Mayor Bill de Blasio launched his campaign for president Thursday with a three-minute, seven-second video in which he utters a line showing how little he knows about the city he has twice been elected to run.
“The good thing about New Yorkers is they look the same whether they’re really pissed off at you or they like you,” he says.
As any actual New Yorker knows, that is not even close to true.
When New Yorkers are pissed off at you, they show it. The proof is in the majority of people de Blasio encounters in the city. They may have voted for him due to low record crime and a prolonged drought in municipal leadership. But almost nobody has much use for him.
For de Blasio to say otherwise suggests that he rides around New York imagining that people really like him. That illusion may have encouraged him to declare his candidacy for the president.
He makes his run with contributions to his Fairness PAC. The major fundraisers for that political action committee include a Brooklyn lawyer who represented what the New York Times called “a pair of notorious landlords” who pocketed $173 million from the city for a group of 17 buildings originally appraised at $50 million. The transaction seems to fit a pattern that has been described by the feds like this: “Mayor de Blasio and others acting on his behalf solicited donations from individuals who sought official favors from the city.”
Maybe de Blasio’s misapprehension about New Yorkers and how they express displeasure has also caused him to imagine that such shameful shenanigans are acceptable. This persistent perpetrator of pay-to-play clearly perceived no irony in opening his campaign video with these words:
“There’s plenty of money in this world. There’s plenty of money in this county. It’s just in the wrong hands.”
In seeking to put more of that money in the hands of his campaign, de Blasio does so as someone who has shown a willingness to provide favors in return. He has shown less interest in putting some of that money in the hands of the cops who made his election to mayor possible, for people are considerably less willing to vote for a liberal if they are worried about getting to the corner without being robbed.
De Blasio nonetheless derided the cops during his first campaign. He then began acting like a cop’s best friend when he realized that the one indisputable success in his first years was a continued reduction in crime.
The cops know this. They also know they helped make him rich, for the once dangerous Brooklyn block where he owns two houses are now worth more than $1 million each. They would no doubt be happy with the 15 percent raise de Blasio gave himself while giving some of his staff 60 percent hikes. The last raise the cops got was 3 per cent in 2016.
“What do we want? A contract! When do we want to? Now!” they chanted on Thursday morning outside the Times Square studio of Good Morning America, where de Blasio made his first appearance as a 2020 candidate.
Also present were private citizens angered by de Blasio's failure to follow through on a promise issued to a cheering crowd on the steps of City Hall to commit $500 million to create housing for low-income seniors. Some of those same people now held signs with such messages as “De Blasio Stop Stealing from Seniors.”
De Blasio is habitually late, but he arrived on time for GMA, having swwapped his previous gas-guzzling SUV for a hybrid minivan in keeping with his new image as an environmentally conscious candidate. Never mind that his announcement video is auto-centric, with him chatting inside a vehicle, much of the imagery devoted to highways and roadways and people driving over the Brooklyn Bridge as opposed to biking or walking. A work crew is shown fixing a pothole, a city motorist’s bane.
And never mind that the GMA studio looks out at the pedestrian mall de Blasio has at least twice suggested should be torn up so the Crossroads of the World can again be dominated by cars rather than people on foot. He did so once when he was first running, perhaps as an accommodation to the taxi owners who donated to him big time. He again proposed to rip it all up in answer to a furor over the jerks in Sesame Street and comic book costumes who were posing for pictures with tourists, then shaking them down for tips.
On Thursday morning, de Blasio had the aspect of a plainclothes Big Bird as he stepped from the hybrid with his wife, Chirlane McCray, whom he has dubbed The First Lady. A number of the civilian protesters joined in a PBA chant accompanied by whistles.
“LIAR! LIAR! LIAR!”
The sound was loud enough to be heard inside the studio as de Blasio and his First Lady were interviewed by George Stephanopoulos. De Blasio smiled as if it was just New Yorkers being New Yorkers rather than the howl of people who feel betrayed.
At the interview’s end, de Blasio returned to his waiting hybrid to continue on a first-day itinerary that was to include a speech at the Statue of Liberty and a flight to Iowa. He might have picked up two votes from that state before leaving Times Square had he paused to speak to two sisters from Cedar Rapids who stood holding signs.
“It’s Deb’s Birthday,” read one sister's sign, with an arrow pointing to her sibling.
“I’m Deb,” the other sister’s sign read.
Deb was Deborah Lamparek. The two were apparently hoping that the signs would get them a momentary appearance on GMA, but that was not going to happen with all the demonstrators and steel barricades used to establish what police supervisors termed “a 20-foot buffer zone” outside the studio.
Lamparek demurred when a reporter asked if she was a Democrat or a Republican. She offered no opinion about de Blasio, but voiced dread of another electoral season being a prolonged blitz of campaign commercials to Iowa.
“We get a break and then we watch them for another two years,” she lamented.
Those ads will now include ones featuring de Blasio, who will no doubt continue to seek funds to run for president from folks who know his pay-to-play reputation as a mayor.
Help pay for de Blasio’s trip to in Iowa and get a favor in Queens!
During the GMA appearance, de Blasio was right about New Yorkers when he said that they have long seen through Donald Trump.
“Con Don,” de Blasio called him.
A name for de Blasio comes to mind.