THE BLOG
11/15/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Thompson's a Tiger! Who Knew?

No. It's not City Comptroller William C. Thompson, Jr.'s widely anticipated victory over long shot New York City council member Tony Avella, in the Democratic mayoral Primary that the title alludes to. Unlike the election of Cyrus Vance, Jr., which effectively makes him Robert M. Morgenthau's successor as Manhattan's next district attorney, Thompson's win wasn't even reported on the front page or the home page, of any mainstream media outlets, like the Times or the Huffington Post.

No, there's something else that's more newsworthy than what amounted to a foregone conclusion. It's what WNYC Radio morning-talk-show host Brian Lehrer described as a "barnburner of a speech," that an evidently invigorated Mr. Thompson gave once the Associated Press called the race in his favor just a couple hours after the polls closed.

Like many local journalist, notwithstanding his NPR-stance of assiduous evenhandedness, Mr. Lehrer has long seemed unable to conceal his informed impression that his honor, Mayor Michael Billionaire Bloomberg will be handily reelected. But listening to his post election wrap up, one detected that even he was impressed by a passion and confidence not ordinarily associated with the comptroller.

Denouncing a string of broken promises, beginning with the mayor's professed opposition to the elimination of term limits, Thompson challenged the record of his "Republican opponent" in greater detail than he ever has before. Punctuating his charges of raised taxes for the middle class, versus, tax cuts for developers of luxury apartment towers; raised subway fares and regulated apartment rents, as opposed to fate of affluent people like the mayor, who have grown incredibly richer during a boom to bust regime, Thompson stirringly repeated the refrain, "Eight is enough!", "Eight is enough!"

Taken up by lustily chanting assembled supporters, the catchy slogan resounded over the airwaves. Listening, that's when it hit me. A year ago, I had already heard Thompson deliver a riveting address during his testimony at City Hall opposing the term limit overturn, so I knew of his potential to move people. But, like everyone else the fifteen billion dollar question bothered even me, 'How do you beat the richest man in town, when for every dollar you spend, he's willing to spend $100,000?'

Having forgotten who George Santayana was, we've surly forgotten his admonishment to study history lest we repeat the mistakes of the past. I t might sound grandiloquent, but we could all learn a thing or two recalling our own Revolutionary War engagement, the battle of Bunker Hill. "Don't fire until you see the whites of their eyes!" the ill-equipped, out-manned, and out-spent patriot forces were instructed as a measure to make every shot count and to conserve scarce ammunition.

In the end, our side lost that particular battle. Yet, by being strategic, by inspiring citizens to support the cause that was defending their interest, instead of helping to maintain and enhance the interest of the king of the world's richest and most powerful nation, an ocean away, we prevailed!

With a reported $5,000,000 in the bank, William Thompson, poised to launch an encapsulated media blitz of the kind our billionaire mayor has treated us to for the past six months, is evidently strategic too. And possessed of the ability to motivate people to support someone who supports their well being, it means we have a chance to win our city back. I was beginning to have my doubts, but recalling Bunker Hill, remembering how only a year ago, Alma Rangel and State Senator Bill Perkins were the only members of New York officialdom who knew that there was an alternative to Senator McCain and to Senator Clinton as well, I should of worried less.

Before the Iowa primary, most Americans, most African Americans as well, felt that getting our country back was almost impossible, except with Hillary Clinton. 'Surely America wasn't ready to elect a black president!', we told ourselves and we advised our friends. But, fortunately, ready for something different and better, Barak Obama convinced enough of us that he was infinitely able and ready to effect the changes so many yearned for.

Fortunately, now that he's found his voice again and can see the billionaire's eyes, Thompson can do the same, can restore our audacity to be hopeful that you won't have to be rich to be welcome in the greatest city in the world anymore!