Bill de Blasio, mayor-elect of New York City, told private real estate developers before the election that he was every bit the communist they feared. According to Charles Gasparino, writing in the New York Post, de Blasio–who supported the Castro regime in Cuba and the Sandinistas in Nicaragua–said: “”Everything you heard about me is true. . . I am not a free-marketeer. . . I believe in the heavy hand of government.”
That might be an odd conviction for the mayor-elect of the world’s financial capital to hold. What is striking is that while president-elect Barack Obama tried to mask his socialism as a sort of philosophy of last resort–there are things “only government” can do, he told us on the eve of his inauguration–de Blasio is absolutely clear that government intervention is burdensome and punishing, and that he likes it that way.
Bill de Blasio was elected with 73% of the vote. To some extent, that is because the city wanted a Democrat, and he happened to be the last one standing, after Anthony Weiner imploded and Christine Quinn alienated her base. Yet at moments like these one is reminded that democracy is not immune to the ambitions of would-be totalitarians who use the support of a small minority to lever themselves into power.
Those Democrats who believe that the “heavy hand of government” will fall on the rich may soon be pining for the nanny-state plutocracy of Michael Bloomberg, whose soda bans and breastfeeding mandates might seem quite libertarian in comparison. Economic tyranny has almost always been accompanied by tyranny over free expression, a free press, and freedom of conscience. Comrade Bill may just be warming up.