It’s only been a few days since the Ward-for-mayor movement got started, but he’s already gotten that coveted endorsement from The Times’s editorial page—well, the Op-Ed page, actually.David Brook’s got a tour of the World Trade Center from Mr. Ward, and apparently he liked what he saw:
Ward (who is inexplicably being replaced by Gov. Andrew Cuomo) rescued the ground zero project by disenchanting it, by seeing it as it is, not through shrouds of symbols — by attending closely to all the practical complexity. American politics in general could use that sort of disenchantment.
Maybe it’s part of living in a postmaterialist economy, but nearly every practical question becomes a values question. You get politicians and commentators whose views are entirely predictable because they don’t care about the specifics of any particular issue. They just care about the status war against their social enemies and the way each issue functions as a symbol in that great fight.
It would be nice if there were more leaders like Ward inclined to disenchant problems and stare directly at specific contexts. Sometimes circumstances compel you to raise taxes, sometimes circumstances allow you to cut them. Sometimes government can promote innovation; in most cases it can’t.
As one politico put it to The Observer earlier today, “the man’s PR skills have now reached legendary status.”
Speaking of, we caught the Port Authority boss’ speech at the Summit for New York City yesterday, where he talked about leveling Red Hook to create a better Governors Island. Afterwards, The Star-Ledger collared him and asked about his mayoral ambitions, giving us his first on-the-record thoughts on the matter. He seems interested but unsure.
“I think it’s very flattering, but highly unlikely, given the politics of New York City,” Mr. Ward told the Jersery daily. He did argue that he would be capable of the job, though: “I think I am qualified. I’ve run a large city agency. I’ve been with the Port Authority. I think I could do O.K.”