The DeBlasio “Draft”

I should begin this post by noting I have been to New York City exactly three times in my whole life. So while I’ve tried to follow events in Gotham like any educated American citizen who understands its importance as a global cultural and financial capital, some things just don’t make sense to me. You know, like this:

Despite repeated claims to the contrary, Mayor Bill de Blasio is positioning himself to be the leftist “progressive” alternative to Wall Street-friendly Hillary Rodham Clinton as the Democratic candidate for president, a national party operative told The Post.

De Blasio’s hope, the operative said, is a “Draft de Blasio’’ movement will develop among progressive activists over the next several months that will lead to the mayor being able to defeat Clinton in the primary elections next year in much the same way leftist Sen. George McGovern successfully challenged the initially front-running establishment Democratic candidate, Sen. Edmund Muskie, more than 40 years ago.

That’s from a column by the New York Post‘s Frederic U. Dicker. I have reliably informed offline by New York-savvy acquaintances that Dicker is a really, really big deal up there, especially in Albany, and that his long career as a reporter, columnist, and talk show “personality” has encompassed both legitimate scoops and wild-ass howlers.

So putting aside for a moment my hunch that this particular column falls a priori into the “wild-ass howler” basket, you have to wonder exactly why anyone would think Bill de Blasio has a legitimate shot at displacing Hillary Clinton and becoming president, especially via a “draft,” which hasn’t really happened since 1952 if even then. The number of mayors of New York who have gone from Gracie Mansion to the White House, directly or indirectly, is exactly zero. The McGovern analogy Dicker offers is flawed by the fact that it’s, well, wrong; McGovern wasn’t some late entry who upset Ed Muskie; he carefully built a grass-roots organization while Muskie collected endorsements, and Muskie started falling apart the minute voters became involved.

And then there’s the whole sourcing thing: what do you supposed Dicker means by “national [Democratic] party operative?” Fox News seems to mint new, photogenic “Democratic strategists” every other day. Presumably interns at the DNC regard themselves as “national party operatives.” Would anyone legitimately interested in making a national, as opposed to a local, splash with legitimate rumors of a challenge to HRC choose a columnist for the New York Post as a conduit?

But you know how it goes these days: something gets repeated a time or two and then it’s a fact. Betcha we soon learn from some equally sterling source that the DeBlasio “draft” has dissipated, as imaginary phenomena often do.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.