Jan 29 2013

 

 

 

Quinn130128_1_560Photograph by Pari Dukovic

In a revealing and extensive profile in New York magazine, Speaker of the New York City Council Christine Quinn has every bit of her life examined. "Madam Would-Be Mayor" by Jonathan Van Meter is an excellent piece of journalism. Van Meter shares about the Irish daughter who dotes on her father and mourns that at age six she lost mother to cancer. We read about the Irish politician who is greeted by Irish workers all over New York with a shouted "Hey Quinn!" The Speaker is the wife of Kim Catullo and we hear about her movingly supporting Kim's as her brother struggles with an illness and eventually passes away this past Christmas. The profile shows the leadership traits of the Speaker and her complex relationship with Mayor Bloomberg.

The article doesn't dwell on the historic aspect that Quinn would be the first women and first LGBT American to ever be Mayor of the Big Apple. This article is a must read for everyone.

"Quinn is widely considered to be the front-runner in the race. With an approval rating in the mid-sixties, she is by far the most popular Democrat in the city, and she polls at 35 percent in a Democratic primary, compared with Public Advocate Bill de Blasio at 11, former comptroller Bill Thompson at 10, and current comptroller John Liu at 9. She long ago raised the $4.9 million she’s allowed under the city’s public-­financing system, and she’s received high-profile endorsements from groups like Emily’s List and the United Food & Commercial Workers union. Among colleagues and political observers, she is regarded as an effective legislator—someone who gets people in a room and “gets shit done,” as one put it to me—as well as a gifted retail politician, happiest when someone is bending her ear. In 2006, at a fund-raiser at the Mandarin Oriental, Bill Clinton told the crowd that his wife had described Quinn to him by saying, “You will not believe how good this woman is … She’s even a better politician than you are.” Some of her Republican colleagues are almost as complimentary. “She is always the smartest, most prepared person in the room, but not in a smug, Al Gore kind of way,” says Jimmy Oddo, a Republican councilman from Staten Island. “Her legacy as speaker is as an elected official who lives the job 24/7 and is as invested as much as you can be emotionally, mentally, intellectually.”

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Kim and Christine (Photo:  James Estrin/ New York Times)

"And yet the whispering continues. Perhaps the most vivid indication that, as one longtime city Democratic consultant notes, “the elites clearly are not settled” is the nascent candidacy of Joe Lhota, who recently resigned as head of the MTA to run for mayor as a Republican. “Only the New York City intelligentsia could think that it would be okay to put forward a candidate for mayor who is about to be at the head of yet another fare increase,” says the consultant. “It’s easy for them because none of them have MetroCards. But that stupidity notwithstanding, it does ­demonstrate—even for those who are in the Bloomberg coalition who are ­Democrats—that there is a kind of a they’re-not-sold-on-this-­person-quite-yet restlessness.”

And so: A very skillful political operator nonetheless finds herself caught between those who see her as Bloomberg Lite and, well, those who see her as Bloomberg Lite. The truth is that while the decision to work with the mayor was surely part calculation, it also has a lot to do with Quinn’s nature: She is pragmatic above all else. To win the mayoralty, she will have to convince the city that her pragmatism is not purely strategic—or rather, that the strategy is genuine. At Moonstruck, when we talked about her relationship with the mayor, she got more worked up than usual, banging her cell phone on the table to hammer home points. “Our job is to get things done.” Bang. “And ultimately the best way to get things done is to work collaboratively. Is this model of Washington, where nobody can find common ground, better? I mean, that’s a rock around people’s necks. That’s an albatross.” Bang, bang. “What other type of business would people go, ‘Ugh! You know that woman? She’s finding a way to work with people. Oh, we gotta put a stop to that! And you know what else? They’re passing budgets on time! They’re putting money in a trust fund! That’s crazy talk.’ I think New Yorkers are thrilled that things are working, that things are civilized, and that things are productive.” Bang, bang, bang!"

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"But there is something else that is tantalizing about the idea of a Quinn mayoralty, something that has little to do with what she would get done or even what her election would represent. Whether she chooses to think about it or not, she is a woman, one who happens to get very excited about wedding dresses and reads Vogue, a woman who breaks down and sobs in her SUV when she finds out that her wife’s brother is being rushed to the hospital, a woman who, when she meets a pretty girl on the street named Dewey, calls her “adorable.” She is a politician whose interior emotional life is right there on the surface, for anyone to see. She is the kind of person who worries about having sufficient emotional regard even for those she despises. It is this ability to emote and connect that offers the most vivid departure from a dozen years of Bloombergian just-the-facts-ma’am competence and equanimity."

Read the entire article by clicking here.....