor's visit:
Presidential primaries always amuse me. Considering most of the candidates have very similar views, the campaigning devolves into nitpicking small, inconsequential details or blatant ad hominem attacks against members of their own party. In Philadelphia we have our own unique and bizarre litmus test for the candidates involving the cheesesteak. Will the candidate go to Geno’s or Pat’s? Will they order their steak correctly? Will they eat it with their hands or commit the cardinal sin of using a knife and fork? Rudy Giuliani’s recent trip to Philadelphia is a glaring example of how important these mundane details have become in American politics. Because of his socially liberal positions on many issues, Giuliani must do anything he can to reassure the right that he is indeed a conservative. His visit to Geno’s was another symbolic step in that direction. As silly as it may seem to outsiders, if he had moseyed over to Pat’s it would’ve been a huge insult to Philly conservatives (all three of us).