Observing New York politics is a lot of fun. Even if you’re rooting for the other side, you can still get a kick out of your opponents’ infighting.
In New York, that means Democrats. Republicans are the undercard in this fight and are actually kind of boring anyway. It’s the Democrats who spill the blood and make politics so interesting to watch.
Today’s cage match features first-time Congressman Max Rose vs. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Rose’s GOP challenger in 2020, Nicole Malliotakis. Rose eked out a narrow victory in 2018 over GOP incumbent Dan Donovan and is fighting to hold what should be a Republican seat. The 11th encompasses a large part of Staten Island — Trump country in New York. So criticizing the most powerful Democratic politician in the region isn’t as crazy as it might sound.
De Blasio has become wildly unpopular in recent months, what with riots, a bafflingly stupid initial response to the virus when he closed businesses but kept the subway running, and a Don Quixote-like run for president. But this is pretty harsh.
“Bill de Blasio is the worst mayor in the history of New York City,” Rose says in a six second spot as he looks into the camera. “That’s the whole ad.”
Rose makes the same accusation in a 15-second spot. Having a few seconds of air time left, he chuckles, “That’s it guys. Seriously. That’s the whole ad.”
De Blasio is unpopular in the 11th CD.
A politician will run away from their own party when the brand has become too toxic. Or when he needs some cheap publicity. Rose thinks he can confuse the issue of his re-election by taking a swing at de Blasio.
De Blasio is amused.
De Blasio spokesman Bill Neidhardt responded, “So Max Rose prefers Fernando Wood? That’s a strange take.”
Neidhardt was referring to Wood, the Tammany Hall Democratic mayor during the Civil War who expressed sympathy for the confederacy.
Meanwhile, Republican challenger Malliotakis and the GOP are enjoying the byplay — and reminding voters which party Rose really belongs to.
“It’s fun to watch two far-left politicians like Max Rose and Bill de Blasio squabble over who’s worst. The question Max Rose needs to answer is if he joined the nearly 70% of his constituents who voted for Nicole Malliotakis in the 2017 race for mayor,” said Malliotakis spokesman Rob Ryan.
What makes de Blasio the worst NYC mayor in history? Rose, an Afghanistan veteran, portrayed hizzoner as an indecisive weak sister.
Rose complained that de Blasio failed to provide a real plan to reopen schools and accused the mayor of “actively trying to kill” New York City restaurants by delaying the reopening of indoor dining.
After a night of looting across New York City during protests following the death of George Floyd, Rose said the mayor “lost control of the situation,” and called on the National Guard to enforce curfew. Rose, a military veteran who served in Afghanistan, is a member of the National Guard.
Rose has obviously attracted enough Republican voters in his district to win a term in Congress. But the risk in attacking personalities from your own party is that whatever you gain in support from the opposing camp, you may lose your party’s supporters in November. But Rose is in a battle with a popular former GOP mayoral candidate and probably figures it’s worth the risk.