Mayor de Blasio’s State of the City address yesterday was a 43-minute extended-play dance mix of the hit single that took him to the top of the political charts last year.
We heard his “Tale of Two Cities” (mentioned twice), talk of universal pre-K (six times), and the income-inequality gap (three times). But – as The New York Times notes in an editorial today -- “People curious about what’s planned for, say, parks, sanitation, transportation, the arts, infrastructure and climate change, were not given a lot to go on.”
De Blasio is taking a page from the political consultant’s bible that preaches that repetition is the key to a successful message: employ the same argument and use the same canned laugh line over and over. And then use them again. Perhaps this is what will help the mayor get his pre-k agenda passed – even if it’s simply because he manages to bludgeon and bore New Yorkers into submission.
Even things in the speech that hadn’t been loudly pushed previously by de Blasio were either reheated Bloomberg leftovers or sketchy plans that are still lacking in detail (municipal ID cards for illegal immigrants.) (And, please de Blasio speechwriters, ban the following phrase from your word processor: “We find ourselves at a fork in the road.” )
Give the mayor credit for focusing like a laser on a couple of key issues but New York City is a machine of eight million moving parts and multitasking by a mayor isn’t just encouraged, it’s mandatory. While he’s been distracted by the city’s snowglobal non-warming and simply setting up shop in City Hall, the mayor should take some time to come up with some other ways to reinvent New York beyond raising the minimum wage and giving workers more sick days.
Bill de Blasio is clearly a man of uncanny political smarts and intellect; to succeed, he will need to be more than a pre-kindergarten cop humming last summer’s hit single.