Many met the rise of Mayor Bill de Blasio with concern, expecting his radical progressive agenda to ravage New York City. Instead, de Blasio’s tenure is being defined by what he is not able to do. With reports of confused staffers and a lack of planning, the New York Post quipped today that de Blasio is “stumbling about like a drunk” in City Hall.
The Post’s Bob McManus is none too impressed with the rookie Mayor’s failed attempts to pass legislation or his seemingly unnecessary squabbles with Governor Andrew Cuomo. To illustrate his point, he initially hearkens back to an even more unnecessary squabble: with beloved weatherman Al Roker. Last week, after the Mayor opened schools during a dangerous snowstorm, angering residents and teachers alike, Roker predicted that de Blasio would only last one term in office. “The incident,” McManus writes, “wouldn’t have been more than a curiosity if de Blasio hadn’t spent his first six weeks in office stumbling about like a drunk in the dark.”
McManus cites two major infractions on de Blasio’s part: de Blasio’s insistence on “taxing the rich” to fund a universal pre-kindergarten plan that the Governor has offered to pay for with state funding and his interjection in the arrest of a staffer this month.
The former has become de Blasio’s signature political failure, despite the Mayor having achieved his goal of educating all of the city’s young either way. He ran a campaign promising that he would fund a universal pre-kindergarten program by increasing taxes on anyone living in New York City making more than $500,000 a year. The plan was too radical for Albany and too far left for prominent New York Democrats like Sen. Chuck Schumer. In response to the plan, Governor Cuomo proposed that the state could handle the extra expenses so that New Yorkers would not have to see a tax increase. De Blasio refused the offer.
“A more experienced–or less ideological–politician would’ve simply accepted the governor’s offer and moved on,” McManus writes, noting that de Blasio’s decision to have his wife comment on the matter and to call it “the defining civil rights issue of our time” antagonized the powers-that-be in Albany at a time when they were reaching out to help the new Mayor. By calling education a civil rights issue, the city’s First Lady, Chirlane McCray, is essentially calling Cuomo “New York’s Bull Connor,” writes McManus. “It’s going to be very difficult for Team de Blasio to walk back McCray’s race-card-wielding provocation,” he adds.
Mayor de Blasio is only in his second month in office, and the extent to which he has already been savaged for nearly all of his major decisions is telling. Every snowstorm he has managed has led to residents calling him incompetent or “crazy.” The universal pre-K situation and subsequent charter school “moratorium” have been disasters. Reports have surfaced that his staffers are being told to “be progressive” without actually being given orders, leading to many issues falling through the cracks and frustrated staffers feeling left out at sea.
Some media outlets have given the Mayor a pass. The New York Times, for example, is spending its reporting energy on alerting residents to the fact that de Blasio is tall. The Post, however, has been especially acerbic in its commentary on Mayor de Blasio, and it is difficult to blame them, given the lack of direction City Hall seems to have. If the past two months have been any indication, de Blasio has a steep hill to climb to make it past the first term and be remembered as anything but a failure.