Granted, the fact that he became an “ardent supporter” of the Sandinistas while working as an activist in Nicaragua in the late 80s and chose Cuba as his honeymoon spot after he got married is troubling but doesn’t necessarily mean he’s a communist now. Luckily, a local news show in NYC put the question to him this morning, sort of:
This morning, during an appearance on PIX 11 news, he was asked whether he was a “radical, left-wing Democrat.”
“I’m a progressive and I’m a Democrat, that’s right,” he responded, describing his philosophy in the tradition of President Franklin Roosevelt.
So, yeah, he’s a communist. Alternate headline: “De Blasio’s huge lead in mayoral race expected to widen.”
Bill de Blasio, then 26, went to Nicaragua to help distribute food and medicine in the middle of a war between left and right. But he returned with something else entirely: a vision of the possibilities of an unfettered leftist government…
Mr. de Blasio became an ardent supporter of the Nicaraguan revolutionaries. He helped raise funds for the Sandinistas in New York and subscribed to the party’s newspaper, Barricada, or Barricade. When he was asked at a meeting in 1990 about his goals for society, he said he was an advocate of “democratic socialism.”…
In a recent interview, Mr. de Blasio said his views then — and now — represented a mix of admiration for European social democratic movements, Mr. Roosevelt’s New Deal and liberation theology.
Mr. de Blasio remained supportive of the Sandinistas, often referred to by their acronym, F.S.L.N., even after they lost power. “People who had shallow party sympathies with the F.S.L.N. pretty much dropped everything when they lost,” said Jane Guskin, a fellow activist in the solidarity group. “Bill wasn’t like that.”
He did tell the Times that the Sandinistas were “not free enough by any stretch of the imagination” because of their crackdown on opposition radio stations and newspapers, but precisely when he figured that out is unclear. He was still moon-eyed about them circa 1990, when the Times interviewed him for a story about American leftists who were wistful for the group after its defeat. Quote:
Sorry to read de Blasio was still pro-Sandinista in 1990 when they were jailing dissidents, shutting newspapers. (I covered in Newsweek).
— Jonathan Alter (@jonathanalter) September 23, 2013
Joe Lhota, the GOP nominee for mayor, took the easy lay-up this morning:
“Bill de Blasio needs to explain himself — and explain himself now — to the hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers who escaped Marxist tyranny in Asia, Central America, and from behind the Iron Curtain in Eastern Europe,” he said in a statement.
“Mr. de Blasio’s involvement with the Sandinistas didn’t happen in 1917; it happened 70 years later when the cruelty and intrinsic failure of communism had become crystal clear to anyone with a modicum of reason. Mr. de Blasio’s class warfare strategy in New York City is directly out of the Marxist playbook. Now we know why.”
I’m curious to see if red-baiting this guy moves the polls even a little. In fairness to the liberals who run New York, they’re much more Bloombergian than de Blasian, I think. They’re happy to micromanage the hoi polloi’s soda consumption, but they also love, love, love their limousines. Having a Sandinista fan in charge of the heart of American capitalism won’t sit entirely easy with them. But then, the demographics are what they are: Per the latest poll, de Blasio leads Lhota … 65/22. This Nicaragua business may be just the trick the underdog needs to secure a respectable 30-point loss, my friends.
Oh well. If New York needs to re-learn a lesson about the glories of having a full-fledged liberal as mayor, it’s fitting that they choose a guy who didn’t learn his own historical lessons. And by the way, just for fun: Obama chose the very day that the Times’s story about de Blasio’s romance with the Sandinistas dropped to endorse him for mayor. They’re meeting tonight in NYC since O’s in town for the UN General Assembly. Exit question: de Blasio/Warren 2020?