Tags: deblasio | noonan | divider

Peggy Noonan: de Blasio Will Be a 'Divider'

Image: Peggy Noonan: de Blasio Will Be a 'Divider'

Friday, 03 Jan 2014 10:26 AM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio appears to have something against people who aren't poor or living "on the margins" and could end up dividing the city, according to Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan.

"Whether you are a conservative or a liberal, you can choose, as a leader, to be a uniter or a divider," Noonan wrote Thursday, a day after the Democrat was sworn in to replace Michael Bloomberg.

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"Mr. de Blasio seems very much the latter. He is on the side of the poor and the marginalized, which is good, but he took every opportunity to jab at those who are not poor and don't live on the margins."

Noonan pointed out that Bloomberg, an independent who served 12 years in office, and former Republican Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who served 1994-2001, were both tough leaders who helped bring the city through some hard years that included the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, near bankruptcy, labor unrest, and high crime rates.

Giuliani, she said, worked to stabilize the city and get the criminals off the street, and he left behind a "safer, more prosperous city."

"Love him or hate him," she wrote, "he showed what a leader looked like" after the terrorist attacks.

Bloomberg, sworn in a few months after the attack, "had to lead the city as it righted itself, got over the trauma and refound its confidence," Noonan added. "His job was to shake off the ashes and dust, expand and diversify the economy, help create jobs, lower crime rates even further, move forward. He succeeded."

But the conservative columnist said New Yorkers have forgotten what the city was like before Giuliani and Bloomberg, noting that since the city leans Democratic "sooner or later it was going to swerve."

The columnist warned that de Blasio planned reforms could end up doing the city more harm than good. For example, she said his disdain for the police department's stop and frisk policy, which she said has "been part of the kind of policing that helped New York reduce crime," could jeopardize the program. She also complained about his plans to ask the wealthy to pay more in taxes to support education, without mentioning "the most famous impediment to educational improvement and reform: the teachers unions."

People who oppose de Blasio's plans are seen as being "greedy and uncaring," Noonan wrote, thanks to the "divider" tone the new mayor has already set for his new administration.

"A uniter's approach would have been one that was both more morally generous and more honest," said Noonan. "It wouldn't set one group against the other, it would have asserted that all New Yorkers are in this together."

But, Noonan added, de Blasio displayed no civic courtesy or grace in his inaugural address, making for what she described as "not a promising beginning."

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