City Council Speaker and mayoral hopeful Christine Quinn speaks during an event in New York, Wednesday, August 14, 2013. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
The editors of The New York Times wanted everyone to read their endorsement of Christine Quinn for the Democratic nomination for mayor of the nation’s largest city.
They ran their endorsement of the current speaker of the New York City Council in the most-read Sunday editions of the paper.
But the candidates whom the Times passed over may not mind if voters read the Times endorsement of Quinn.
In a city that almost rejected Mayor Michael Bloomberg in 2009, in a city where the mayor’s policies (on issues ranging from sick leave to stop-and-frisk policing) have been overturned by the city council, in a city where there is good reason to believe that voters have grown weary of the outgoing mayor, the Times pegged Quinn as “a candidate who is ready to carry on at least as well as he did.”
Times editors, who give every indication that they would endorse Bloomberg for a fourth term if they could, hail Quinn as “a forceful counterpart to Mr. Bloomberg.”
“Mr. Bloomberg has raised expectations that hard decisions should be made on the merits—that the city needs a mayor who is willing to say no,” argues the Times. “More than with the other candidates, that description fits Ms. Quinn.”
So, in a Democratic primary, the Times encourages voters to back the candidate who is most like a term-limited former Republican who was last re-elected as an independent.
Translation: for New York Democrats who are satisfied with the status quo, there’s a way to keep on keeping on.
The Times admits that “two opponents—Bill de Blasio, the public advocate, and William Thompson Jr., former comptroller—offer powerful arguments on their own behalf.” But, the paper adds, “Ms. Quinn inspires the most confidence that she would be the right mayor for the inevitable times when hope and idealism collide with the challenge of getting something done.”
The argument against de Blasio (who received The Nation’s endorsement) is that he is just a bit too noble.
“Mr. de Blasio has been the most forceful and eloquent of the Democrats in arguing that New York needs to reset its priorities in favor of the middle class, the struggling and the poor,” writes the Times. “His stature has grown as his message has taken root—voters leery of stark and growing inequalities have embraced his message of ‘two cities.’ He has ennobled the campaign conversation by insisting, correctly, that expanding early education is vital to securing the city’s future.”