Bill de Blasio’s Vision: Striking Progressivism

 

I am not from New York. I do not live in New York. I will probably never live in New York, though I love to visit New York. I remember my first trip there when I was still in college. Those were the pre-Rudy days and I was robbed, but I was young and resilient and romantic. Even in that moment, New York was nothing but glorious for me, a modern day Rome, though I was happy when the city got safer, and I had a very cosmopolitan brother make his way to a little apartment near Battery Park.

When I managed to spend a weekend in his city, he would help me navigate the subways and take me out for the best pizzas and go with me to see up-and-coming plays that were still off-off Broadway. We ate cheese and drank wine from a terrace that allowed a view of the Statue of Liberty if you stretched just a little and squinted. He knew the first magazine to which I ever subscribed with my own money was The New Yorker, so it seemed an irony to us when he built a life in that place while I remained an outsider living in much smaller towns much further south.

Even so, it is with interest that I occasionally look closely at this city that has produced so many strange characters in American politics, including our current president. I will still pick up and read some magazines that are openly New York-centric, and I will sometimes find myself amazed at how much I feel like an ideological foreigner when considering the ideas that swirl around Manhattan. I think it is very important to always engage with ideas, but … whoa.

This brings me to Bill de Blasio. He is the current mayor of what I have always viewed as one of the greatest cities on the planet.

Therefore, it was with great interest that I read an interview of de Blasio in a September edition of New York magazine. I thought many of the answers were politically smart responses to what were real questions, which surprised me.

For example, I don’t know much about de Blasio’s workout habits, though I gleaned they’ve been a matter of some controversy. Standing here thousands of miles away, de Blasio’s statement that “if the worst you can say about someone is he goes to the gym, that’s a pretty good situation in today’s world” sounds imminently reasonable.

But then I got to the questions that showed me who de Blasio is, and I will admit I do not understand why New Yorkers aren’t terrified of him; why they don’t see a man who wants to rob them in plain daylight of their very ability to make their own decisions.

I’ll share just one question and answer from the interview that made me happy I don’t live in the modern day Rome with people who would put into power this mayor who has all the right degrees and all the wrong ideas. The core of what he thinks is … breathtaking. And he was elected with more than 70 percent of the vote when he first ran. It seems he’s on track to be re-elected in November.

Reporter: In 2013 you ran on reducing income inequality. Where has it been hardest to make progress? Wages, housing, schools?

Bill de Blasio: What’s been hardest is the way our legal system is structured to favor private property. I think people all over this city, of every background, would like to have the city government be able to determine which building goes where, how high it will be, who gets to live in it, what the rent will be. I think there’s a socialistic impulse, which I hear every day, in every kind of community, that they would like things to be planned in accordance to their needs. And I would, too. Unfortunately, what stands in the way of that is hundreds of years of history that have elevated property rights and wealth to the point that that’s the reality that calls the tune on a lot of development.

I’ll give you an example. I was down one day on Varick Street, somewhere close to Canal, and there was a big sign out front of a new condo saying, “Units start at 2 million.” And that just drives people stark raving mad in this city, because that kind of development is clearly not for everyday people. It’s almost like it’s being flaunted. Look, if I had my druthers, the city government would determine every single plot of land, how development would proceed. And there would be very stringent requirements around income levels and rents. That’s a world I’d love to see, and I think what we have, in this city at least, are people who would love to have the New Deal back, on one level. They’d love to have a very, very powerful government, including a federal government, involved in directly addressing their day to day reality.

It’s not reachable right now. And it leaves this friction, and this anger, which is visceral. I try to explain the things we can do. It’s a little bit of a Serenity Prayer–let’s talk about the things we can fix. The rent freeze we did reached over 2 million people. I’ve talked to people who were going to be evicted, and we stopped the eviction by giving them a free lawyer. And I’ve talked to people who got affordable housing under our plan for 200,000 apartments.

Wow, right? Just … wow.

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  1. I Walton Member
    I Walton
    @IWalton

    He ran as a Communist and is just being consistent.   What he and most New Yorkers don’t understand is that their government already has most of those powers, that’s why the condos are so expensive.  Anybody who is still a communist after the twentieth century is a child or insane.   It would seem he’s a little of both.

