New York’s mayor has lost the police — and maybe much more than that
Bill de Blasio, like his progressive political idol Barack Obama, is finding out that you can’t do the New Politics if you don’t pay attention to the old politics.
In Obama’s case, it was a failure to recognize the threat posed to him by Republicans who didn’t buy into his calls for a post-partisan partnership with Congress. For New York’s ambitious liberal mayor, it was an inability to keep long-simmering tensions with the city’s traditionally powerful police department from boiling over in the last few days.
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Just over a year after sailing into office with 72 percent of the vote on a message of transformational change, de Blasio found his mayoralty subsumed by a torrent of anger, unleashed by the murder of two police officers in Brooklyn Saturday by a troubled gunman who said he was killing “pigs” to avenge the deaths of two men by cops in Staten Island and Ferguson, Missouri. By Monday, de Blasio was lashing out at the press corps that covers him, trying to paper over public divisions with his own police commissioner and coping with what friends described as the emotional blow of facing public rejection by many in the nation’s biggest police force. “He’s pretty badly shaken” by the murders, one told us.