Editorially, The New York Times was thrilled by the inauguration of New York’s Mayor Bill de Blasio. It was excited to see progressive governance come to the city... as though left-leaning, progressive Michael Bloomberg was somehow a right wing radical.
Yet, the Times has not understood that the progressive movement, embodied by the new mayor, is based on empty rhetoric designed by demagogues to manipulate unsuspecting voters. Read: unsuspecting New York Times readers.
The de Blasio inaugural ceremony was so tasteless, so vulgar and so offensive that even the New York Times took notice. Apparently, the paper has not been paying very close attention to today’s progressive politics.
De Blasio paid lip service to the task of unifying the city, but his politics are, as Peggy Noonan noted in the Wall Street Journal, divisive. They are designed to set one group against another. They see the haves exploiting the have-nots. Given New York City’s leftist groupthink, de Blasio did not think he needed to disguise his contempt and resentment.
The Times took note of the appalling ceremony, one that showered outgoing Mayor Bloomberg with insults:
Too bad the speakers on stage with him didn’t get the unity part, marring the event with backward-looking speeches both graceless and smug. Worst among them, but hardly alone, was the new public advocate, Letitia James, who used her moment for her own head-on attack: on the 12 years of Mayor Michael Bloomberg. In doing so, she made a prop of a 12-year-old girl named Dasani, who had to hold the Bible and Ms. James’s hand as Ms. James called for a government “that cares more about a child going hungry than a new stadium or a new tax credit for a luxury development.”
Dasani was profiled in a recent series of articles in The Times illustrating how bad things get for homeless families in the shelter system. Ms. James turned her into Exhibit A of an Inauguration Day prosecution: the People v. Mayor Bloomberg. So did the pastor whose invocation likened New York to a “plantation,” and Harry Belafonte, who strangely laid the problem of America’s crowded prisons at the feet of the former mayor, an utterly bogus claim, while saying Mr. Bloomberg shared responsibility for the nation’s “deeply Dickensian justice system.”
Mr. Bloomberg had his mistakes and failures, but he was not a cartoon Gilded Age villain. He deserved better than pointless and tacky haranguing from speakers eager to parrot Mr. de Blasio’s campaign theme.
Note the rhetoric: “backward looking speeches”… “graceless and smug.”
But, who invites Harry Belafonte, a notorious hater, a supporter radical leftist dictators and demagogues, to speak at an inauguration? As it happens, Letitia James is an important public official, New York’s newly elected Public Advocate. For those who live outside of the city, Public Advocate is an important, elected executive position. Without doing a search, I can easily imagine that the Times endorsed both de Blasio and James.
It’s nice that the Times rushes to the defense of Michael Bloomberg— you don’t want to alienate someone you might have to ask to invest— but when it explains that the speakers were merely echoing de Blasio’s campaign rhetoric, it gives the game away.
However much the Times is rightly offended by the crass vulgarity of the de Blasio inauguration, there was nothing about it that really deviated from what the new mayor was saying in his campaign.
It’s a little late for the paper to find religion. If it was willing to overlook de Blasio’s divisive rhetoric during the campaign, it now finds itself in the unenviable position of having awakened to the truth.
The Times knows that a de Blasio mayoralty that resembles the de Blasio inauguration might send liberal New Yorkers running to the Republican Party. The Times is right to be worried. If the city turns against ersatz progressives it might just be the death knell for the old gray lady. Unless, of course, they can sell the paper to Michael Bloomberg.