Feehery: Weak mayors destroy America's great cities

Feehery: Weak mayors destroy America's great cities
© Getty Images

Anthony Williams single-handedly revived Washington, D.C. through strong leadership, pro-business policies, a dedication to better schools and an understanding that he had to get control of crime.

Muriel Bower, the current D.C. mayor, is steadily but surely, reversing every one of those accomplishments.

She bows to the teachers’ unions and keeps schools closed. She does little to stop the crime spree that is erupting in the city’s toughest neighborhoods. She seems intent on destroying restaurants and other small businesses that made D.C. great again.

ADVERTISEMENT

Bowser isn’t the only weak mayor who is harming our nation’s great cities.

Say what you will about Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiDemocrats fear Russia interference could spoil bid to retake Senate Grand jury adds additional counts against Giuliani associates Lev Parnas and and Igor Fruman Juan Williams: Breaking down the debates MORE, but his toughness led to New York’s revival. He cleared out the crime, he took on the unions and he made the Big Apple the envy of the world.

Look what we have now. Bill de BlasioBill de BlasioNew York to honor Ginsburg with statue in Brooklyn The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by The Air Line Pilots Association - White House moves closer to Pelosi on virus relief bill New York again pushes back in-person classes MORE is such an embarrassment and his policies are so counter-productive, that the governor of New York, Andrew CuomoAndrew CuomoFearless Girl statue in NYC dressed in lace collar to honor Ruth Bader Ginsburg NYT editorial board remembers Ginsburg: She 'will forever have two legacies' New York to honor Ginsburg with statue in Brooklyn MORE, has been forced to publicly beg high-income New Yorkers to not abandon the city.

My hometown of Chicago is another example. Lori LightfootLori LightfootHomicides spike 52 percent in Chicago amid coronavirus pandemic Chicago mayor says 'suffering' small businesses need access to capital The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Latest with the COVID-19 relief bill negotiations MORE was seen as the moderate in the race when she won her election, replacing Rahm Emanuel. Rahm was tough as nails, focused on the budget and a strong leader. Lightfoot has been a disaster. Chicago’s crime is out of control as Lightfoot worries more about sunbathers on the city beaches than she does about the shooting gallery on the South and West of the Loop.

We all saw how weak the mayors of Minneapolis, Portland and Seattle have been.

ADVERTISEMENT

Their progressivism makes them incapable of making the tough choices to be real leaders.

Jacob Frey was publicly shamed as he slinked away from Black Lives Matter protestors after they demanded that he defund the police and he refused. The city council later enacted plans to do exactly that despite his earlier promise not to.

Ted Wheeler, the mayor of Portland, actually joined the nightly protests in his hometown and was assaulted by the protesters and tear-gassed by law enforcement for his efforts. Portland has always been liberal, but now it’s a laughingstock.

Jenny Durkan allowed a portion of her hometown of Seattle to actually secede from the union for a while, as the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone became a no-go zone for the city’s police department. Durkan has now admitted that crime has increased 525 percent in Seattle and that the little experiment in self-government by the protesting class really wasn’t going to work out.

In Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti pushed for a budget to defund the police and then asked the same police department to enforce a mask mandate and enforce a mandate to cut off utilities to houses that host parties. To say that the mayor has lost control of his city would be an understatement.

It wasn’t that long ago that America’s great cities had great mayors that could effectively run them.

Richard Daley, Richard Riordan, Mike Bloomberg, Willie Brown and many others knew how to balance the concerns of the business community with the needs of a diverse population. They knew how to properly back the police and to promote law and order. They knew that you couldn’t drive out the biggest taxpayers with confiscatory tax policies.

Big city mayors these days cater to the radical left because that’s where they perceive the voters to be. They know that their only competition comes from the woke liberals who now dominate city councils and impose their ideological theories on a bewildered citizenry.

The only hope for America’s big cities is for the return of America’s great mayors. Republicans should find ways to exploit the weakness of the progressive left and put up more candidates who promise a return to sanity.

America can’t afford the weak leadership coming from its current crop of mayors. It needs better choices and better leadership.

Feehery is a partner at EFB Advocacy and blogs at www.thefeeherytheory.com. He served as spokesman to former Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.), as communications director to former Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Texas) when he was majority whip and as a speechwriter to former House Minority Leader Bob Michel (R-Ill.).