Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Lady Who Might Be Mayor

Since I'm a man (at least the last time I checked) I don't do things like read Elle magazine. It's a "chick mag", for and about glamorous chicks, who live busy lives of being glamorous and famous and better than the rest of us. Usually articles in magazines like this are about actresses, models, singers, ya know, glamorous broads. But recently this magazine did a profile on someone who might not be that glamorous but is -- and could get even more -- powerful.

NYC's own Christine Quinn.

She's the Speaker of the City Council, the second most powerful person in town, and is considered a strong candidate for mayor in 2013. In her position as speaker, municipal legislation only gets introduced and passed if she wants it to be. She acts (or can) as a counterweight to Mayor Bloomberg, she can (if she wants to) act as his check and balance. Christine Quinn is one of the very few people in city government who Bloomberg can't directly control. 

Of course, one of the complaints about her is that she doesn't act as an effective enough counterweight, that she goes along with the Bloomberg corporatist agenda hook, line, and sinker, and that he does to some extent control her. Quinn obviously wants to be mayor very badly, and many think she's qualified. And the fact that she's a lesbian, even engaged to a woman who she's been with for ten years, makes her all the more interesting.

Christine Quinn is the very model of a modern 21st century NYC politician.

But as glowing and reverential as this Elle profile is, as much as it makes her possible elevation to mayor seem like a great leap for womankind, this glossy article glosses over some of Quinn's real liabilities going into 2013. Namely, a lot of liberal Democrats, her natural constituency, don't like her. She's continually sidelined progressive legislation like the living wage. She totally ignored OWS. She's made herself Wall Street and big business's best friend. She's done nothing to stick up for teacher's while Bloomberg and his allies have declared war on them. She's done from being a progressive activist to a business as usual politician.

Quinn is so obsessed with being viewed as "moderate" or "centrist" Democrat that she is losing the very Democrats she'll need to win a mayoral primary. 

One of the things that's interesting about this article is how clueless the author of it is about NYC politics or about NYC in general (even though the author lives here, she admits that she's never been to Staten Island or the Bronx). Part of the problem with the media is how little they understand the underlying dynamics of politics, how it works, and why people win or don't win elections. And if Quinn doesn't become mayor, the author of this article would be smart to find out why.

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