     

    • #1
  2. Manny Member
    Manny
    @Manny

    Well, I’m a New Yorker (all except the first three years of my life) and the only place you would feel ideologically at home is my home borough of Staten Island.  The rest of New York consists of either out right open radicals and blue collar ethnic types that typically vote moderately Democrat.  Therefore the Democratic Party has a lock on the electoral politics.  Democrats rule the roost.  A candidate like De Blasio – the worst mayor of my adult lifetime – can get into power by appeasing the power structure within the party, by building his bona fides with one half of the Dems (in his case the radicals) while reaching an understanding the other half (the blue collar ethnics).  Unfortuantely he aint going anywhere.

    A Republican like Rudy could only get in if the conditions in the city are dire and require someone outside the box to fix.

    • #2
  3. Poindexter Inactive
    Poindexter
    @Poindexter

    I Walton (View Comment):
    Anybody who is still a communist after the twentieth century is a child or insane.

    Or a tyrant.

    • #3
  4. OldDan Rhody Inactive
    OldDan Rhody
    @OldDanRhody

    Lois Lane:(Quotation from De Blasio’s interview): I think people all over this city, of every background, would like to have the city government be able to determine which building goes where, how high it will be, who gets to live in it, what the rent will be.

    [snip]

    That’s a world I’d love to see, and I think what we have, in this city at least, are people who would love to have the New Deal back, on one level. They’d love to have a very, very powerful government, including a federal government, involved in directly addressing their day to day reality.

    If mayor De Blasio is correct in his assessment of what people actually want, then we are in serious trouble indeed.  God help us.

    • #4
  5. Bob Thompson Member
    Bob Thompson
    @BobThompson

    I’m glad it was the reasonable answers to some of the questions that surprised you. In some ways, de Blasio stands as a beacon for those Americans who still love America and want it to be great again. He is the very best example of what NOT to do. No surprises here.

    • #5
  6. Quake Voter Inactive
    Quake Voter
    @QuakeVoter

    Anthony Weiner’s perversity gave us Bill de Blasio and saved us from Hillary Clinton.

    So, events are really centered around Weiner’s phallus.

    Weiner always knew this was true, though events in a federal corrections facility way challenge this shortly.

     

    • #6
  7. Ekosj Member
    Ekosj
    @Ekosj

    Bill DiBlasio’s is a Communist.   His New York supporters are (1) those with little private property to fear for.   They want free stuff and DiBlasio gets it for them  (2) those with lots of private property and the expensive legal and lobbying firepower to keep Comrade Di Blasio’s hands off it.   They get plenty of virtue signaling but have little to fear.    ( example – there was a recent push to pay for mass transit upgrades with higher taxes on the wealthy.    Not to worry – DiBlasio thinks that’s a bad idea perfecting a commuter tax.    I.e. His rich Upper West Siders are safe but working stiffs from NJ and LI can cough up some extra dough.)

    FYI – DiBlasio’s gym flap …  while haranguing NYers about the evils of burning gasoline and the dangers of driving fast he takes a phalanx of gas guzzling SUVs on s 12 mile high speed run to his favorite gym in Brooklyn four days a week…even though there is a large gym literally across the street.  A prime example of do as I say not as I do.

    • #7
  8. Paul Erickson Inactive
    Paul Erickson
    @PaulErickson

    Lois Lane: (quoting hizzonor deBlasio) I’ve talked to people who were going to be evicted, and we stopped the eviction by giving them a free lawyer.

    One of the hallmarks of misguided progressives is a lack of understanding of the meaning and implications of the word “free.”  This is true whether we mean free as in without cost or free as in unencumbered by restrictions or constraints.

    • #8
  9. syberpunk Inactive
    syberpunk
    @syberpunk

    Manny (View Comment):
    A Republican like Rudy could only get in if the conditions in the city are dire and require someone outside the box to fix.

    Similar to the state of Maryland.  Republicans win seats in the Eastern Shore and far west (rural), but the Democratic machine wins everywhere else and dominate.  Only when things are bad does the GOP win the governor’s seat. Then, of course, when things get better, they are voted out in favor of the machine Dem. Ironically, the better a Republican does, the greater chance they are booted from office. People forget why they voted for them the first time and return to their old habits.

    As for why people support DeBlasio and others – because they agree with those choices.  They would make the same choices, which are deemed objectively True and Correct, thus everyone must make that choice. So why not just take the choice away?  Better to take the options away than risk someone making a bad decision. For a city that was traditionally seen as open and tolerant, it sure breeds a lot of puritan politicians.

