Appearing at a Politico breakfast this week, progressive icon and New York City mayor Bill de Blasio effusively praised his fellow liberal, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), but his plaudits for likely Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton was far more reserved.
In May, Clinton delivered a fiery,“populist” speech, according to press accounts, denouncing the scourge of income inequality. “Economists have documented how the share of income and wealth going to those at the very top — not just the top 1 percent but the top 0.1 percent, the 0.01 percent of the population — has risen sharply over the last generation,” the former secretary of state exclaimed. “Some are calling it a throwback to the Gilded Age of the robber barons.”
Either he simply did not catch that speech, or even these stratospheric levels of hyperbolic pandering to the left were just not good enough for Mayor de Blasio. “I think whoever runs has to address income inequality. They have to do it morally and they have to do it politically,” he said, in a veiled effort to drive Clinton to the left. “The absence (of which) will lead to failure.”
After saying that he thinks it is “necessary” for the next Democratic nominee to focus heavily on that issue which so energized the Occupy Wall Street protests in 2011, the NYC mayor added that he would be “honored” to offer his services to the next nominee (as he did when he served as campaign manager for Clinton’s 2000 U.S. Senate bid) to help him or her craft that message.
“The Democrat should be willing to challenge the status quo,” de Blasio said of the eventual Democratic nominee. “The Democrat should be willing to challenge wealthy and powerful interests and should marry that with a grass-roots organizing strategy that epitomizes the message.”
As for Clinton, de Blasio is still waiting to hear that populist income inequality speech she gave in May. “I don’t think we’ve had the opportunity to hear from her on this new (post-recession) reality,” he said, according to The New York Post.
When even your former campaign manager believes you do not accurately represent the party from which you are seeking the presidential nomination…
The curious condition here is that Clinton did not depart from the ideological center of gravity of the Democratic Party, the ideological center of gravity left her. In 2006, well after de Blasio committed to get Clinton elected to the Senate, the junior New York senator was described as the party’s scion of the “liberal wing.” Today, despite her slavish efforts to appease the restless progressive elements within her party by mimicking their tired dogma, Clinton cannot shed the image that she is a squishy centrist.
This is yet another confirmation that the Democratic Party of the Obama era is well to the left of the Democratic Party of the last decade.