The Back Page: Look Out Gotham, Here Comes Harvey Dent!

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[edit] "The Back Page" by George Mazzala: Look Out Gotham, Here Comes Harvey Dent!

If you weren't paying attention yesterday, it was easy to think that Harvey Dent had cloned himself in order to get in front of as many TV cameras as possible. He seems to have more energy than a nuclear power plant, flying from one end of the city to another to address the cameras in his forceful, blunt manner. It was clear yesterday why insiders say the most dangerous place in Gotham isn't Crime Alley - it's the space between Harvey Dent and a microphone. Don't be caught there - Dent stops for no one and no thing when it comes to free publicity.

Dent's media marathon started at a well-orchestrated event at Ground Zero in Narrows to boast of his public tip line for public corruption. What with Dent looking morosely but firmly at the devastation, and his furrowed brow as he gave comfort to the widows from that day, who could ask for anything more? All Dent needed was a full-string orchestra to really set the mood any more. We can all be thankful that he skipped the strings and instead imported dozens of overjoyed fans, who happily chanted "Stop Cop Rot!" during the event.

Then, when the gang warfare in the city seemed to explode, Dent knew exactly what to do. Rush to the cameras. He marched to the steps of City Hall, where he knew that a hungry pack of journalists would be demanding answers from city officials. Dent has never seen a publicity opportunity he didn't like. What was his brave position on the running gun battles in the city? He opposed them.

But Dent's media madness didn't end there. When word came that a young girl was killed in the crossfire at an Italian festival, Dent courageously rose to the occasion and joined yet another press conference. This time, Dent placed himself next to the grieving parents and milked as much indignation and righteousness as he could out of the tragedy.

Unbelievably, he even exploited the darkest moment of any parent by making a show of meeting with the grieving mother and father. Does Dent have any shame?

And what about the fact that Dent is constantly drawing attention from the District Attorney, the eminent Roger Garcetti? Dent is shamelessly stepping over Garcetti to reach his beloved cameras. It's classless, uncouth, and very revealing of the shallow, ceaseless ambition of the man.

What does one make of Dent's incredible media tour de force? I mean, this guy has more cameras on him than a super bowl half-time show. Insiders are already whispering that he's acting less like a lowly city prosecutor and more like a candidate for something.

Just read this little excerpt from Dent's "impromptu" speech after the tragedy of the murdered Italian girl.

In the face of a tragedy like this one, we want to be rescued. We hope the police will save us, or the government or the National Guard. But the National Guard couldn't save New Orleans and all the government really wants to save is money.

The honest cops are outnumbered, the dirty ones won't help, and waiting for someone to save us all is sheer fantasy. The only people who can clean up Gotham are the citizens of Gotham herself. We are the answer. We must rescue ourselves.

Gentle readers, this is not a city attorney speaking. This is an ambitious and gifted politician speaking.

Dent is a man in a hurry, and all his hucksterism means that his eyes are on his boss's office. Garcetti and Dent have never gotten along. Garcetti seemed to have sensed Dent's opportunism from early on. Soon enough, I predict, we'll see a battle between Dent and Garcetti that will recall the best days of heavyweight boxing.

That election is what's really weighing in on Dent's feverish mind, not crime. He's looking for an issue to ride into the DA's office, and there's no better one than crime and corruption.

If Garcetti wants to keep his oak desk, he better start learning from Harvey Dent. Better yet, he better start following Harvey Dent around. Because that's where the cameras are.

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