Sunday, June 07, 2015

206.5 - Clown Award: NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio

Clown Award: NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio

Now for one of our regular features, it's the Clown Award, given for meritorious stupidity.

This week we have the chance to show the difference between the merely stupid and the truly clownish.

First: In an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network a couple of weeks ago, Jeb Bush, the man who, knowing what we know now, would have invaded Iraq until knowing what we know now he wouldn't have invaded Iraq and who, believe it or not, is supposed to be the smarter brother, Jeb Bush told the CBN that businesses should be free to refuse to sell wedding services to gay and lesbian couples, basic principles of "equal accommodation" be damned.

Quoting him,
A big country, a tolerant country, ought to be able to figure out the difference between discriminating someone because of their sexual orientation and not forcing someone to participate in a wedding that they find goes against their moral beliefs. This should not be that complicated. Gosh, it is right now.
I can just see him saying "gawrsh" with all the homespun, good-ol'-boy inflection he could muster.

The point is, he came this close to actually saying it out loud: In order to be tolerant, we have to tolerate intolerance.

Okay, that is stupid, but that is just run of the mill stupid. To get a real clown we need to look elsewhere.

So this week, the Big Red Nose goes to Bill de Blasio, the mayor of New York Cty.

Bill de Blasio
De Blasio is the ostensible progressive who waltzed into office with a jaw-dropping 73% of the vote in November 2013. Before becoming mayor, he had defended the rights of protestors, including those of Occupy Wall Street, and was arrested himself in a civil disobedience action protesting the closing of a hospital. Since becoming mayor, at least early on he was openly encouraging of peaceful protest in the wake of the cop killing of Eric Garner, even meeting with protest organizers.

But when it comes to him, when he is the target, it's a different story.

The Rockaway Beach section of Queens was particularly hard hit by Superstorm Sandy in 2012 and protests have sprung up among people there over the pace and direction of reconstruction. Small groups of people with signs have been coming to de Blasio's public appearances to, in the blunt words of one "get into the mayor's face as much as possible and keep pushing our agenda."

What has been the response of the administration of this champion of free speech, this champion of the voice of the people?

People have been getting shoved off into so-called "free speech zones" 50 yards or more from where the mayor was appearing. For example, two weeks ago, he had a press conference where a new stretch of rebuilt boardwalk was being opened. In an action condemned by the New York Press Club and the New York Civil Liberties Union, which as I expect you realize is the state branch of the ACLU, local residents who showed up with signs were shunted into the "free speech zones" hundreds of feet away.

As near as I can tell from the media descriptions of the event, the area in the lower right of the picture is the "free speech zone." The area indicated by the arrow is about where the mayor was to appear. Shades of Shrub.

Hilariously if predictably, an official from the mayor's office insisted that "The only people asked to move were those with signs that would have blocked the audience from seeing the event." That is, the only people asked to move were those who would look like protesters in any media coverage of the event, who would look like critics of the mayor rather than adoring sycophants lauding his great leadership.

"I'm all for free speech! I'm all for the right of protest! Except when it's about me." That's Bill de Blasio taking the classic stance of the classic clown.

Sources cited in links:,_2013

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