Here's our last thoughts on Henry Bauer, Republican At-Large candidate for City Council.
The question voters will have to ask themselves (but we know they won't) is should a disgraced judge be running for any office? We've already knocked down the argument that the folks who removed him from office were "liberal" and "soft on crime." That is mere propaganda. In fact, a majority of people on the Commission were Republican appointees.
Should we vote for a man that systematically forced plea deals, convicted defendants in the absence of the defendant or counsel and who made up rules of law? Talk about judicial activism.
The answer is, of course not. The reality is that a Bauer candidacy would be considered a joke in most places. But we do not live in most places. We live in the Capital District.
If Bauer had acquitted himself well as judge, we'd be hard pressed not to endorse him. We simply cannot do that given the circumstances of his removal from office. Bauer apologists will find all sorts of excuses to condone his behavior but, intentionally or not, they miss the point. It wasn't, and isn't, about being tough on crime. It's not a judge's job to be tough on crime. It is a judge's job to be a fair and impartial. Like Chief Justice Roberts says, "a judge is an umpire, not a player."
Therefore, we urge you to vote no on Bauer.
We say this with a heavy heart. Henry Bauer is a bright, articulate, thoughtful man. If he is elected, we hope he will bring his best traits to the City Council, and reject the blatant partisanship that has infected our city for years. At his best, Bauer will be a good addition to the council. A much better choice than many on the ticket. If elected, we're willing to give Bauer the benefit of the doubt and watch and wait. He's certainly has more potential than many on the council, especially Armet who, on his best day, is a pompous, empty-suit blowhard.
If Bauer is elected Council President, it presents many interesting possibilities. Harry will need Bauer more than Bauer needs Harry. Bauer is smarter and more articulate than Harry. Bauer knows how to reach across party lines. If the two come into conflict over any issue, we won't be surprised if Bauer outmaneuvers Harry at every turn.