Bill de Blasio will take another giant step toward his quest to become the King of all Lefties in a speech at the U.S. Capitol Tuesday. Joining him is the Queen of all Lefties, fellow Democrat Elizabeth Warren.
Together, New York’s mayor and the Massachusetts senator will unveil what Newsweek is calling a “Left-leaning, 21st century version of Newt Gingrich’s 1994 Contract with America.”
And like Gingrich, they will do it on the steps of the people’s House.
Metro will give you one guess who really thinks this is a bad idea.
Bingo. Gingrich himself.
The former GOP speaker of the House and failed presidential candidate, who has gotten Nowhere Fast since leaving Congress, actually lectures the mayor and his supporters on strategy in, of all places, the right-leaning New York Post .
You really can’t make this up.
"De Blasio is clearly trying to pressure the Democrats to move to the left," Gingrich wrote in a Post Op-Ed.
"But that is the exact opposite of the Contract with America model. The purpose of the Contract was not to pick a fight within the Republican Party. It was to define a center-right majority with a platform that commanded the broad support of the American people."
An agenda, mind you, that passed the House and largely died in the U.S. Senate.
Gingrich is right on this point -- de Blasio and Warren are trying to move Dems from that fuzzy middle to a more clearly-defined agenda.
It is why, he says, he will not endorse his former boss and political mentor, Hillary Rodham Clinton in the Dem nominating contest at this time.
Warren, by the way, has cultivated a fervent national following and a groudswell of calls for her to join the presidential sweepstakes.
De Blasio’s and Warrens “Contract” is officially called the “Progressive Agenda to Combat Income Inequality.” (In 2015, “progressive” is the new, less-dirty word, for “liberal.”)
His themes are familiar now to any follower of the of the gong banging inside City Hall:
- PROGRESSIVE TAXATION: The idea that the more you make, the higher your tax rate should be.
- MINIMUM WAGE HIKE : The minimum wage in America is all over the map. Literally. De Blasio has backed attempts in several red states to boost it.
- PAID SICK LEAVE : More and more Americans have jobs in which companies don't pay them if they get sick. New York City forces employers to fund sick leave.
“Bill has ideological beliefs and ... he sees a vacuum in terms of Democratic party leadership for this progressive agenda,” says Doug Muzzio, a political science professor at Baruch College, City University of New York.
Being willing to potentially burn those Clinton bridges, or at least “set a couple fires” on them, “shows that he’s serious about this,” Muzzio tells Newsweek.
Opponents -- richer ones, especially -- are trying to frame this all as class warfare.
“That agenda obviously strains relations with people in the business community,” Kathy Wylde, president of the Partnership for New York City, which represents the city’s biggest businesses, tells the Wall Street Jounal.
“I’m sure Mayor de Blasio doesn’t see this as an attack on wealthy New Yorkers, but obviously it’s easy for them to interpret it that way.”
John A. Oswald is Metro's Editor-at-large. Follow him on Twitter - @nyc_oz.