Even though my past life was in politics, I am really the last person to be writing about the New York City mayoral race, the Democratic primary of which is tomorrow, Tuesday, 10 September. Yet, with my Facebook and Twitter feeds overflowing with singular, oftentimes righteous, endorsements, in conjunction with my somewhat indecisive, Libra-rising nature, I’m undecided about who to vote for: the lesbian, or the guy with the (formerly) lesbian wife? The Democratic primary, with Bill de Blasio holding a quantifiable lead over out lesbian Christine Quinn (the latest Marist poll has Bill de Blasio at 36%, Chris Quinn at 20%), is essentially between these two candidates. Sorry John Liu and Carlos Danger.
From my extremely scientific observations of Facebook and Twitter, I’ve gathered that those people who identify as queer are overwhelmingly supporting de Blasio, while those who more readily align themselves with the mainstream LGBT community are voting for Quinn. Quinn does, after all, represent Chelsea, the hotbed of Grindr and the money vault of the Gay Pink Dollar. Politically progressive queers see Quinn as too friendly with Mayor Bloomberg, who has given her his endorsement, and they have been critical of her support of the closure of St. Vincent’s Hospital and of her assistance with breaking the term limit law that enabled Bloomberg to have a third term. They have also lambasted her for repeatedly refusing to allow legislation on paid sick leave from getting a vote in City Council. (Her excuse, according to the Wall Street Journal, was that it just wasn’t the right time in terms of the economy to implement such legislation: “For me, it is not a question of if we need paid sick leave, it is when and how that will happen….”)
Chely Wright at Women For Quinn Rally
Christine and wife Kim Catullo
“Rizzoli & Isles” star Lorraine Braco
photos by Bethany Briggs
In contrast, de Blasio is the city’s Public Advocate; he has widely benefited from his position opposing Bloomberg’s Stop-and-Frisk policy that was just recently deemed unconstitutional by a federal district judge. Queers love him, too, because they see him as one of them: parent of a multi-racial household, husband to a queer (formerly lesbian) wife, and friend of all the cool, queer and feminist celebrities, like Cynthia Nixon, Martha Plimpton, Sarah Paulson, Alan Cumming, Lady Bunny and Susan Sarandon.
With fundraisers hosted by Alec Baldwin, as well as the support of most if not all of the SATC cast (in addition to Nixon, Sarah Jessica Parker and Chris Noth have offered public endorsements of de Blasio), there’s really no comparison. Sorry, Quinn, the support of Neil Patrick Harris and George Takei does not even come close to offsetting the difference.
There is no “lesbian agenda” that binds me to Quinn. In fact, her record on animal rights/welfare, which is my primary issue (who cares about the humans), is horrendous. The PETA ad featuring Jillian Michaels, which Bridget mentioned in last Friday’s Afternoon Delight, is directed at Quinn, who keeps blocking legislation that would phase out NYC’s disgusting horse-drawn carriage industry. NYCLASS has been aggressively campaigning against her—its slogan being “Anyone But Quinn”—and here’s why:
To be honest, I feel bad for Quinn. She strategically aligned herself with Bloomberg to advance her own career and is now facing the consequences of being so career driven—in politics, as in other arenas of life, this isn’t a crime…at least not for men. The choice between Quinn and de Blasio, too, seems eerily similar to that between Hillary Clinton and Obama in 2008. To make her career what it was, Hillary had to make sacrifices; she had to make compromises that didn’t sit well with progressive America. During the primary campaign I remember her one great zinger aimed at Obama, who championed “hope and change” as if political change would magically appear “like manna from heaven.”
Bill de Blasio and wife Chirlane McCray
This isn’t a question about the ability of a progressive candidate to run government; it is a question of how idealism fares in its murky, special interest laden, channels. When it boils down to the basic structure of government, replete with its nefarious system of checks-and-balances, it’s quite naive, in my politically-worn estimation, to think that any idealistic policy can be actualized as progressive legislation, or fully-realized in its original, idealistic form.
And we all have seen what’s happened to Obama’s idealism and progressive policies.
A part of me wonders if Quinn’s strategy has been conceived along the lines of, say, a Sandra Day O’Connor Supreme Court appointment. O’Connor (as well as Justice Kennedy) was appointed by Ronald Reagan. They both became pragmatic progressives on the Supreme Court. So, maybe Quinn is just playing the political game, sidling up to Bloomberg to get elected mayor, in order to become a Super Progressive Badass?
Who are you voting for? (Or, who would you vote for if you lived in NYC?) What issues matter to you?