Mayor De Blasio has been in office just about eight weeks -- and you'd think he was already on the skids after reading the NYC newspapers and watching local TV news broadcasts. He's been assailed for the ways he eats pizza (sometimes with a knife and a fork), for not removing snow fast enough on the Upper East Side, for keeping public schools open on a snow day (an NBC weatherman assailed him for it in a tweet), for having his security detail drive him through stop signs and speed in order to get him to an event, for once crossing the street against the light, for being late to his press conferences, for making a phone call to the police about a minister's arrest, for being a Red Sox fan, for demanding low-income housing in new developments, for wanting to charge rent to some charter schools, for considering shutting down the horse and buggy rides in Central Park, for fighting with Gov. Andrew Cuomo about taxing individuals who earn over $500,000 a year, for being a socialist or a radical, for not being Mayor Michael Bloomberg. I have probably left something out, but the New York Post will remind me if I have.
What's this all about? One has to think that there is a hidden agenda for all of this piling on. Yes, it is fair to criticize the mayor for not measuring up, early on, to the high ideals he has promised in his own governance -- though, it is also useful to point out that he is, after all, a human being. Yes, it is fair, too, to debate him over his priorities like how to finance pre-school education or how to treat charter schools or how to do snow removal -- or a half-dozen other urban problems. But this wholesale assault on a man considered to be affable and open-minded, who has just won office with more than 70 percent of the city vote, who has already put together an impressive, highly motivated and experienced team in the city's government, who has not displayed the arrogance of the former Mayor Giuliani or the imperial over-lording of the former Mayor Bloomberg, and who digs out his own sidewalk from the snow and helps full potholes, seems to be a bit of an overreach.
Maybe, just maybe, this is an attempt by the retrogressive elements in the city who lost the election to try every tactic they can imagine to stop the mayor from carrying out his election promises, some of which will hurt their pocketbooks, some of which will take away their favorite programs, some of which will sideline regular entrenched interests who have lustily fed off city payrolls in the past. So this discrediting by daily ridicule and contempt and condescension will continue as a means to diminish him in the eyes of the electorate and eventually make him seem irrelevant to the city's future. So far, though, it is fair to say that the new mayor has plowed ahead, unbowed by this relentless cascade of attacks. Still he should be prepared for a long siege ahead, bolstered by the knowledge that most of New York City is still on his side.