When a politician denounces politics, you know he’s feeling the heat. When that politician is Bill de Blasio and he aims his ire at charter schools, the media and taxpayers, you know his brain is stuck in reverse.
Ending the worst week of his mayoralty — his next good week will be his first — de Blasio got poll-whacked, with his job-approval rating sinking to 39 percent. Only black New Yorkers give him even 50 percent, and he’s under a majority in each of the five boroughs, according to the Wall Street Journal/WNBC/Marist survey.
How lucky are we to have both Obama and de Blasio in office at the same time?
If this were a marriage, talk of divorce would ruin the honeymoon.
Polls can change almost as quickly as the weather, but de Blasio’s problem has nothing to do with snowstorms. It’s his strikingly bad judgment and unappealing style of leadership.
His habit of lecturing and his belief that talking is the same as doing make him a twin of President Obama. Think of them as “Oblasio.”
Like the president, the mayor’s deficit in decision-making is compounded by his certainty regarding the flaws of others. During his Thursday trip to Chicago for a gabfest with other Dem mayors, de Blasio let loose a string of pronouncements showing that, on education, he’s still on the wrong side of the future.
“It’s our job to transcend the politics, in some ways bluntly to ignore the politics and get this discussion to a healthy place,” he said in a new-agey way of defending his attacks on successful charters.
He apparently believes Gov. Cuomo, who boldly argues that charters are reforming education, is just pandering. That’s an amazing claim when you consider that the 70,000 charter students are only 7 percent of the system. If Cuomo was going to pander, wouldn’t he pander to the other 93 percent?
In fact, that’s what de Blasio is doing by fronting for the vote-rich unions. So when he accuses others of pandering, he’s just making an excuse for the public’s rejection of his own stunted ideology.
Then there’s the media, which, in his mind, is also conspiring against him.
“You will not find a front-page story on the crisis of teacher retention in our city,” he said. “You’ll find 100 stories on charter schools, but you won’t find a story about the fact that we have a great generation of teachers, they come into our schools, and then we lose them in five years, and that’s what’s holding back public education.”
Say what? Education has been covered to death by the New York media for 25 years, and the general conclusion is that charters are a compelling success story. The media’s focus on them is a focus on good news — poor black and Latino children are learning and closing the stubborn racial achievement gap. If he cared about those kids, de Blasio would celebrate their achievements no matter which school they attend.
But charters don’t fit de Blasio’s ideology and threaten the unions, so he’s shooting the messenger.
Then there is de Blasio’s hobbyhorse of universal pre-kindergarten. Or, rather, his push for a tax hike to fund it.
“There’s no question qualitatively and impact-wise, getting early-childhood education right, really making a focus on it, putting our money where our mouth is, has a much greater multiplier effect than any other thing we can do,” he said.
That’s another fact-free claim. There are many questions about the lasting impact of early education. The most obvious one is whether it is always worth the huge cost, which comes at the expense of other students.
Notice the mayor never mentions parents as the problem or the solution. It’s easier to blame “the system” and blame taxpayers for not “putting our money where our mouth is.” In reality, it’s his mouth and their money.
Finally, he said something else in Chicago that was bizarre. According to the Web site Capital New York, de Blasio “argued that murders and shootings have dropped during his two months in office because of his plans to rein in stop-and-frisk.” It quoted him saying he “knew all along” crime would drop when he took office.
That’s Oblasio for you. Remember, the president promised his success marked the moment when “our planet began to heal.”
How lucky are we to have both in office at the same time?
Upside down on job stats
“There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics,” Mark Twain wrote. Let us here focus on the third lie’s link to unemployment.
For years, the White House insisted that falling unemployment rates proved the success of its policies. Critics said no way, arguing that, in many months, more people dropped out of the labor force than got jobs, and weren’t counted as unemployed. They cited the lowest labor participation rate in 35 years.
Which brings us to Friday’s decent jobs report, when the unemployment rate ticked higher, to 6.7 percent. Obama apologists insisted the rise was good news, saying the increase came because more people entered the work force because jobs were available.
OK, then, to recap: When the unemployment rate goes down, the administration is doing a good job. When the rate goes up, the administration is doing a good job.
Twain said it best.
Regarding Henry on Ukraine crisis
Henry Kissinger’s op-ed in The Post about the crisis in Ukraine was chock-full of his trademark gems and concisely laid bare the mistakes. “The test of policy is how it ends, not how it begins,” he writes.
Noting that Russia offered Ukraine a better trade deal last year when the European Union dithered over details, Kissinger observes that “foreign policy is the art of establishing priorities.”
Regarding the historic East-West divisions in Ukraine, he says the tug-of-war can be resolved only with “reconciliation, not the domination of a faction.” He accuses the West, Russia and Ukrainian leaders of ignoring that fact and says each “made the situation worse.”
Kissinger, who has said publicly he speaks regularly to Vladimir Putin, bluntly warned that Russia’s invasion risks “another Cold War.”
As for America, he urged the Obama administration “to avoid treating Russia as an aberrant to be patiently taught the rules of conduct established by Washington.”
Get that, John Kerry? No more lectures about Russia not understanding the 21st century.
Kissinger concludes, as he always does, with a realistic vision of the endgame. There must be, he writes, “not absolute satisfaction, but balanced dissatisfaction.”
Very diplomatic — and probably the best deal possible.
Boyland the Yapper Don
The crooked career of Assemblyman William Boyland Jr. will be soon forgotten, but a comment he made to an undercover FBI agent should be remembered forever.
As he took the agent, who played a businessman willing to pay bribes, on a tour of his district, Boyland described himself like a Mafia boss.
“Everything you’ve seen — I’m in control of,” the Brooklyn Democrat said. “I’m the politician.”
Now he’s a convicted one and faces up to 30 years. His punishment ought to be a stiff lesson to others who think public service is a license to act like a gangster.
To continue reading Michael Goodwin’s column in the New York Post, click here.
Michael Goodwin is a Fox News contributor and New York Post columnist.Follow enlightenedlbrl