Beyond pandering to unions, party stalwarts seeking citywide offices often act like students in a high-school play. Faced with a pervasive lack of enthusiasm among voters, the candidates ratchet up their rhetoric with false passion, exaggerated claims and utopian schemes.
They’re not just promising a chicken in every pot. They’re promising new pots, new houses and child care and transportation — most of it free.
Thompson pledged a free lunch for every school student, regardless of family income. “We have a moral obligation to make sure our students aren’t going hungry,” he said, claiming that “the stigma” of free or cut-rate food kept families from applying. Inadvertently proving economist Milton Friedman’s point, the candidate put the cost of a “free lunch” at $20 million.
Quinn’s big idea was to promise better condoms, proving she’s suffering from Weiner overload. She told a Black Pride Heritage Awards audience there were too many complaints about the sizes and strength of the 37 million rubbers the city handed out in 2012. “We will be improving the NYC Condom,” she vowed.
Imagine what her grandparents would say about “free” condoms, which cost taxpayers $3.7 million last year.