The inaugural of Bill de Blasio was totally vulgar and classless even by the vulgar and classless standards of the Left.
Got to love this reference to The New York Times [a]s Mona Charen quipped, if the Chinese Communists buy it, the paper will definitely be more rightwing.
by Ron Radosh
In the 1940s, the New York City subways and buses were represented — as they still are now — by the Transport Workers Union, whose chief at the time was “Red” Mike Quill. A fiery Communist who left the Party in 1948 but remained firmly on the political Left, Red was famous for his quip: “I’d rather be called a Red by the rats than a rat by the Reds.”
I’m certain that New York City’s new mayor, Bill de Blasio, wishes Quill were still alive. He would then have a major ally to work with when the time came for the MTA to negotiate a new union contract with the city. Judging from his inauguration, a parody of a left-wing gala dreamed up at the U.S. desk of the Castro brothers’ Foreign Ministry, de Blasio has taken his big win as a mandate to create social-democracy in one city.
De Blasio has pledged to make his term as mayor the time for implementation of a war against inequality. My colleague Roger L. Simon thinks he and those with him do not believe a word of what they say, that it is all “high comedy” and they “can’t be serious.” I disagree. The rhetoric may be old-fashioned and seem corny, but de Blasio is a certified red diaper baby, he was born and bred in an ideological cocoon of Marxism, and later, by his own word, was inspired by the Sandinistas in Nicaragua and Castro in Cuba.
He chose whom to appoint and who would speak at his inauguration, and if the talk was inflammatory and ideological, it was de Blasio’s intention. He would take the high road and let the words of his apparatchiks and celebrities like Harry Belafonte talk the talk for the true believers who would provide the inspiration. As Slate writer Matt Yglesias quipped on Twitter as he watched the speeches: “Daring of de Blasio to appear on stage with the embalmed corpses of Lenin, Mao, and Ho Chi Minh at his inauguration.”
Actually, it was not corpses who spoke. Rev. Fred A. Lucas Jr. told the audience that New York City was like a slave plantation run for the wealthy. Belafonte falsely asserted that Mayor Mike Bloomberg had increased the concentration of African-Americans in the city’s prisons. The city’s newly elected public advocate, Letitia James, called for a government “that cares more about a child going hungry than a new stadium or a new tax credit for a luxury development.” All this was even too much for the New York Times editorial board, who called the speeches “backward-looking … [and] both graceless and smug.” As for James’ comments, they were “the worst among them.” And Belafonte’s remarks, they noted, were “utterly bogus.”
Perhaps the owners of the Times were afraid that next on the mayor’s agenda might be Hugo Chavez-style press control or, God forbid, a takeover of the paper by the mayor’s press office carried out by administrative decree. No wonder the paper is considering a bid to sell to a Chinese magnate. As Mona Charen quipped, if the Chinese Communists buy it, the paper will definitely be more rightwing.
Jim Epstein, writing at The Daily Beast, understood what de Blasio is about better than anyone. Let him aim away, he writes, pointing out that “[h]is new job won’t afford him the political power of Lenin or Mao — or anything close to what would be necessary to reshape the city’s demography.” His plan to raise taxes on the rich will collapse in Albany where the state’s budget is created, the city’s budget has to be balanced by law, and he doesn’t have on hand the money he promised to the labor unions when new contracts are negotiated. Actually, he is only beholden to the teachers’ union in particular, since only they backed him in the primaries and did the legwork on his behalf.
The tragedy is that leftist do-good programs for the poor are self-defeating, and could make the city far worse. Moreover, they are based on a faulty understanding of why big cities like New York have both rich and poor living in their domain. Writing in the New York Daily News a few months ago, Ed Glaeser, a professor of economics at Harvard, explained that the city’s “extreme inequality reflects other extraordinary aspects of New York: the massive global financial markets based here, America’s most accessible public transit system, hyper-dense immigrant communities and broad social services, like public housing. These forces attract both rich and poor to New York, and New York should not be ashamed of that economic diversity.”
The poor flock to New York for the reason that it is there they think that there will be mobility that will let them eventually move up the ladder, making it what Glaeser believes is a “viable home for the poor.” It is and has been a port of immigrants who come to America via New York and view it as the starting place for their journey into the middle class.
Then there is the classic failure to comprehend the results of good intentions. Making the public welfare system give more to the poor in the form of various subsidies, Glaeser warns, means more of the poor moving to the city and hence an increase in the inequality. It also means more middle-class people moving out, as well as the wealthy that leave again for the suburbs or other states.
Malanga’s ten-year-old prediction proved accurate. He also wrote that the council, in passing extremist legislation that hurt the economy, “could have political ramifications for years to come, because the council serves as the local political minor leagues, preparing candidates for higher office in New York.” Indeed. The result is Mayor Bill de Blasio, a dream of the far Left coming to fruition. [……..]
So welcome, New Yorkers, to your future. The crowd at the inaugural cheered former Mayor David Dinkins — New Yorkers alive then well remember his time in office as a period of increased crime, a lack of basic services, higher taxes, a takeover of the streets by de-institutionalized mentally ill patients, and inefficient city government. Those who followed him in office successfully made the city a safe place to live and work in by undoing Dinkins’ failures.
The left favored what was bad for the city. Now with their man in office, New York City residents can see the past as their future.
