New York City's new Democratic frontrunner Bill de Blasio has a lot of similarities to another newsmaking Democrat — President Barack Obama, according to a New York Post columnist.
"He was the only Democrat in a cluttered primary field to recognize — and then to capitalize on — the lesson Barack Obama taught the nation in 2008: That is, it is no longer necessary to do important things to win high office; it is only necessary to talk about doing important things," writes columnist Bob McManus.
The two politicians have much in common, McManus said.
"Each wandered into his respective spotlight from stage (far) left, audaciously ambitious bit players with inauspicious resumes — Obama with minor local credentials and a partial term in the US Senate; de Blasio with thumb-twiddling time in the City Council and as New York’s institutionally do-nothing public advocate," he said.
But both understand that perception matters more than substance and how to play the publicity card and used those talents to get votes.
But having a record of success means a candidate is "vulnerable to out-of-context attacks, snarky tweets and late-night-comic ridicule," said McManus.
Both Obama and de Blasio also know that Americans no longer have patience to deal with difficult problems or the people who solve them, but still have a "prodigious appetite for unserious solutions," he wrote.
In addition, Obama and de Blasio also understand how to play on class resentment and they both advocate healthcare issues. The president has his Obamacare plan and de Blasio has his advocacy of the failed Long Island College Hospital, McManus said.
Obamacare, McManus said, is an "unaffordable overreach now being strangled by bureaucratic inertia and political backlash" while championing the Long Island facility is a "symbolic effort to preserve equally unaffordable 20th-century health-care infrastructure (and union jobs) in the face of far better, digital age, alternatives."
Both Democrats also have unrealistic views on dealing with threats, he wrote.
"Obama preached a wrong-headed but winning message in 2008 — that Islamic terrorists, and an otherwise fractious world, are open to reason," McManus wrote. "He has since learned otherwise — Vladimir Putin spent much of last week playing with him like a bored cat with a crippled mouse — but the ploy worked on Election Day 2008."
De Blasio, meanwhile, contends New York has won its war on crime and no longer needs its stop-and-frisk law.
"But what de Blasio really objects to — as did all of the Democratic candidates in last week’s primary — is effective policing, pure and simple," he said.
The two Democrats also have many other similarities in their educations, their early careers, "and each comes with an extraordinarily winsome family — always an electoral asset."
But most of all, McManus says, "they are truly political twins in this regard: Each came to prominence untested, hawking superficialities and promising what amounted to the unattainable."
And Obama and his incompetencies have "finally compiled a record — and it ain’t pretty," he concludes.
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