This was the era of David Dinkins, an empty suit who defeated incumbent mayor Ed Koch in the Democratic primary and then won the general election over Republican Rudy Giuliani. Dinkins, the city’s first and only black mayor, seemed to turn a blind eye to the city’s woes.
Dinkins was defeated in his reelection bid by Giuliani, who did what everyone thought was undoable – he cleaned up the city, made it safer, and before long New York was lauded as the safest big city in America.
Since Giuliani, Michael Bloomberg has been in City Hall for 12 years, during which time he carried out many of the same policies as Giuliani to help keep the city safe. With Democratic mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio leading GOP challenger Joe Lhota by as much as 50 percentage points in some polls, it is likely de Blasio will be in City Hall come Jan. 1, 2014.
He will be the first Democrat elected mayor in 24 years. A far-left liberal, de Blasio believes in big government, higher taxes for the wealthy, and seems to be critical of the police in their efforts to reduce and prevent crime with programs such as “stop and frisk.”
deBlasio has made it clear he has no interest in keeping Ray Kelly on as police commissioner, despite Kelly’s exceptional record. deBlasio’s entrance into politics was as a volunteer coordinator for Dinkins. And with his far-left agenda, there is reason to worry that de Blasio could lead us back to those dark days of his former boss.
Dinkins was elected on a platform of easing racial tensions, yet race relations got worse during his tenure. He had no leadership abilities, no convictions, and he downright broke the law when he failed to dispatch the necessary police force needed to stop the miscreants responsible for the 1991 Crown Heights riots or intervene in the boycott of a Korean-owned grocery in Flatbush. In both cases, the perpetrators were large numbers of black men. After four years of this, New Yorkers smartened up and elected someone who was not afraid to take action when needed, even if those actions weren’t always popular.
Alas, New Yorkers are like ungrateful children. While Giuliani remains popular statewide and on a national level, he is largely disliked in his own city. If he were to run for mayor now, he would lose to any Democratic opponent. His detractors forget how he cleaned up a city that was called “ungovernable.” They call him a bully. They say he is a racist because he refused to meet with frauds like Al Sharpton. These leftist Giuliani detractors are the same people who seemed to have forgotten about the gas lines, hostages, and overall despair of the Jimmy Carter years, and now view Carter as a saint.
It is not simply being a Democrat that makes a de Blasio mayoralty a scary prospect. It’s that he seems to be an extreme liberal in the mold of Dinkins, Carter, and Obama, as opposed to Ed Koch, who used to famously label himself “a liberal with sanity.”de Blasio’s only previous experience in elected office has been as public advocate, a role that even its former occupants acknowledge as a do-nothing job. He simply does not have the background needed to lead a city of 8 million.
deBlasio has outlined a plan to raise taxes on residents earning over $500,000 a year in order to pay for universal pre-Kindergarten programs and to expand after-school programs at middle schools. He also plans to invest $150 million annually into the City University of New York in order to lower tuition and to improve degree programs. To paraphrase a line from John McCain, de Blasio seems to want to spend our money like “a drunken sailor.”
We cannot afford to go back to the days when New York was bankrupt like in the Beame years or when crime interfered with the quality of all of our lives two decades ago. We cannot afford another David Dinkins. New York cannot afford a Mayor de Blasio.