How Did Bill de Blasio Screw Up Today?

Happier times. Yes, even with all that snow, these were happier times.
Happier times. Yes, even with all that snow, these were happier times.

Aren’t new politicians supposed to have a bit of a honeymoon period following their inaugurations? Like, didn’t we all spend a good solid few months after Obama’s inauguration thinking that he was just the greatest and could do no wrong and, sure, it turns out that he could (and did…and does!) do a lot wrong, but, man, those first few months were great, right? So shouldn’t we have reasonably expected the same thing with the new mayor? Shouldn’t there have been some kind of honeymoon-esque grace period where de Blasio would make all the right decisions and we could all just bask in the glow of having elected a guy who would be making all the right decisions forever and ever? Maybe! Maybe there should have been. But, well, it’s not really happening that way. Not even close.

At least one of the ways in which de Blasio has had a rocky start to his mayoralty is not really his fault. We’re talking, of course, about his trial by snow. The mayor can’t control the weather, and we don’t expect him to…but we do at least expect to have the garbage and recycling picked up occasionally! And then there was that whole thing where de Blasio’s friend was automatically released from jail following a well-timed phone call from the mayor’s office. It’s seemed like there’s been a scandal a day! Admittedly, most of these are pretty minor as far as scandals go, but these kinds of slip-ups have also understandably led to comments like this one from Vanity Fair’s Juli Weiner: “The actual new mayor is sure going to learn a lot from Practice Mayor Bill de Blasio.”

And the latest lesson that the new mayor will learn from the practice mayor? When one of the biggest initiatives that you put forth in your few weeks of holding office is about traffic safety and curbing pedestrian fatalities and is all about having no tolerance for speeding automobiles on city streets, then maybe, just MAYBE, you shouldn’t be caught on camera in a car that not only is going more than 15 miles over the posted speed limit, but also flew right through a stop sign. What the hell, de Blasio? Do the words “Vision Zero” mean nothing to you? While it seems that no pedestrians were in any danger from de Blasio’s car (and, no, he was not driving, but still), that’s not really any excuse. These kind of stupid scandals are exactly that—stupid—but they still risk dominating the headlines and detracting from the things that the de Blasio administration is actually working on, things like, you know, promoting traffic safety. All of this isn’t to say that we don’t support de Blasio or that we don’t think that these kind of scandals are surmountable, but, well, pull yourself together, de Blasio! You can’t afford to keep fucking up the small stuff if you want to get the big stuff pushed through. That’s, like, the first rule of politics. Nobody cares about policy! We care about petty scandals! Don’t feed the beast, de Blasio. And, please, slow down. The career life you save may be your own.

Follow Kristin Iversen on twitter @kmiversen


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