Toby's Issues: Reaction to Recent Debates
Did you watch or listen to the debate between Bloomberg and Thompson the other night? Probably you didn't. I mean, if the run-off primary election for Public Advocate and Comptroller is any indication, where something like EIGHT PERCENT of the electorate showed up, then my guess is that people are pretty apathetic. And people, I gotta take you to task for this.
For example: I don't think probably most of you listened to the last debate between Yassky and Liu. I did, because because Weinstein made me. But after a while I found myself hoping that I might glean some smidgeon of information that would differentiate the two candidates.. But they spent the whole time accusing each other of negative campaigning and acting insulted. Why? Because neither of them could find an issue they disagreed on. (Tier 5 pensions for City workers being the one big difference, but it's not the Comptroller who's gonna decide that anyway!) They could have saved our money and time if they'd just put up one picture of Liu and one picture of Yassky for an hour on the TV screen and said, “dial this number for the Chinese Democrat, dial this number for the Jewish Democrat.” Not that I'm knocking Democrats. Some of my best friends are Democrats. Some of my best friends are Republicans (mostly because, in this City, there is little difference between the two.)
But here is my point. The winning candidates, Bill de Blasio for Public Advocate (whatever that office does) and John Liu for Comptroller, are fine guys. And they won with something like 50% or more of the vote in a primary run-off that pretty much has decided who has won the office, because there are no serious Republican contendors. But that 50% came from just EIGHT PERCENT of the voters. If I was John Liu or Bill de Blasio, I'd take that as a pretty serious cue that no one gives a rat's psoterior about those offices. Six percent of the voting population electing you is not a mandate. If John Liu and Bill de Blasio show up to work everyday in a donkey costume and decide that the best way to serve the people is to crap grapefruits out of the back of that costume, well don't blame them. No one elected them. And that is not their fault, people, it’s ours! As the electorate, we have to show up! It doesn't matter what choice we make, but we GOTTA vote. Otherwise, how do we hold them accountable?
And now, about the Mayoral debate: who is Bill Thompson? Does anyone know? Do I? How could we? The combination of us being an apathetic electorate and him not being a billionaire -- see the unending bombardment of slick flyers we get from Friends of Mike -- means we never hear from Bill Thompson.. This is also partly Thompson's fault. He has been our Comptroller for 8 years, but when did you ever hear from him? When was the last big earth-shaking thing that came from the Comptroller's Office? He didn’t do a bad job, but he's just too quiet about it. His office has had a couple of big stories: busting welfare fraud and whatnot. But nothing like the daily press releases from the Mayor's Office about speaking engagements, signing bills, etc. I think Bill Thompson should have been at that debate in the donkey costume, crapping out grapefruits as fast as he could. At least, then,
we'd have something to talk about instead of the term limits BS.
And that brings me to my last point: I'm not a fan of the term limits change, either, but it's done! Deal with it! If you wanna run for Mayor, you need to compete. And unless the only vote you need is your mom’s, whining is not the solution.. These are the rules, Bill. Learn to live with them. The term-limits thing is a real issue but if you want to prevent a dictatorship, you gotta prove you're better than the potential dictator!
Prove yourself to be more than the lecturing patriarch. And the only way to do that is to vote for a guy who presents real change. A guy who employs people to force him to think broadly about the issues, and who’s not afraid to admit that he is like you: he is not perfect, but he cares, most of the time. I am that man.
I promise you a vision. It won't be perfect. It might be blurry. But with the corrective lenses of the people's voice, it will at least be able to see the world in terms you understand.
Yours in the Struggle,