Thursday, January 2, 2014

Changing Direction

Okay, I was kind of obsessed with the evils of religious belief last month, but the holiday season has a way of doing that to me.  Despite John Kerry's current attempts to make progress towards Israeli-Palestinian peace, I will not obsess over the concept of the "Jewish (apartheid) state" for at least a month or two.

So, instead, let's try to parse the significance of Bill DeBlasio's inauguration as Mayor of New York City yesterday.  His address was both populist and progressive, but there was a bit of weirdness involved.  For one thing, he was sworn in by Bill Clinton, the man who led the Democratic Party away from its progressive ideals and into the pocket of Wall Street — the alleged "Democrat" who signed the bill to "end welfare as we know it," would not consider the regulation of derivatives, and signed the bill that ended Glass-Steagall.

Was it a signal?  Hillary was there too.  Did the Clinton presence signal that Hillary is ready to move the Democratic Party back towards the left if she gets her turn to run in 2016?  And if she runs as a progressive, will she follow through if she wins?

Also present was the not especially progressive Democratic Governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, also mentioned as a potential candidate in 2016.  Since he currently holds office, if he means to make a progressive turn he'll actually have to do it, right out there in public.  (It also would be nice if he could follow through on his promise to clean up the Albany cesspool of corruption.  New Yorkers used to look down on New Jersey as a cesspool of corruption.  These days, it's kind of a toss-up.)

Andrew's father, Mario Cuomo, anticipated DeBlasio's use of the "Tale of Two Cities" analogy a few decades ago, when he delivered the keynote address at the 1984 Democratic Convention.  To me, it remains the greatest convention speech of modern times, far surpassing the 2004 Obama speech (which turned out to be, largely, bullshit.)  Andrew ought to give it a listen — and so should you.

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