Urban issues drove the last two waves of progressive national policy. The New Deal reflected, to a great extent, a partnership between the Roosevelt administration and forward-thinking urban leaders like Fiorello LaGuardia and Edward Flynn, the Bronx Democratic boss who was one of FDR’s key advisers. The Great Society aimed squarely at urban poverty and political engagement. The former wave reshaped many cities; the latter didn’t get much chance to, overtaken as it was by a conservative wave that wrapped itself around a rural, agrarian myth of the “real” America. President Obama promised to change that, creating a cabinet-level post for urban policy and some pilot programs to foster transit-oriented development and attack concentrated poverty, but these were all slowed down by the budget wars with Republicans.
Now de Blasio will try to change that. “All of the capacity that our cities have being maximized is the best thing that could happen to the United States,” he said last week.
New York City is about to suffer a bout of progressivism so nasty that the contagion might spread to Washington.
More seriously, The Nation has been pimping De Blasio hard since he won election. He’s the Bright New Progressive Hope. If he doesn’t run the city into the ground any sooner than I expect, he’ll make a run for President.