Saturday, May 21, 2022


Excuse me while I repeatedly pound my head on my desk in response to this Politico story:
National Dems are calling in a new communications expert: Eric Adams

When New York City Mayor Eric Adams was asked whether he sees a place for himself on the 2024 presidential ticket, he gave an answer that fetes his current position without removing himself from the potential field.

“You could run the country from New York,” Adams said Thursday night in a local TV interview. “Why would you want to leave New York City?”
(Wait -- do you even live in New York City, Mr. Mayor?)
But the city’s 110th mayor, who took office in January, is assuming a more influential role in the national Democratic Party as a leader whose motto is “get stuff done” while communicating those accomplishments to voters. Case in point: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.), the head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, just had Adams speak at the DCCC’s Chairman’s Issues Conference and Weekend in the city on Saturday.

“Mayors don’t have the luxury of talking about problems — they have to go fix them,” Maloney said in a statement to POLITICO. “Eric Adams is a guy who has taken action while a lot of politicians are still talking. He brings a valuable perspective to our party and shows how Democrats can tackle all the important challenges and issues without falling victim to the false choices.”
But Adams isn't "communicating ... accomplishments to voters" in New York City. According to a Quinnipiac poll released earlier this month, Adams has a job approval rating of only 43% (37% disapprove, 20% have no opinion), and he has negative ratings on crime, homelessness, and the city budget.

But Pelosi and Maloney have reached out to Adams for the same reason that D.C.-based Democratic leaders do everything: because they still think it's 1988 or 1992 and allowing right-wingers to set the terms of every debate is the only way to survive. Democratic leaders take every conservative critique of their party seriously and ignore every critique from progressives in their own party. So their current polling woes can't possibly be because they haven't passed Build Back Better or canceled debt -- it must be because a handful of Democrats said "Defund the Police" two years ago.
He ... reinforced a moderate path for the party in rebuke of the more progressive actors who’ve supported the movement to defund the police and attack corporations.

“If we do not have the courage to admit public safety needs police, prosperity needs the private sector, and this country needs big changes, then we will not have the credibility to lead,” Adams said.
Right, because capitalism has worked so well for people in the 21st century. If you don't count the dot-com crash, the painfully slow recovery from the Great Recession, the current wave of inflation, and the decades-long decline in the share of national wealth that goes to the non-rich, capitalism seems awesome!

I think Defund the Police was an offputting message, a terrible way to frame what was a popular idea two years ago: that there's serious police abuse that needs to stop. It's true that most people, including people of color, want traditional policing -- but they want it without the brutality. Adams actually won the mayor's race by appearing to hit a sweet spot: He's an ex-cop who said he was a victim of police mistreatment as a young man, and he seemed to advocate reform as well as law and order. But as mayor he's abandoned the idea of reform.

As for capitalism, who apart from the Masters of the Universe themselves, and the politicians who desperately want their money, actually likes it anymore? Even Republicans know now that they get loud rounds of applause when they attack big corporations (although they don't really want to change their overall approach to the rich, as long as the rich defer to them politically).

Adams, we're told, has his eye on the White House.
Adams’ national political ambitions don’t stop at speeches.

While his recent fundraising trips to Los Angeles, Chicago and Miami are ostensibly geared toward a second mayoral term, they’re really about building an infrastructure for a White House run, according to a political strategist close to the mayor’s orbit.

“He’s laying the groundwork,” the strategist, who spoke on condition of anonymity to freely discuss the mayor, said in an interview. “I don’t know if he’s actually going to do it for 2024 or 2028, but he’s meeting national donors and national people and it’s to build a donor network and an apparatus.”
Is there some kind of Dunning-Kruger virus in the water at Gracie Mansion? First Bill De Blasio ignored his own lack of even local popularity to run for president, and now this guy. (Mike Bloomberg, too.)

No Politico story of this kind is complete without a quote from a Democratic politcal consultant who confidently explains The Way To Win without having a strong record of actually winning:
... Lis Smith, a Democratic strategist who helped take Pete Buttigieg from the mayor of a mid-sized Indiana town to the presidential campaign stage, said Adams would be a strong White House contender.

“Eric Adams is a Democrat who can appeal to voters across different racial, economic and educational demographics,” Smith said in an interview. “And that’s a voice we really need in the Democratic Party right now — especially when we are at risk of becoming a party that only appeals to people with college degrees.”
Yes, you read that right: We're being told how Democrats can avoid being seen as "a party that only appeals to people with college degrees" by a former adviser to Pete Buttigieg.

Democratic leadership can't abandon the idea that tacking to the center will solve all problems, even though it never works. I'd say this was a generational problem, but Sean Patrick Maloney is only 55. The elders are determined to pass the torch only to like-minded younger Democrats. Oh well -- I suppose someone has to preside over the party's ultimate demise.

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