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Ed Driscoll

The Bad Old Days: Returning Soon to a Gotham City Near You

September 27th, 2013 - 10:45 am

In the conclusion to his week-long series on “The Fate of New York,” Jay Nordlinger has some amusing anecdotes regarding the nanny-isms of soon-to-be-departing Mayor Bloomberg (including a great one involving Pat Buckley asking Bloomberg his “permission” to smoke in her home during an NR dinner Bloomberg sat in on). Bloomberg’s excesses — and there are many — come with his willingness to continue the crime fighting initiatives put in place by Rudy Giuliani. Programs that may very well become highly diluted, if not scrapped entirely by Bloomberg’s likely successor:

It appears that New Yorkers will elect, as our next mayor, the Democratic nominee, Bill de Blasio. He is a true-believing leftist. A supporter of the Communists in Latin America. The whole nine yards.

One reason they will elect him, I think, is that they have no memory of the bad old days. And they have no idea what it took to turn New York into the delight it is today — the delight it has been for 20 years or so.

As Myron says, New York is “always a city of newcomers.” How many voters moved here during the Rudy-Bloomy golden age? Lots, no doubt. They probably think the state of harmony is normal.

Other New Yorkers know better. And some people think that New Yorkers at large will never go back — will never again “tolerate the intolerable,” to use Norman Podhoretz’s phrase. They have seen the lights of Paree: a safe, livable, lovable New York. And they won’t go back to the farm.

I don’t believe it. People can be convinced to tolerate the intolerable. Convinced they have to. After all, it happened before.

And everything Giuliani and Bloomberg have done is reversible. None of their gains is permanent. The barbarians are always at the gate. They are never vanquished, permanently. They may be kept at bay for a while — but they wait to be allowed back in.

What can reverse our reign of peace? A mayor who submits to racial bullying. A government that is complacent, inattentive — that lets New York’s guard down. “Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth; and thy want as an armed man.”

There was once a common sign in New York. People put it in their cars, when they left them on the street: “No Radio.” It was a sign of helplessness and hopelessness. As Commissioner Kelly remarked, it said, Don’t break into my car. The one behind me, maybe, or the one in front of me. But not mine, pretty please.

How pathetic. And how utterly accepted it was. I have never seen, personally, a “No Radio” sign. Ever. I moved here in 1998, remember — well into the Giuliani renaissance. Will that sign come back? (I don’t know if cars have radios anymore — as they did pre-Giuliani. But they must have something.)

I saw those signs; I was at NYU in the late 1980s. They could well be returning in the next few years.

Nordlinger concludes:

I imagine that, if things turn horrible and desperate again, people will turn, once more, to a Rudy — eventually. But it should not have to take that. You could have harmony (relative harmony) all the time, if you wanted to. In a democracy, the people really do rule.

Insert Ed Koch quote here.


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All Comments   (4)
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Ultimately, NYC is going to do what it's going to do--but that can be an opportunity for those of us who aren't going to be directly affected by the mess. The same attention that has been paid to every one of Nanny Bloomberg's little exercises in petty totalitarianism can be paid to those which will be forthcoming from the little Sandinista groupie if he's elected, and force every Democrat out there to either embrace those acts or run away from them as if they were plague victims. After four years of that, both New York Democrats and the national party will be ready to chase the little idiot into obscurity, and retreating on the issues that made the Giuliani/Bloomberg eras better than what preceded them will be a death warrant for any candidate to replace him who dares to do so.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Turn to a Giuliani?
So such a person could sue more gun shops in other States for selling guns that are used to commit crimes in NYC?
So he could fire more successful police commissioners until finally settling for a corrupt one?
So he could support more aides throwing fits because they cannot find parking for Yankees games?
So he can insult more people for wanting to keep pet ferrets?
So he invite more mistresses into the mayoral residence with his family?
Or just so he can try to cancel an election and have to settle for having his hand-picked successor take over instead and that one will go on to usurp a third term and outlaw 32 oz. sodas?

Oh, I see:
"Under Rudy and Bloomy, it has been pretty damn good . . ."
Because of course a police state under "liberals" who join the Republican Party for political expediency is infinitely superior to just an ordinary Marxist failed state.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I agree with Koch that the people stand to be punished, but I think you're missing the upside--think of the movies that can be made! I write about it over here ( a bit, but I see another Golden Age of 'gritty streets' movies in the Big Apple coming if de Blasio is elected.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The first generation of NYC liberals in the modern media era benefited from limited visual collective memory -- that is, while the city had gone through awful times before, before and during the civil war and again in the Jimmy Walker era -- they were no easily seen visual signs of the collapse or the recovery. So liberals from Lindsay to Dinkins could claim they were in uncharted territory, and there was nothing to do to reverse the decline except to manage it as much as possible.

De Blassio won't have that formula. Many in New York now didn't experience the graffiti scouge, whole neighborhood afire or the six-murders-a-day crime rate, but those things are visually documented, as is the recovery under Giuliani that was maintained by Bloomberg.

Rudy didn't win in his first try for the mayoralty, losing to Dinkins in 1989. New Yorkers had to experience four years of Dave for a small number of them to change their votes and (barely) give Rudy the win in 1993. That may end up being what Joe Lhota has to settle for, if he wants to give it another shot in 2017 (though that may require a Hillary win in 2016 to be successful -- failing Democratic mayors of New York normally find a higher-up Republican to blame their failures on, and if the GOP win back the White House, de Blasio will probably get enough liberals to believe all his failures are due to the new guy in Washington).
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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