Can The Penguin Make Gotham Great Again?

Can The Penguin Make Gotham Great Again?

A Conversation with Nancy Poole and Diego Soto
October 3, 2016

The article below may contain spoilers from Gotham Season 3, Episode 3.

The Gotham Chronicle recently spoke with two local experts about the upcoming mayoral election, specifically about the recently announced candidacy of Oswald Cobblepot, a.k.a. the Penguin.

Former City Gotham Council Chairwoman Nancy Poole is decidedly pro-Cobblepot, saying his unorthodox approach to politics is exactly what Gotham needs right now to restore order and make this city great again. Diego Soto, a local community organizer and contributing editor to the Chronicle’s politics blog, takes the opposite position. Soto fears Cobblepot’s rise is indicative of corrupt system that has permeated throughout Gotham for too long.

The following conversation between the two was recorded at the Chronicle’s offices earlier this week. It has been lightly edited for clarity and readability.

Diego Soto: Miss Poole, it’s a real pleasure to be with you today. I’m a great admirer of the work you’ve done as a member of the Gotham City Council. But honestly, I’m surprised to hear that you think Oswald Cobblepot would make a good mayor for this city.

Nancy Poole: Many thanks for the kind words, Mr. Soto. I also admire your work, especially your recent articles covering Indian Hill. People tend to paint Mr. Cobblepot as a criminal, but I think he’s as much a victim of the corruption and dysfunction in Gotham as anyone else. Yet somehow, he’s risen above it all. His promise to put Fish Mooney and other criminal elements in their place is exactly what we need right now. Anyone who believes otherwise has been snowed by the same crooked politicians they claim they want to get rid of.

Soto: Many Gothamites feel the same way. The thing I can’t get over is that Cobblepot has been linked to just as much illegal activity as, say, Fish Mooney. But speaking out against crooked figures like Mooney, or even Dr. Hugo Strange, doesn’t automatically make you one of the good guys. We know that the criminals of Gotham are always fighting amongst each other in an effort to control over certain aspects of the city. I mean, we shouldn’t forget that Cobblepot spent time in Arkham.

Poole: True, but Arkham is a rehabilitation facility and Mr. Cobblepot was rehabilitated. People who suffer from mental illness and have had tough pasts should still be allowed to run for public office. We all have our demons.

Soto: That’s a generous statement, and one that I agree with, in part. But a candidate’s past has to be considered. Gotham deserves — it needs — someone great right now. The streets are overrun with monsters, and scandal has infiltrated every aspect of the city government and law enforcement. We need a hero, someone who is pure of heart, who only has the best intentions for Gotham.

Poole: Like bounty hunter Jim Gordon?

Soto: (Laughing) I mean, I’d vote him!


Poole: Let’s get back to Cobblepot. For all of his problems, he is polling remarkably well, especially with working-class families. A Chronicle poll from two days ago found that over 60 percent of Gothamites think he would make a fantastic Mayor.

Soto: Cobblepot is the new kid on the block. He says things that other people are afraid to say. He’s got what we call outsider appeal, so it doesn’t surprise me that he’s so popular right now. But mark my words, the longer he remains in the limelight, the more people will begin to see through him. I mean, has he even had an official press conference? Has he presented any real ideas for bringing change to Gotham other than yelling about finding Fish Mooney? Getting revenge isn’t the same thing as facilitating change.

Poole: You see, I feel the exact opposite. I think the more people hear from him, the more they’ll realize that it won’t be politics as usual with him in office, and the more popular he will become. Don’t underestimate the people of Gotham, Mr. Soto. All they want is for this city to be great again.

Soto: I think that’s what we all want, Ms. Poole. Some of us just have different ideas of what great means.