It usually takes a few months in office before the bloom comes off the rose but in this new sped-up world of politics, it's already happening to Bill de Blasio – even before Election Day.
In a must-read article by Michael Grynbaum and David Chen in today's New York Times, they report: "In the transition from his role as insurgent candidate to the posture of a likely mayor-to-be, Mr. de Blasio, a Democrat, is sounding more guarded, more careful and, at times, even a bit mushy."
From ducking a question about pedestrian plazas to sounding less critical of stop-and-frisk to being positively Orwellian on taxi issues, de Blasio triangulated his way through his second debate with Joe Lhota on Tuesday. While that's often how governing works, it's interesting to see someone still on the campaign trail dial things back; we didn't even hear his "Tale of Two Cities" until the debate was almost over.
Meanwhile, de Blasio's Rose Garden campaign strategy is continuing today – with just a single radio interview on his public schedule. Election Day can't come soon enough for the Democrat who is consistently leading by more than 40 points in the polls.
It's also not heartening for good-government and transparency advocates to see de Blasio shut out the press from his million-dollar fundraiser with Hillary Clinton on Wednesday. Who are his big donors? Who wants access to the big frontrunner in the polls? It's a fair question that went unanswered.
While all of this caution is tactically understandable, it's hopefully not the way de Blasio will govern if he becomes the next mayor. No one gets anywhere leading the city unless they're bold. And de Blasio's general election campaign has been anything but courageous since he won the nomination. He has a dozen days left to inspire New Yorkers before they head to the polls. "Sit on the ball" shouldn't be anyone's campaign mantra.