The following appears in the January 17-23, 2014 issue of the Long Island Business News:
The inauguration of Bill de Blasio as New York’s 109th mayor was more a dump-fest on outgoing Mayor Michael Bloomberg than a leftist love-fest.
Sanitation Department Chaplain Fred Lucas, in his “prayer,” referred to the city Bloomberg had managed for 12 years as a “plantation.” Newly installed Public Advocate Letitia James accused Bloomberg’s policies of leaving many people voiceless.
Harry Belefonte, a wealthy entertainer who holds himself up as a social commentator, complained that Bloomberg’s stop-and-frisk policing policies resulted in a “community divided” and promised de Blasio would “fix our deeply Dickensian justice system.”
As for de Blasio’s inaugural address, former presidential speechwriter Peggy Noonon summed it up best: “What was absent in Mr. de Blasio’s remarks was a kind of civic courtesy or grace. The kind that seeks to unite and build from shared strength, the kind that doesn’t demonize. Instead, from our new mayor we got the snotty sound of ‘us vs. them,’ of zero sum politics.”
When asked about the Bloomberg dump-fest, de Blasio indicated he was not at all disturbed by any of the harsh comments.
“The individuals, the clerics who gave remarks … I respect each and every one of them and their right to say that which they feel is appropriate,” he said. “I am very comfortable with everyone’s remarks.”
The rude behavior of the inaugural event speakers and de Blasio’s reaction didn’t surprise me, because progressive politicians have historically been sore winners. These would-be “managers of the collective life” believe they are entitled to hold public office. They view themselves as exceptional persons and expect people to submit to their notions of the “good society.” For them, “government by the people” has been merely a slogan to humor the masses.
The nation’s leading progressive “sore winner” has been President Barack Obama. Shortly after taking office in 2009, the man who was to be a uniter and the post-partisan president abruptly shut down an exchange of ideas with Republican leaders by announcing, “I won the election.”
Political columnist Jed Bobbin concluded the central aspect of Obama’s bipartisanship scam is that opponents must “let him set the terms of the debate and adopt his theory of government in order to be ‘bipartisan’.”
And so it is with “progressive” Bill de Blasio.
During the campaign, he stated he wanted to raise city income taxes on the rich 1 percent to finance a universal pre-K school program. However, when Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposed additional state aid to finance the program in lieu of raising taxes, de Blasio dismissed Cuomo’s approach. The mayor said he wanted to raise income taxes on everyone earning over $500,000 annually even if Albany paid for 100 percent of pre-K education. “We believe it’s the right thing to do,” he declared.
Instead of agreeing to a reasonable compromise, de Blasio sticks it to the governor because he is an anointed one who knows best and people should be submissive to his ideological vision of how the city should be managed.
Civility is not part of the progressive politicians’ creed. That’s why the noted historian Richard Hofstadter called them “totalitarian liberals” who employ illiberal means to achieve so-called liberal reforms. These authoritarians of the left, according to Hofstadter, often embrace “hatred as a form of creed” in pursuit of their goals.
De Blasio and friends set such a tone on Jan. 1. Expect them to impose their ideological formulas on New Yorkers regardless of the consequences – and don’t be surprised if they drive the city into the fiscal abyss, just as the progressives did last time they controlled City Hall, during the John Lindsay years.