    • #9
  10. Paul Erickson Inactive
    Paul Erickson
    @PaulErickson

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):
    In some ways, de Blasio stands as a beacon for those Americans who still love America and want it to be great again.

    Exactly.  Like a lighthouse.  Keep your distance or you’ll run aground.

    • #10
  11. I Walton Member
    I Walton
    @IWalton

    Poindexter (View Comment):

    I Walton (View Comment):
    Anybody who is still a communist after the twentieth century is a child or insane.

    Or a tyrant.

    All communists are tyrants because the only acceptable tyranny amongst the chattering class must be marxist.  Children believe it, tyrants use it, so he’s both.

    • #11
  12. BD1 Member
    BD1
    @

    As bad as de Blasio is, he will probably be followed by someone even worse.  Then the police will be completely demonized and the murder rate will soar like it has in Chicago.

    • #12
  13. OccupantCDN Coolidge
    OccupantCDN
    @OccupantCDN

    This is how I feel, whenever I see these unguarded quotes from leftists:

     

    • #13
  14. OccupantCDN Coolidge
    OccupantCDN
    @OccupantCDN

    Lois Lane: Reporter’s question: In 2013 you ran on reducing income inequality. Where has it been hardest to make progress? Wages, housing, schools?

    Correct answer:

    The real problem isnt an income or wage gap, this is just a symptom. The real problem is a productivity gap. There are just some people who produce services of a much higher value than others. In this vein, I should have started a job training program with high schools and colleges – that will orientate curriculum to an industrial market. So that employers can find young talented employees with the skills needed to fill the jobs they create. High tech or low tech.

    • #14
  15. Chris Member
    Chris
    @Chris

    Ekosj (View Comment):
     

    FYI – DiBlasio’s gym flap … while haranguing NYers about the evils of burning gasoline and the dangers of driving fast he takes a phalanx of gas guzzling SUVs on s 12 mile high speed run to his favorite gym in Brooklyn four days a week…even though there is a large gym literally across the street. A prime example of do as I say not as I do.

    This!!!  That the man would have the gall to twist the actual situation, with its attendant travel and security expense, inconvenience to commuters, and misallocation of scarce resources (sure he can work in the car, but at what cost) into “if the worst you can say about someone is he goes to the gym, that’s a pretty good situation in today’s world” is stunning enough.  That the people of NYC wouldn’t run him out of town is more stunning.

    My lefty NJ relatives loved Bloomberg and were incredulous when DiBlasio was elected.  Bloomberg had been the best ever – and they would have made him king of NY to keep him.  Evidently those living in the city have a lower threshold for success.

    • #15
  16. Postmodern Hoplite Coolidge
    Postmodern Hoplite
    @PostmodernHoplite

    Lois Lane: (Quoting Bill DiBlasio) “They’d love to have a very, very powerful government, including a federal government, involved in directly addressing their day to day reality.”

    Yes. It’s called Fascism. It has been popular with Progressives since the Wilson Administration, and remains so to this day.

    • #16
  17. Lois Lane Coolidge
    Lois Lane
    @LoisLane

    BD1 (View Comment):
    As bad as de Blasio is, he will probably be followed by someone even worse. Then the police will be completely demonized and the murder rate will soar like it has in Chicago.

    The interview touted falling crime rates, which was interesting to me because I noticed they did not measure the mayor’s full term.  They talked about last year only, so I wondered where the benchmark was though I did not take the time to look up NYC crime spikes.

    Also, I’m afraid that it seems as if the only person who will follow de Blasio is de Blasio.

    • #17
  18. Lois Lane Coolidge
    Lois Lane
    @LoisLane

    OccupantCDN (View Comment):

    Lois Lane: Reporter’s question: In 2013 you ran on reducing income inequality. Where has it been hardest to make progress? Wages, housing, schools?

    Correct answer:

    The real problem isnt an income or wage gap, this is just a symptom. The real problem is a productivity gap. There are just some people who produce services of a much higher value than others. In this vein, I should have started a job training program with high schools and colleges – that will orientate curriculum to an industrial market. So that employers can find young talented employees with the skills needed to fill the jobs they create. High tech or low tech.

