The world’s best gosh darned campaign team seems to have managed to stick their foot in it again. Later this month Hillary Clinton will be “officially” launching or relaunching or coming out of the closet about her presidential campaign. The planned rally will take place at Four Freedoms Park which is located in the middle of the East River on Roosevelt Island. It’s a fairly tight venue to start with and the media is complaining that getting in and out of there is a challenge on a normal day, to say nothing of doing it in the middle of a gigantic media circus which will also include the Secret Service. (Because Bill is coming along.) But Roosevelt Island isn’t just a tourist attraction. It’s home to more than ten thousand people who already had plans for that day which involved the park on the south end of their community.
And just to put some icing on the cake… it was a children’s event.
Hillary Clinton’s campaign didn’t pick the best time to stage a major campaign rally at Four Freedoms Park on Roosevelt Island later this month.
According to the park’s website, a specially planned event for tots called Imagination Playground — which features unique blue building blocks — has been canceled to accommodate the Democratic front-runner for president.
Also at risk of major inconvenience: an annual celebration called Roosevelt Island Day, which features a blood drive, hot dog stands and free rides for kids.
“It’s going to be horrendous logistically,” said Sherie Helstien, vice president of the island’s community association, who noted that her community has just one main road.
So you managed to wipe out a long planned event for children and a blood drive all in one fell swoop. It was particularly notable that the woman from the community association (who is a fervent Hillary supporter) seemed completely amazed that the campaign could parachute into the midst of their neighborhood without even bothering to contact anyone to see if there was anything already planned. But hey… that’s just how Team Hillary rolls. (Or steamrolls?) Get on board or get out of the way.
The temptation to use Four Freedoms Park is clear. Even Clinton’s most devout supporters have been complaining that she’s isolated herself from her own base and hasn’t been getting out and mixing it up with the public. But that comes with risks that disgruntled people will show up to mess up the optics and the press may expect you to actually answer questions. New York City provides one of the best opportunities for Clinton to find an audience as close to 100% Hillary supporters as possible. The restricted access to the island (a lot of folks will have to take the metro) should make it easier to manage the crowd put the best spin on things. But all of that gets washed away if you leave everyone with the impression that a giant has just blundered through and crushed all the Lilliputians beneath her feet.
Still, it looks like it’s too late for Hillary to back out of it now. This may be just enough of a spectacle for me to head into the city, hop the train and check it out. Unless, of course, the screeners don’t want to let me into the park.