Good riddance to NYC’s worst mayor ever – Bill de Blasio: Goodwin


In his novel “Anna Karenina,” Tolstoy writes that “All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”

Something similar can be said about New York City mayors: Successful ones share policies and leadership traits, while the failed ones chart individual paths of doom.

Over the last five decades, Gotham has experienced both. The successful mayors — Ed Koch, Rudy Giuliani and Michael Bloomberg — stand tall because they took office in times of crises and turned New York’s fortunes around. They had their warts, but each left the city better off than when he started.

Something the late Sen. Pat Moynihan said of Koch could be said of Giuliani and Bloomberg, too. “He gave the city back its spirit,” Moynihan told me.

It was a key insight that illustrates the fact that while policies matter, the best policy without an infusion of indomitable optimism and determination will come to little. A zeal to succeed can also overcome policy mistakes.

Conversely, two of the three failed mayors — Abraham Beame and David Dinkins — had their spirits crushed by the problems they faced. Beame, during his time as comptroller, helped to create the fiscal crisis that swamped his mayoralty, and Dinkins was largely paralyzed as violent crime and disorder soared on his watch.

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