If someone could spitefully chew gum, Mayor de Blasio was its chomping poster boy on Tuesday night as he painstakingly made the point that he could do two things at once, ending a press conference in Iowa by putting a piece of gum in his mouth and walking out of the room.
While de Blasio was speaking to self-styled progressives in the Hawkeye State that night, a political deal was going down back in his hometown as two party bosses threw their support behind Manhattan’s Corey Johnson to become the next City Council Speaker. Unlike four years ago when de Blasio successfully pushed for Melissa Mark-Viverito’s candidacy for the speakership, the mayor was not a major part of the process this time and by at least one account, didn’t find out about the deal until he returned to New York yesterday.
Meanwhile, back at the educational ranch, Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina is almost out the door. While it’s no surprise that the 74-year-old educator was looking to retire, it will be a real challenge for City Hall to fill the vacancy in one of the most important jobs in the administration.
Dealing with a new speaker, finding a new chancellor, and making sure that the wheels don’t fall off the city would be a full-time job for some of us, but it’s a different story for our gum-chewing hero. The mayor argues that these off-campus forays aren’t ego trips for him – they’re important for the city to have a national ambassador in this time of Trump.
But you only need to look to John Lindsay’s presidential campaign or Ed Koch’s gubernatorial race or Rudy Giuliani’s flirtation with a Senate run to get some history lessons on how out-of-town mayors have fared in politics. And Michael Bloomberg’s habit of ditching the city on weekends for Bermuda was a decision that none of his aides privately understood.
But it seems unlikely that the mayor’s wanderlust will decrease as the Democratic political waters churn with Donald Trump in the White House.
Keep on chewing.