In relative terms, the news from City Hall is encouraging. Mayor de Blasio might be having second thoughts about running for president.
Plans to announce have come and gone, with no explanation. One reason could be a lack of enthusiasm from close aides and consultants, with some reportedly refusing to work on a campaign destined to be a laughingstock.
Big deal, you say. How could de Blasio himself be so delusional as to think he could make the debate cut in the Democrats’ ballooning field, let alone get to the White House?
Besides, doesn’t he know being president is a full-time job, that you have to show up at the office every day and the whole world is watching you?
Good questions, but they assume de Blasio seriously believes he could be a contender, an assumption I don’t share. I believe he wants to run because he’s term-limited and, facing a career dead end, seized on the 2020 campaign to make a national name for himself and maybe snag a Cabinet position under a Dem president.
Which is why reports of his reconsideration gives us license to hope he is coming to his senses. Even better, until he makes a decision, we are free to dream, and as long as we’re dreaming, let’s make it a big, fantastic one.
Let’s fantasize that de Blasio decides not to run for president for the best possible reason: He realizes he’s flopped as mayor and wants to use his remaining time to change minds about who he is and what he stands for.
In our dream, he knows he is seen by many as the worst mayor in living memory, if not all time. It’s not just because he’s failed to fix what ails the city, but because he hasn’t tried.
He confesses to himself he’s been phoning it in almost since the day he got the job, delegating too many decisions and never spending the time to get into the details of substantive issues.
He knows critics are right when they say he only cares about what political arguments he can make, not whether his decisions actually improve the lives of New Yorkers.
He also admits it’s true that his hyperfocus on race and identity politics has divided the city without yielding tangible benefits to anyone except the race merchants and hustlers.
Having realized all this — remember, it’s a fantasy! — he is determined to get something done that will be uniquely his, something no other mayor did. Then he’ll have a chance for life after City Hall.
Brace yourself: He’s going to take his shot by reversing himself on key education policies.
OK, wake up, dream over. It’s back to the awful reality of the education crisis, one de Blasio is actually making worse.
The difference between what could have been and what is stands out so dramatically because of two education events last week. One was the annual gala of Success Academies, the charter juggernaut that Eva Moskowitz conceived and built.
Each spring, Moskowitz and her allies rake in millions in private donations at an event where they outline their achievements and showcase some of their 17,000 students, 76 percent of whom are from low-income households and nearly 93 percent of whom are nonwhite.
Most are standout students. In the 2018 state tests, 98 percent were proficient in math and 91 percent were proficient in English.
Those results leave the regular city system in the dust, and the Success kids are the kinds of kids de Blasio always said he wanted to help. But faced with a choice between the union-free charters and the teachers unions, he went with the unions.
His calculation was simple: They have more votes. But Moskowitz is helping children; the union is helping itself.
De Blasio should be ashamed of himself.
That shame, if he has any, was compounded by another event, where The Manhattan Institute honored Betsy DeVos, the Secretary of Education. In a speech largely national in nature, she threw out red meat for the New York audience by singling out de Blasio’s waste of $750 million on his Renewal Schools program.
She joked that it reminded her of Albert Einstein’s definition of insanity, with the wasted $750 million confirming the fallacy that doing the same thing over and over again will bring different results.
De Vos, like Moskowitz, favors giving parents more choices instead of forcing them into a rigid system that is not keeping pace with the world. According to DeVos, the US ranks 24th in reading, 25th in science and 40th in math. This is the system de Blasio defends against demands for real reforms and more choices.
Even more disgraceful, he does all he can to thwart Moskowitz and wouldn’t deign to be in the same room with DeVos.
Whether his policies are tragic for his career doesn’t matter to anyone except him. But there is no doubt those policies have been tragic for tens of thousands of youngsters denied the best education New York has to offer.
That is de Blasio’s legacy. If he’s not ashamed of himself, he damn well should be.
Andy’s fake OT-rage
Gov. Cuomo is the major force behind the congestion tax — and a major reason why the MTA needs more billions. Finally, somebody is blowing the whistle on his phony outrage over the agency’s spending.
Soon after Cuomo said wild overtime costs documented by The Post were “unacceptable,” critics quickly noted that Cuomo signed off on the labor contracts that led to the reckless spending, especially at the Long Island Rail Road.
“Gov. Cuomo controls the MTA. Period,” said John Kaehny, head of the watchdog group Reinvent Albany. “Labor contracts, including the LIRR’s, are not signed unless the governor approves them.”
Period, indeed. Cuomo broke the MTA, now he wants taxpayers to bail it — and him — out.
Zuck is for (his own) privacy
Here’s the opening of a fascinating Wall Street Journal story: “While Mark Zuckerberg deals with accusations that the company he leads is too cavalier in the way it handles users’ personal information, he is circumspect in his handling of one person’s privacy: his own.”
The piece describes the extreme measures Zuckerberg took to secretly buy $59 million worth of real estate near Lake Tahoe. He had those involved sign nondisclosure agreements, and demanded that pictures of the properties be erased from the Internet.
In other words, privacy for me but not for thee.
With Democrats facing a dilemma about whether to try to impeach President Trump, a congressman from Texas gave a weird explanation for why he wants to remove the president.
Rep. Al Green told an interviewer, “I’m concerned that if we don’t impeach this president, he will get re-elected. If we don’t impeach him, he will say he’s been vindicated. He will say the Democrats had an overwhelming majority in the House and didn’t take up impeachment.”
What’s really weird is that all those things are probably true.