Inside the Beltway: The de Blasio effect

Who is the latest brave progressive standard-bearer? Why, that would be newly minted New York Mayor Billde Blasio, who has been anointed as the populist favorite by the press for now, what with President Obama keeping a very low profile in Hawaii this week. Current White House pool reports can only reveal what color golf shirt Mr. Obama happens to be wearing, despite the fact that 40 journalists, photographers and technicians have accompanied him on his vacation, which ends Tuesday.

Mr. de Blasio’s swearing-in ceremony on Wednesday, meanwhile, drew intense news coverage. Former President Bill Clinton swore him in, accompanied by Hillary Rodham Clinton who sported a snappy new hairdo — very blonde and very fringey — surely a sign she was ready to run for president in 2016.

Or not.

Such things galvanize the media, for better or worse. Mr. de Blasio’s inauguration was subject to interpretation among journalists and news organizations eager to seize on metaphor, extrapolate on greater implications for the entire Democratic Party and predict how the new mayor will fare under a Manhattan snowstorm. A selection of headlines:

“Red Dawn” (“Instapundit” Glenn Reynolds), “Bill in the China shop” (National Review), “Comrade De Blasio takes over” (Front Page), “Is New York’s de Blasio prompting a repositioning of the Clintons?” (The Washington Post), “NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, Clintons make political marriage official” (ABC News), “Clinton has questionable value as a symbol of the kind of progressive change de Blasio has promised” (The Nation), “Clintons christen Bill de Blasio to Shore Up Hillary’s Left” (Daily Beast), “Hillary’s bangs welcome Mayor Bill DeBlasio to office” (Huffington Post), “Is de Blasio the future of the Democratic party?” (U.S. News and World Report), and “Snowstorm may be early test for New York Mayor” (Reuters).

‘A NEW POLITICS OF ENVY’

“While we had intended to give the city’s new administration a proper honeymoon, the unnecessary meanness of its inauguration requires a response,” says Ed Cox, chairman of the Republican Party of New York.

“The new mayor has unleashed a new politics of envy that encourages metaphors of our great and humane city as a ‘plantation’ at his inauguration,” Mr. Cox observes. “Bill de Blasio was elected with only 17.5 percent of the city’s voters and needs to firmly renounce such talk and call for the unity that he needs to manage our great and diverse city.”

Mr. Cox refers to the invocation during the ceremony, incidentally. “Let the plantation called New York City be the city of God, a city set upon the hill, a light shining in darkness sound forth the trumpets of heaven proclaiming a new Emancipation Proclamation in New York City,” the Rev. Fred Lucas Jr., a Brooklyn minister, told the crowd.

FOR THE LEXICON

“The Cannabist”

The old, weird drug culture takes on a squeaky new identity. “The Cannabist” is a news site created by The Denver Post, dedicated to the art and culture of marijuana, says Linda Shapley, director of newsroom operations at the Colorado paper. We’re talking recipes, product reviews and suggestions for parties, among other things.

“One of the great edible pleasures in life is a moist piece of buttery cinnamon coffee cake with just the right amount of streusel and swirl It didn’t always have a boatload of weed in it, as it does in this recipe, but when I thought of foods that would be perfect when medicated, this came quickly to mind. It’s pretty easy to make. Lots of butter, so a perfect recipe for a medicated make-over. When cooking with marijuana, you need fat,” advises chef Laurie Wolf in her debut column for the site, noting that she is dedicated to “high quality medicated food.”

MINDING THE MORAL VOCABULARY

Behold: someone has noticed that talk of what’s right or wrong in the public square is a rare thing indeed. Religion scholar Robin Lovin arrives at the Library of Congress later this month to argue that contemporary politics is plagued by “a shrinking moral vocabulary,” and offer ways to reverse the phenomenon.

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