My conservative cousin from New York is basically an optimist, as befits a true Reaganite. But right now he’s far from optimistic about the New York City mayoral race or about the city’s future.
The analysis appears below. For more on the radicalism of the man New York almost certainly will elect mayor, see Stanley Kurtz.
The chances of Joe Lhota the GOP candidate for New York City Mayor winning are close to zero. Polls show him trailing Democratic nominee Bill de Blasio by as much as 60% [correction, 40%]. If the polls are accurate this gap between the major parties is unprecedented. Despite its reputation as a liberal citadel New York hasn’t elected a Democratic mayor in 20 years.
The main cause for this wide gap is a negative media blitz whose playbook comes directly out of tactics used by political action groups to tar Mitt Romney in the last Presidential campaign. This campaign was paid for not by some lefty group like MoveOn.Org. It was orchestrated by Lhota’s GOP primary opponent John Catsimatidis.
Despite his years of successful service as Giuliani’s Deputy and head of the regional transit authority, Lhota was unknown to most voters. Catsimatides ads depicted Lhota as a cruel man who raised tolls and subway fares. The truth was the increases were necessary and approved before Lhota assumed command.
The two third rails of New York City politics are subway fares and residential rent control. No one can be elected who campaigns on significant changes to either misbegotten taxpayer subsidy.
While never going quite as far as the ads that accused Romney of causing a woman to die of cancer, Lhota was depicted as showing disrespect to the police force in charge of the World Trade Center on September 11th. In an ill-considered off the cuff remark Lhota called the Port Authority police “Mall Cops.”
Whatever the relative effectiveness of this police force as compared to the NYPD, it was a totally inappropriate comment. Many of these officers performed heroically at the Trade Center and 37 paid the ultimate price. In a devastating ad, a retired Port Authority cop who was in the Towers that dreadful day conveyed his hurt and outrage. – “when a bureaucrat like Joe Lhota calls me a mall cop he offends every police officer. Mr. Lhota I’m no mall cop. Got it.”
In the days before the Primary these ads were all over TV. For most voters they served as their introduction to Joe Lhota. Though effective in reaching the broader NYC electorate, Catsimatidis ads weren’t enough to put him over the top in the GOP primary. Lhota who had more organizational support and the endorsement of Mayor Giuliani won a narrow victory.
The Democratic nominee and presumptive next Mayor Bill De Blasio is a far out lefty even by NYC standards. He subscribes to liberation theology and admires the Sandinistas. Defying a State Department travel ban he took his wife to Cuba for their honeymoon.
Oh, and he also predicts that Islam will soon be a dominant force in politics. DiBlasio says he wants to build an alliance with the jihadists.
I shudder to think what my hometown could look like in four years if DiBlasio can succeed in implementing his agenda.
Say what you want about Rudy Giuliani and Michael Bloomberg — and there certainly is much that can be said against Bloomberg — New York has been a reasonably well-governed city for the past 20 years. That is about to change in a big way, with big consequences.