    Yep.  Well.  That was the answer some other guy gave, though the interview showed the mayor talking about how the most successful schools should change entrance criteria to make them more diverse.  Pre-K for all seems to be something he initiated as well, so I guess he is paying some attention to education?  ;)

    • #18
  19. Lois Lane Coolidge
    Lois Lane
    @LoisLane

    Chris (View Comment):
    This!!! That the man would have the gall to twist the actual situation, with its attendant travel and security expense, inconvenience to commuters, and misallocation of scarce resources (sure he can work in the car, but at what cost) into “if the worst you can say about someone is he goes to the gym, that’s a pretty good situation in today’s world” is stunning enough. That the people of NYC wouldn’t run him out of town is more stunning.

    It’s interesting.  Reading from a place of ignorance, I really didn’t know how anyone could have a gym scandal.  I suppose this makes the answer politically intelligent because it seems completely reasonable?  If looking at guys like Weiner, after all, going to the wrong gym seems pretty staid.   I guess that’s what is counted on from readers, yes?

    • #19
  20. Lois Lane Coolidge
    Lois Lane
    @LoisLane

    Postmodern Hoplite (View Comment):

    Lois Lane: (Quoting Bill DiBlasio) “They’d love to have a very, very powerful government, including a federal government, involved in directly addressing their day to day reality.”

    Yes. It’s called Fascism. It has been popular with Progressives since the Wilson Administration, and remains so to this day.

    That is the quote that I found the most… frightening?  crazy?  inane?  holy s***, what are New Yorkers thinking?  The machine as described by several on this thread must be beyond powerful in the city.  Looking at this, I say give Manhattan back to the Dutch.  Sure, they screwed the local Indians out of their land, but at least they honored the concept that someone has the right to negotiate their own contracts.  I’d rather their system with beads and flashy smiles any day of the week over this mayor’s super creepy paternalistic populism.

    • #20
  21. BD1 Member
    BD1
    @

    Lois Lane (View Comment):

    BD1 (View Comment):
    As bad as de Blasio is, he will probably be followed by someone even worse. Then the police will be completely demonized and the murder rate will soar like it has in Chicago.

    The interview touted falling crime rates, which was interesting to me because I noticed they did not measure the mayor’s full term. They talked about last year only, so I wondered where the benchmark was though I did not take the time to look up NYC crime spikes.

    Also, I’m afraid that it seems as if the only person who will follow de Blasio is de Blasio.

    I think he might run for prez in 2020.

    • #21
  22. Lois Lane Coolidge
    Lois Lane
    @LoisLane

    BD1 (View Comment):

    Lois Lane (View Comment):

    BD1 (View Comment):
    As bad as de Blasio is, he will probably be followed by someone even worse. Then the police will be completely demonized and the murder rate will soar like it has in Chicago.

    The interview touted falling crime rates, which was interesting to me because I noticed they did not measure the mayor’s full term. They talked about last year only, so I wondered where the benchmark was though I did not take the time to look up NYC crime spikes.

    Also, I’m afraid that it seems as if the only person who will follow de Blasio is de Blasio.

    I think he might run for prez in 2020.

    The political world is so crazy to me now, @BD1, that if Bill stumped in a Che shirt and cruised to a win, I’d no longer be all that surprised, but I would start hiding any extra cash I might have in the mattress.  I might even start figuring out that Bit Coin thing.  ;)

    • #22
  23. Lois Lane Coolidge
    Lois Lane
    @LoisLane

    Manny (View Comment):
    A candidate like De Blasio – the worst mayor of my adult lifetime – can get into power by appeasing the power structure within the party, by building his bona fides with one half of the Dems (in his case the radicals) while reaching an understanding the other half (the blue collar ethnics). Unfortuantely he aint going anywhere.

    Do you think that Trump himself could split these groups from each other in New York?  I mean, I haven’t looked at exit polling for NYC–and I’m sure Clinton won it by a mile–but doesn’t he have a special appeal for blue collar voters?  Especially if he’s moving away from the Republicans and getting cozy with Democrats?

    I have no idea at all, but I kinda wonder if the Donald is paying close attention to the mayoral race.  This is, after all, his hometown, right?  It seems he might care who won.

    • #23
  24. Manny Member
    Manny
    @Manny

    BD1 (View Comment):
    As bad as de Blasio is, he will probably be followed by someone even worse. Then the police will be completely demonized and the murder rate will soar like it has in Chicago.

    Actually I don’t think so. De Blssio is as bad as it gets.

    • #24
  25. Manny Member
    Manny
    @Manny

    Lois Lane (View Comment):

    Manny (View Comment):
    A candidate like De Blasio – the worst mayor of my adult lifetime – can get into power by appeasing the power structure within the party, by building his bona fides with one half of the Dems (in his case the radicals) while reaching an understanding the other half (the blue collar ethnics). Unfortuantely he aint going anywhere.

