So, President Obama and the Clintons have now endorsed Bill de Blasio for New York’s next mayor. I’ll admit I was wary of what the media called de Blasio’s “progressive charm”, because every anecdote gave me a strong whiff of John Vliet Lindsay, whose mayoralty was a key factor in my fleeing the city before I was old enough to vote. But (as with DougJ) the NYTimes‘ slimy “De Blasio, filthy hippie or plutocrat-threatening commie?” did a lot to convince me that at least the man has the right enemies. And not just me; here’s Alex Pareene in Salon:
… [T]he Times seems determined to make working for a Catholic social justice organization sound much more radical than it really was, or is. So unnamed “critics” make a few appearances, to suggest that de Blasio and his friends were Marxists — “its harshest critics accused it of hewing to a Marxist agenda” — or naive hippies: “Critics, however, said they were gullible and had romanticized their mission — more interested in undermining the efforts of the Reagan administration than helping the poor.” Which critics? Who knows! How accurate were these criticisms? You decide!…
The reason articles about politicians as young people are fascinating and necessary is because sometimes it is worth asking what led a person to go into politics in the first place. That can often tell you a lot about what sort of elected official they will be. Some people run for office because they’re really, really good at running businesses. Some because they’re really, really good at raising money. Some care a lot about one particular issue, and some people go into politics because politics is the family business. And some go into politics because they were activists who decided to spend their lives and careers fighting for justice.
For some reason, the “my dad was a senator” ones and the “I was really good at making money” ones are treated a bit more respectfully in the press than the activists, though the activists are the ones who already demonstrated a commitment to helping others. An activist background doesn’t mean a politician is gong to turn out to be a great elected official (see: Christine Quinn) but it’s generally a sign of good intentions. This New York voter likes Bill de Blasio a bit more today.
That being said… for the 99% of us who are not New Yorkers, what’s on the agenda for the day?