Read the rest – Comrade De Blasio takes the helm
Peggy Noonan has Comrade Bill pegged correctly with his despicable class warfare rhetoric. As Rodan and I have mentioned many times – New York City has become a victim of its fantastic success of the past 20 years (1994-2013). So many residents in New York City are not old enough or were not even born when the City was in its crime ridden doldrums (late 1960’s – 1993) that the hipsters who habitate trendy neighborhoods such as Boerum Hill, Williamsburg, Park Slope, etc. take it as a given that it is a safe place to live.
by Peggy Noonan
Cities sometimes make swerves. That’s what New York did in November when it elected a left-wing Democrat, Bill de Blasio, as mayor. The city was saying, “Enough with the past, let’s try something new.” There’s no doubt they will get it.
Mayors Rudy Giuliani (1994-2001) and Mike Bloomberg (2002-13) led a renaissance of the city, which had half-killed itself in the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s with bankruptcy, labor unrest and high crime rates. The city was thought to be unworkable, finished. For Mayor Giuliani the job was to stabilize, get the criminals off the street, let people feel safe again. Once that was done New York’s natural hunger and high spirits would reassert themselves, businesses would thrive and hire. He left behind a safer, more prosperous city. And there was the parting gift of his last days as mayor, during 9/11 and its aftermath, when—love him or hate him—he showed what a leader looked like.
Mike Bloomberg, sworn in weeks later, had to lead the city as it righted itself, got over the trauma and refound its confidence. His job was to shake off the ashes and dust, expand and diversify the economy, help create jobs, lower crime rates even further, move forward. He succeeded. The other night at his last dinner as mayor, one of his daughters’ eyes filled with tears as she thanked him, in a toast, for leaving behind a city that her son could be proud of, love, and live in forever.
These imperfect men with their imperfect administrations and their big mistakes—they made a masterpiece. In the past 20 years, other American cities were going down—Detroit most famously—while New York not only became again what it was, the greatest city on the face of the Earth, but it looked like it, and felt like it.
Why did New York swerve from that path instead of continuing on it? A lot of reasons. You have to have some years on you to remember New York when it didn’t work—to even know that it’s not magically ordained that it will. You have to be older than 30 or so to remember when it wasn’t safe.
In 1991, there were 2,245 murders in New York. In 2013, there were 333. If you’re a 20-year-old voter, or a 40-year-old voter who came to the city from elsewhere, you don’t remember 1991, and how it felt. You don’t remember garbage strikes and grime. Your vision of the city is as it was in the Giuliani-Bloomberg era, a city ever rising.
And New York is a Democratic town. Sooner or later it was going to swerve. Though the largely untold story is that voter turnout in November was historically low. Only about a million of 4.3 million registered voters showed up at the polls. Bill de Blasio won in landslide, but it was a landslide from a severely reduced pile of voters.
No one knows exactly what’s coming, but Mr. de Blasio’s inaugural address on Wednesday was not promising. Whether you are a conservative or a liberal, you can choose, as a leader, to be a uniter or a divider. Mr. de Blasio seems very much the latter. He is on the side of the poor and the marginalized, which is good, but he took every opportunity to jab at those who are not poor and don’t live on the margins. “Big dreams are not a luxury of the privileged few,” he said. Whoever said they were? He is a political descendant of those “who took on the elite.” New York “is not the exclusive domain of the One Percent.” Who said it was? [……]
This mayor will “reform” the stop-and-frisk policy of the New York Police Department. Exactly how, he didn’t say. But stop, question and frisk has been part of the kind of policing that helped New York reduce crime.
“We will ask the very wealthy to pay a little more in taxes so that we can offer full-day, universal pre-K and after-school programs for every middle school student.” The wealthy should not complain. “Those earning between $500,000 and one million dollars a year, for instance, would see their taxes increase by an average of $973 a year. That’s less than three bucks a day—about the cost of a small soy latte at your local Starbucks. SBUX -0.29% ”
There was no mention of the most famous impediment to educational improvement and reform: the teachers unions.
Mr. de Blasio acknowledges that his “progressive vision” is not supported by everyone. “Some on the far right continue to preach the virtue of trickle-down economics. They believe that the way to move forward is to give more to the most fortunate, and that somehow the benefits will work their way down to everyone else. They sell their approach as the path of ‘rugged individualism.’ ” But don’t worry, he doesn’t want to “punish success,” he wants to “create more success stories.”
It isn’t hard to unpack this. Those who oppose Mr. de Blasio are greedy and uncaring. They don’t offer a point of view, they “preach,” and what they preach is that the poor should be satisfied with the crumbs that fall from the tables of the rich. They “sell” this argument—my goodness, they’re trying to make money even while discussing politics—but the flawed product they peddle is “rugged individualism,” a phrase that hasn’t been used in this city in a century. [……..]
An inaugural address is a big thing. It declares an agenda but also sets a tone. An attitude. The tone Mr. de Blasio set was that of a divider.
A uniter’s approach would have been one that was both more morally generous and more honest. It wouldn’t set one group against the other, it would have asserted that all New Yorkers are in this together. Something along this approach: “To those who earn half a million dollars or more a year, we know and understand that your weekly paycheck is already subject to federal, state and city taxes. Which means we know you already contribute a great deal, and not only through taxes. So many of our citizens are deeply civic-minded. They give their time and effort to helping their local churches and synagogues; to building civic organizations; [………]”
What was absent in Mr. de Blasio’s remarks was a kind of civic courtesy, or grace. The kind that seeks to unite and build from shared strength, the kind that doesn’t demonize. Instead, from our new mayor we got the snotty sound of us vs. them, of zero-sum politics.
It was not a promising beginning. Or rather what it promises is unfortunate. I already miss Mike.
Read the rest – New York’s Divider in Chief