Mayor Bill Clinton

Make text smaller Make text larger

For example, Giuliani supporters (it's true, we meet them with exceeding infrequency in real life; and yet somehow they manage to materialize in polling booths on elections days, perhaps out of the ether, by magic, or as an occult function of the polluted, over-ionized local air) will rejoice at what's bound to be the baroque spectacle of a Mayor Clinton running exuberantly roughshod over poor New Yorkers' civil liberties. He'll send cops into minority neighborhoods to prosecute the Drug War that he supported as president. He'll clamp down on quality-of-life crimes to an extent that Giuliani?as the appointed "fascist" in the campus-style children's charade of New York City politics?couldn't pull off without exciting yelps of protest from armchair "leftists." If his presidency is any indication, Clinton will find new ways to eviscerate welfare, rape habeas corpus and suck up to the real estate interests.

He'll do this, moreover, to the applause of New York's so-called "leftists," who?as the Clinton years have shown us?can be expected to support any political outrage (bombing African civilians, etc.) as long as it's effected beyond a scrim of appropriate "hip" boomer signifiers (hey, if he likes Fleetwood Mac, he's got to be a leftist) and accompanied by reassuring protestations of Rosie O'Donnell-style social "concern." Call us cynical, but we look queasily forward to thrilling to the spectacle of Clinton's weekly official visits to Harlem churches, where he'll weep and snuffle into the arms of some bought-off pastor while, blocks away, policemen file from vans to harass pedestrians. Law-and-order conservatives should rejoice at the idea of a Mayor Clinton. In the likely event of hard economic times, Clinton will, more skillfully than anyone else could, provide steam control?even while wielding the stick. And Upper West Siders will applaud him.

The idea of a Mayor Clinton just feels right for this moment in New York City history: for this boom-time period of unprecedented wealth, during which New York has refreshened its image as (for the moment) the Imperial City for a nation the motto of which might as well be changed to Screw you, we're rich. Clinton's sleaziness and dishonesty are in fact appropriate to two varieties of political office: Southern governorships and big-city mayoralties. In both of these, economies of scale transform into "lovable" rapscallions men who?were they by any stretch of the imagination put in charge of, say, the armed forces or the Justice Dept.?would be dangers to humanity. It's hard to imagine a politician more esthetically appropriate to the mayoralty of a triumphant, amoral New York than the plumpening Clinton?presiding over the Earth's most glamorous nonstop party, growing fatter than Boss Tweed, leaning back in Elaine's with the Police Commissioner, a cigar in his mouth and an eight ball in his coat pocket, ready to do some damage?to maybe get his driver to call one of those numbers, you know, for the girls. He'll out-Jimmy Walker Jimmy Walker. He'll be the city's first black right-wing decadent mayor. (Talk about a culture of political co-optation. You can't cover all the bases more thoroughly than that.) And?last but not least?as long as he's here, his ex-wife will keep her distance.

Make text smaller Make text larger




Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required
Neighborhood Newsletters