Monday, November 4, 2013


"This is not what I signed up for when
I ran for Mayor."
This week, New Yorkers will elect their first new mayor in 12 years. Mike "Moneybags" Bloomberg, who never saw a personal habit he didn't want to outlaw, has run the show since my daughter was five years old. Now a high school senior, she's kind of like those Americans who grew up with Franklin Roosevelt as president. The big difference, however, is that Bloomberg has always been open about having a mistress. I met him once about ten years ago at a public event where he gave my daughter a high-five. I'm certain he whipped out the hand sanitizer the second she walked away. Bloomberg loves New York; it's New Yorkers he has a problem with.

Ever since the primaries a couple of months back, it's been pretty much a given that the Democratic candidate, Bill de Blasio, will beat the stuffing out of his Republican challenger Joe Lhota. Last week, in fact, marked the first time that Lhota came within 40 points of
Looks like Carrion's a real spoiler.
beating him. If he keeps this up, he should be triumphant by 2025. 

Yup, without  doubt, de Blasio was ready-made for moving into Gracie Mansion. In his early campaign commercials, he promised to raise taxes on the rich to pay for whatever "progressive" ideas he has up his sleeve. Having been involved in New York politics for years, de Blasio must have known that this was somewhat disingenuous; an increase in New York City's taxes must be approved by the state senate and the governor. Since the senate is controlled by Republicans, and Gov. Cuomo has been by and large reluctant to raise taxes, de Blasio would seem to have something of a tough row to hoe. (Recently, the tax-the-rich promise was reduced to a desire; in his latest campaign literature hogging my mailbox, there's no mention of it at all.)

They're cool.
But what New Yorkers really responded to was de Blasio's bright, good-looking family. A teenage son with an 1970s afro; a teenage daughter who, like the old song says, wears flowers in her hair; and a wife who is six years his senior, black and a former lesbian. (Somebody call the Fox network, we've got the next big sitcom on our hands!) It's the Kennedy family for the post-modern era. The kids have been trotted out in campaign commercials and personal appearances. Chiara, the daughter, has already promised that her dad isn't some "boring old white guy." (She would absolutely hate me.) His wife, Chirlane, is described as an activist and poet, proving that in these uncertain times even the wife of the future Mayor of New York has to hold down two jobs.

The local press, as you might have guessed, has gone gaga over the de Blasios. Except for the New York Post, which has been trumpeting his younger years as a supporter of the Sandanistas and visiting the "Communist USSR," to quote its headline over the weekend. But if you don't think Bill de Blasio isn't aiming for the White House one day, let me remind you that he started out in politics as -- you guessed it -- a community organizer. He went to parlay this by getting elected to another nebulous job, that of Public Advocate. Neither he nor anyone else to hold that office has ever advocated a thing for me, so I'm not sure exactly what they do to earn their pay except collect contributions from the teachers union. 

They're not.
Joe Lhota, on the other hand, possessing the personality of an over-ripe lemon and the oratorical skills of a somnambulist, never had a chance. Certainly, it didn't help that he was the former head of the MTA, which New Yorkers love as much as they do, well, transit delays, increased fares and rats running on subway platforms. Too, his desperate campaign commercials warning of New York's apocalyptic destruction under a de Blasio administration have all the subtlety of a race riot (hint, hint).  And while I'm sure the Lhota family is just as nice as the de Blasios, New York magazine would never put them on its cover. No matter that, like his opponent, Lhota's pro-choice, supports gay marriage and wants to decriminalize marijuana. New York Democrats have been starving for one of their own in City Hall since Rudy Giuliani got the ball rolling in 1993. To put it another way: imagine Vladimir Putin running for mayor of a city where the population is 90% KGB agents. That's not to cast aspersion on Democrats, mind you. I'm just making a comparison.

However... Bill de Blasio -- he of the "end stop-and-frisk" manifesto -- should remember that even scone-eating, latte-slurping, Vera Wang-wearing Upper West Siders have gotten used to living in a safer, cleaner New York. They even like the idea of having paid lower taxes the last decade or so. If a de Blasio administration really does usher in a return to the pre-Giuliani bad old days -- and trust me, they were bad -- he might find that not even the most photogenic children will win him a second term. Even KGB agents have a thing for law and order.


No comments: