With campaigning in full swing, President Obama faces the challenge of reminding a disillusioned liberal base why it fell in love with him in the first place. O how long ago, those halcyon days of 2008, when he really was your new bicycle! Recently, just after announcing his support for gay marriage, he swung through New York to speak at Barnard’s commencement, appear on The View, and attend a fundraiser with Ricky Martin. But Brooklyn’s progressives may require more targeted persuasion, such as:
• A bike tour of oudoor summer indie-rock concerts (joint fundraiser with Chuck Schumer).
• Since, as a new biography recently detailed, Obama used to live in Park Slope, it’s time for him to stop dodging the issue ,and announce that his thoughts on the matter have finished evolving: he now believes the Food Co-Op should ban hummus.
• Girls cameo! (“In the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things, Hannah.”)
• Forget the $40,000-a-plate fundraising dinners, and invite everyone to take a pay-what-you-will pickling class alongside him.
• Get stopped and frisked, and join the class-action suit against the NYPD.
Two years ago, Lincoln Restler, now 28 (and a dead ringer for the young Al Franken), beat the candidate chosen by Assemblyman and Brooklyn Democratic boss Vito Lopez in a race for the little-known but vital position of local Democratic District Leader. As this year’s Democratic Primary approaches, Restler—who has taken many a public swipe at Lopez’s chummy, grafty machine politics—faces a stiff challenge from Community Board 1’s Chris Olechowski, who was recruited by Councilman Steve Levin, a Lopez protege. All of which is fairly interesting, if you’re into that sort of thing, but a recent New York Observer profile of the race by Colin Campbell was most interesting for revealing Lopez’s hilariously gruff, combative, and aggrieved side. (The piece can be read on Politicker.com.) A selection of quotes:
• “Lincoln challenged somebody else, and now somebody challenged him, and he’s crying all over the place, and I guess you have a right.”
• “Say [Restler’s family’s wealth is] disgusting... The headline should be: ‘Can Lincoln Restler Buy Another Election?’”
• “The Polish community—you’re not going to write about it—are working to elect the first Polish community leader.”
• “Tell me what he’s done... [Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez] doesn’t represent much of that area, and he’s up her butt—and that’s fine. He’s right next to me as a leader, and we’ve never met, and he doesn’t want to meet.”
• “Does that help build the Democratic organization, does that give energy to Democratic candidates throughout the borough? Infighting does no one any good.”