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Presidential Non-Endorsement: Bill, "You coulda been a great mayor"

Presidential Non-Endorsement: Bill, "You coulda been a great mayor"

Jerry Krase (June 1, 2019)
Jerry Krase
Blurry Bill at Primary Victory Party 2013

A more and less tongue in cheek evaluation of Bill DeBlasio's Presidential delusion from one of his (at one time) strongest supporters.


On Thursday, May 16, 2019 I received in both my personal and work e-mail inboxes the following “personal” message with the subject heading I’m running for president”


Jerry —

Everyday Americans are getting screwed. It’s blunt, but it’s the truth. They’re getting screwed by big corporations and too often they’re getting screwed by their own government.

Working people in this country deserve better — and I know we can do it because we’ve already done it in New York City.

As mayor of the largest city in America — larger than 39 entire states — I watched my neighbors wait a long time for Washington to fix the issues our nation is facing. When Washington wouldn’t act, we decided to go ahead anyway. Now we have a $15 minimum wage, paid sick leave and guaranteed health care — including mental health services.

Everyone loved the idea of Universal Pre-K, but naysayers said we couldn’t afford it. We made it a priority and, within two years, ensured every four-year-old in our city receives the same start to their education, saving working parents tens of thousands of dollars in childcare expenses.

Today I am proud to announce my candidacy for president of the United States of America, because it’s time to finally put working people first.

Join me in this campaign for president today and donate $1 now to show you’re with us. We’ve won big, meaningful progressive victories in New York City by pushing past everyone who said we can’t --- and we’re going to do it for the whole country too.  Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera about what a bully and con artist like Donald Trump is doing to us.

This entreaty was followed by a video, which I didn’t watch. I also didn’t send any money or volunteer any of my time and energy as I did the first time he ran for mayor in 2013. Although it has been proven beyond any reasonable doubt that the bar for the presidency of the most powerful country ever in the world has been lowered so far that just about any warm body can crawl over it, it seems to me the guy whom I had enthusiastically supported, twice, for Mayor of New York City, has little chance of moving into the White House any decade now. On this point, every major and minor Big Apple newspaper, television station (cable or otherwise), Tweeter, and everyone I ask, including his 2013 minions, wholeheartedly agree.

It’s not that I dislike Bill or disagree with his noble quest “fighting income inequality and helping working people secure an economic future they can believe in.” And I totally agree with his observation that “There's plenty of money in the world. It's just in the wrong hands.” In the early days of his impossible quest to become the Democratic Party candidate for Mayor of New York City. Early in his campaign, I was privileged to have dinner with him and his wife Chirlane McCray at the house of a friend, who was their neighbor and with whom I later co-hosted a local fund-raiser.  Having been involved in, and written about, elections for decades, I was impressed with both his (and her) intelligence and commitment to really progressive politics. At the time, despite his notoriety as NYC’s Public Advocate, he was more than an underdog. Therefore, he was relying on friends and neighbors, like me, for getting a leg up in the race. Our neighborhood Park Slope has a well-deserved reputation for high voter turnout in Democratic Party primary elections, and contributing both money and elbow grease to leftish causes.

In my opinion, as is true in elections crowded with candidates, he luckily won the primary mostly due to low voter turnout (24%) in the city as a whole. Then, with a collection of volunteers and more or less competent campaigners, he began his shaky march toward the general election and slowly drifted into the miasma of Big Apple politics. As everyone knows, unless you are running against a post-9/11 America’s Mayor Rudy Giuliani or a billionaire like Michael Bloomberg, winning the Democratic Party primary is tantamount to winning the general election. At first surrounded, and perhaps hounded, by local friends and neighbors such as myself, as soon as the primary was locked up, new faces began to appear in the crowds. These ‘strangers’ were far more effective in gaining his attention, donating bigger bucks, and eliciting potential patronage. An early clue that I missed was when I went to his primary victory party, where I spotted people I first assumed were gate-crashers, but weren’t. For example, on the dance floor I spotted a prominent New Yorker who was an old friend working at the time for a powerful global public relations consulting company, headquartered in New York City. I discovered later that he was a “host” of the party. To be polite, he introduced me to another even heavier-weight whose law firm was as one of the top lobbyists in the state of New York.

Billed as a man of the ordinary people and a tireless fighter for the rest of us, DeBlasio expended an enormous amount of energy battling with his alter ego, Andrew Cuomo the enfant terrible in the New York State Governor’s mansion thus making it even more difficult to get good things done for the city which in legal parlance as a “creature of the state” depends on the State government. In many other ways the bright promise of his candidacy was more than matched by the disappointment of his incumbency such as blindly following Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s “Luxury City” agenda by willingly falling victim to demands for city-wide rezoning and massive overbuilding, leading to the city being less, rather than more, affordable for ordinary residents and businesses.

The many more and less recent allegations of personal corruption are way off the mark. His major problem is that his altruism was bushwhacked by his egoism and the fact that in his ill-conceived run for POTUS, money is more important than poor people and progressive principles. I spoke with several local people for this article who supported him in his prior runs for mayor. They said as soon as he was elected, he starting forgetting about them. His national ambition also distracted his attention from pressing local matters. He was elected by “us” to be Mayor not to be one of a dozen mostly self-absorbed Presidential candidates. Had I been asked to support him for President then, I would have responded as do now. Still, it is excruciating for me hearing him being regularly disemboweled by NYC”s Public Radio host Brian Lehrer’s “Ask the Mayor” program  and reading his increasingly bad press across the spectrum from The New York Times to the New York Post. The best I can say today in support of his dream is to paraphrase Terry Malloy (Marlon Brando) in Elia Kazin’s  On the Waterfront (1954) Bill “You coulda been a great mayor

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