By Sal Bommarito
Two of the most important elected officials in the U.S have proven that aggressive leadership tactics are not in the best interests of their constituencies. President Obama and Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York City have taken an ultra progressive approach to governing that has alienated them from their political opponents, many working class Americans and even those in their own party.
The president decided to rain on the Republican take over of Congress. Republicans now control both houses and have the largest majority in the House of Representatives than anytime since World War II. The voters sent a strong message to Washington that they wanted a change in leadership, but some Democrats, led by Obama, are resisting. The president drew a line in the sand relating to the first item on the Republican agenda, the Keystone Pipeline.
A huge majority of Americans across party lines favor the construction of the pipeline. It will increase U.S. access to a reliable source of energy, increase employment as the pipeline is built and bolster the economies of the cities that will be refining and transporting the oil. It should be noted that Keystone is not a huge project, so its construction should never have become a firebrand for either political party. The objection to its completion revolves around its environment impact, which has been overstated.
Obama’s signature on the Keystone law would be a wonderful start to the new Congress. He would not be compromising any of his most important principles, and it could serve as a peace offering that would lead to more productive government in the next two years.
But the president never compromises. He has proven to be a street fighter during his tenure when diplomacy and comity would have meant so much to the nation. The American people are disgusted with the back and forth jockeying by both parties and so Keystone has become an important symbolic issue.
It is possible that fellow Democrats in the Senate will abandon the president and help override a promised veto. This would be a slap in the face to Obama, one that might knock some sense into him. But, based upon his performance and attitude for the last six years, we have no reason to believe Obama will do the right thing for the country. I just wish the president’s advisors had some positive influence over their leader.
Bill de Blasio has created an outrageous dilemma for himself and for New York City. He has been dead set on beating down the brave men and women of the New York Police Department, notwithstanding the dramatic decrease in crime in the city over the past several years. Given that the job of the NYPD is to protect the citizens of the NYC, it is hard to understand why the mayor thought it necessary to attack the cops. For some reason, de Blasio does not seem to understand that his primary concerns (the lower classes and minorities) are most dependent upon the group he has decided to antagonize.
Exacerbating the problem are the incredibly inane comments by the mayor. He should never have involved his family in the dispute with the police. He should at least try to make peace with the NYPD who have performed so well in recent years. But no, he explicitly said the police were too aggressive and urged protest by race-baiters like Al Sharpton. In fact, Sharpton appears to be one of his important advisors, a man despised by most cops in NYC.
It is true that things need to be changed at the NYPD to make it more community friendly. Personally, I thought stop and frisk could have been altered and not virtually eliminated. Police do not do very much stopping and frisking in affluent areas of the city because there is little crime and few weapons in these places. Stop and frisk helped protect people in high crime areas, the areas that protest against it. Why would any mother in a high crime area object to the police looking for weapons that might some day be used to kill one of her children? Yet, I understand the issues and perhaps stop and frisk had become too intrusive and demeaning.
De Blasio has proven to be the worst mayor in crisis. In fact, he can’t even get to meetings or funerals on time. He has agitated the most important group of city employees with his progressive claptrap. Now the cops are blaming his demonization of the force for the recent assassinations and assaults on the police. De Blasio needs better advisors to help him weather this storm.