    Do you think that Trump himself could split these groups from each other in New York? I mean, I haven’t looked at exit polling for NYC–and I’m sure Clinton won it by a mile–but doesn’t he have a special appeal for blue collar voters? Especially if he’s moving away from the Republicans and getting cozy with Democrats?

     

    No he doesn’t. Yes he will pull away the cops and firemen but what drives the rest is ethnicity and NYC has a huge immigrant population. They all vote left. You can’t go four or five people on the street that don’t speak with an accent. Go on a subway and there are more foreign born than not.

    • #25
  26. OccupantCDN Coolidge
    OccupantCDN
    @OccupantCDN

    Lois Lane (View Comment):

    OccupantCDN (View Comment):

    Lois Lane: Reporter’s question: In 2013 you ran on reducing income inequality. Where has it been hardest to make progress? Wages, housing, schools?

    Correct answer:

    The real problem isnt an income or wage gap, this is just a symptom. The real problem is a productivity gap. There are just some people who produce services of a much higher value than others. In this vein, I should have started a job training program with high schools and colleges – that will orientate curriculum to an industrial market. So that employers can find young talented employees with the skills needed to fill the jobs they create. High tech or low tech.

    Yep. Well. That was the answer some other guy gave, though the interview showed the mayor talking about how the most successful schools should change entrance criteria to make them more diverse. Pre-K for all seems to be something he initiated as well, so I guess he is paying some attention to education? ?

    Yes yes… The pre-k education is largely a boondoggle. What I was think of, was not just primary cycle education for youth, but secondary and remedial education for adults. We used to call it ACE – Adult Continuing Education.

    The School system has the nation’s most under-utilized real estate. Millions of square feet, barely used for 9 hours per day, 180(?) days per year? Why not use the class rooms at night to teach adults. Literacy rates in most major cities are just sad(!) there isnt much you can do if you cant read…

    I was also thinking of Mike Rowe’s WORK foundation – that teaches useful job skills like welding to adults.

     

    • #26
  27. BD1 Member
    BD1
    @

    Manny (View Comment):

    BD1 (View Comment):
    As bad as de Blasio is, he will probably be followed by someone even worse. Then the police will be completely demonized and the murder rate will soar like it has in Chicago.

    Actually I don’t think so. De Blssio is as bad as it gets.

    David Dinkins.

    • #27
  28. Lois Lane Coolidge
    Lois Lane
    @LoisLane

    Manny (View Comment):

    Lois Lane (View Comment):

    Manny (View Comment):
    A candidate like De Blasio – the worst mayor of my adult lifetime – can get into power by appeasing the power structure within the party, by building his bona fides with one half of the Dems (in his case the radicals) while reaching an understanding the other half (the blue collar ethnics). Unfortuantely he aint going anywhere.

    Do you think that Trump himself could split these groups from each other in New York? I mean, I haven’t looked at exit polling for NYC–and I’m sure Clinton won it by a mile–but doesn’t he have a special appeal for blue collar voters? Especially if he’s moving away from the Republicans and getting cozy with Democrats?

    No he doesn’t. Yes he will pull away the cops and firemen but what drives the rest is ethnicity and NYC has a huge immigrant population. They all vote left. You can’t go four or five people on the street that don’t speak with an accent. Go on a subway and there are more foreign born than not.

    Not trying to kick a hornet’s nest because I understand we are talking about a very progressive place, but how is ballot integrity in NYC?  Surely many people who speak with an accent have become citizens, but surely many have not?  Are we in a College Park world where everyone gets to vote just because they’re a resident?  I’m just curious if voter status has ever been discussed.

    • #28
  29. philo Member
    philo
    @philo

    I’ve always assumed him to be an idiot but, then again, all I really know of him is what Jon Katz told me about his war on carriage horses:

     

    • #29
  30. Lois Lane Coolidge
    Lois Lane
    @LoisLane

    philo (View Comment):
    I’ve always assumed him to be an idiot but, then again, all I really know of him is what Jon Katz told me about his war on carriage horses:

    Yet I’m surprised the horses won this fight to still pull carriages through the park since electing de Blasio again would mean people are saying “yes” to all of Bill’s philosophies, which in essence are that government just knows better.

     

    • #30

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