New York City shouldn’t exist. Its population of waiters waiting to become actors, professors waiting to write bestsellers, muggers waiting to become drug kingpins, welfare cases waiting for American Idol and cyclists waiting to become international humanitarians are the natural constituency of the left.
Like every major city in the last fifty years, New York City is caught between a progressive death wish to embrace every single insane policy of the left from midnight basketball for crackheads to a 99 percent tax on everyone who has a job and the common sense competence that keeps it afloat.
Every election is another opportunity for the city to commit suicide. After decades in which the voters elected candidates who wouldn’t completely destroy their city and then salt the earth with their tears, a small decisive percentage of New Yorkers put a gun to the head of their city and fired a bullet named Bill de Blasio into its brain.
Like most brutal incidents in the Big Apple, Bill de Blasio won’t kill New York City. His term in office will be another painful learning experience. Every few decades New Yorkers lose their street sense and let a progressive take over. And then when his term is up, the city is out of money, everyone has been mugged at least once and nothing works, they kick him out again.
It’s a generational ritual that lets seasoned New Yorkers look back in horror at the days of Lindsay or Dinkins and now De Blasio. While the New York Times gushes adoringly over his every insane new policy, without noticing that they were all badly translated from the original Russian, his true function is to become a cautionary tale about the dangers of voting your politics instead of your pocketbook.
Bill de Blasio declared war on Central Park carriage horses, put cell phones back in schools, put criminals back in public housing, housed homeless in neighborhoods across the city, went to war with the few city schools that worked and went to war with the police.
And for an encore, he banned packing peanuts.
Within a short time he had managed to reverse decades of reforms while alienating everyone except the editorial board of the New York Times which would continue to support him even if, or especially if, he began executing Kulaks on Staten Island.
Progressives hope that Bill de Blasio will become a national figure. But instead of a triumphant entry on the national stage, he became famous as the man whom the NYPD turned its back on. And the Democratic National Convention that he was hoping to host is looking for a less troubled city… like Detroit.
Progressive plans fall apart in New York City faster than anywhere else because the city has a small land area and a dense population. Too many people are balanced precariously on an outdated infrastructure of wires and pipes that is forever being dug up by municipal workers that are forever on strike. There are entire neighborhoods that are no-go zones and so much diversity that you need to know six languages to cross the street.
A street can change dramatically in a year. Every block is a precarious ecosystem, its mixed population of civilians and criminals, workers and welfares, the regulated and the unregulated, is always on the edge. Its water comes via distant tunnels. Its electricity is produced by power plants precariously perched over the water. Its food supplies have to cross a complex map of narrow overburdened streets.
Other cities can get away with prolonged governance by the left, but New York City falls apart too fast. Bill de Blasio could have run San Francisco or Seattle for a generation before anyone noticed, but he barely got into office and already the Big Apple is starting to rot.
New York naturally evolves hardheaded leaders who step in after the idiots take over, men like Ed Koch and Rudy Giuliani, who can clean up the mess and get the city ready to go in the morning. If not for them, the only difference between New York City and Detroit is that the latter at least has one useful industry to fall back on. New York City’s only real industry is a cultural industry of dubious value serviced by trendy restaurants.
That’s why Bill de Blasio has no future. A community organizer can run America, but not New York. Letting a lefty try is a ritual that even the leftiest New Yorkers use to remind themselves that their ideas about redistributing all the wealth to build giant homeless skyscrapers should be practiced somewhere else.
Somewhere far, far away.
A liberal doesn’t necessarily become a conservative when mugged, but he does become a lot savvier about muggers, sentencing reform and broken windows policing. He doesn’t join the Republican Party, instead he becomes a hypocrite, preaching one truth and living another.
Surprisingly few academics specializing in social justice, bright young things with Obama bumper stickers on their used Subarus and waiters waiting for their big break really want their wealth redistributed at fistpoint. And unlike the denizens of the projects, who also don’t care for the drug dealers and gang leaders, they understand the connection between politics, street crime and the loonier left.
And when they forget, they need a Bill de Blasio to remind them.
Bill de Blasio is a lesson. A smaller scale version of the same lesson taught by the Soviet Union about what all those promising theories for a better world look like when they’re applied to the real world. New York City is the perfect place for the lesson because it is a city that is ideologically of the left and practically on the verge of breaking down even before a progressive gets his manicured fingers on it.
Bill de Blasio’s old boss, Mayor Dinkins, gave the city four years of sheer hell followed by decades of liberal Republican rule. His dysfunction made Rudy Giuliani and Al Sharpton into national figures and fundamental contrasts between the city New Yorkers wanted and the one they didn’t want.
The old grimy Democrats of Tammany Hall would let a progressive into office and then laugh themselves silly when the city turned on him and rode him out of town on a rail. The new grimy Democrats are progressives which is why New York City is probably due for another generation of Republican rule, even if it’s by a Republican as nominal as a Bloomberg.
In a political system in which the Democrats have gone so far to the left that they said hello to Trotsky, another former New Yorker, and kept going forward, the only place for Bloomberg was on the Republican ticket. The next Republican mayor of the city may be able to pass as a bleeding heart liberal anywhere else, but here if you don’t support the Marxist Sandinista terrorists the way Bill de Blasio did, then by default you’re a Republican.
Mayor Koch’s career ended because he had become unelectable on the Democratic line. All that meant was that future competent mayors would have to come from the Republican Party. Bill de Blasio has once again reminded New Yorkers that the price of living in a functioning progressive city is a Republican mayor.
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