NY Times: Bill de Blasio Is New GOP Bogeyman

Wednesday, 14 May 2014 07:30 PM

By Sean Piccoli

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The right has a brand-new punching bag, and he eats gourmet pizza with a fork.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio has become a favorite target of national Republicans for his liberal politics, union sympathies, and attempts to raise taxes on the city's wealthiest, The New York Times reports.

The right's fixation on the "Sandinista mayor," as some have dubbed him, began developing before he got elected: candidate de Blasio's class-based criticisms of Republican Mayor Michael Bloomberg — even his use of cutlery on pizza — set conservatives' teeth on edge.

But a Monday night event in New York may have cinched de Blasio's new status as a GOP talking point. At the annual dinner for the Manhattan Institute, a conservative think tank, de Blasio jokes flew from the podium.

Ex-Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, a guest of honor, volunteered to help put another New York Republican, Rudy Giuliani, back in his old job.

"I would be willing to chair the Rudy 2017 campaign against Bill de Blasio," Bush said to loud applause, The Hill reported.

De Blasio's high-profile critics on the right have ranged from Fox News host Bill O'Reilly ("I want to beat him up") to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie ("While I feel badly for New Yorkers, come to New Jersey").

"It is a startling turn for a municipal leader who was virtually unknown, even in New York, just a year ago but now finds himself on the same conservative dartboard as far better established figures like Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and the occupant of the Oval Office," the Times noted.

De Blasio's biggest critics fear he'll return New York to an older, Democratic era of fiscal bankruptcy, rampant crime and urban decay, topped off with stifling political correctness and hostility toward the well-to-do.

De Blasio met with Wall Street leaders during the campaign to reassure them he wasn't their nemesis. "Wall Street is our hometown industry," he told a group of financiers in October.

But the gibes directed at him now are "a sign of just how much Mr. de Blasio has conformed to stereotypes about what happens when a liberal takes charge," the Times said.

"The mayor has guaranteed billions of dollars in back wages to local unions; unveiled a budget that raised spending and deficits; and spoken out against the growth of charter schools, a cherished project of many in the conservative elite."

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