Here's a bit:
The New York Times dropped a bombshell last night: As a young man, Democratic nominee for mayor of New York Bill de Blasio was… pretty left-wing. And he supported the Sandinistas in Nicaragua. And he once was in favor of democratic socialism. The Times presents this information as something they uncovered, as if de Blasio had somehow hidden it.
In fact, de Blasio has spoken publicly about his time in Nicaragua as recently as last December. But the story of de Blasio’s youthful activism is interesting and not that widely known — I didn’t know about it, and I have actually been paying a decent amount of attention to this race — making it great material for a brief biographical sketch of the candidate as an idealistic young man.
This brief biographical sketch, though, sounds a bit like opposition research, or at least like an attempt to “shake up” the race and force the candidate to answer questions about his Commie past. It’s got hints of that very sober but slightly inflammatory tone that the Times puts on when it’s causing trouble. De Blasio, we’re told, “went to Nicaragua to help distribute food and medicine in the middle of a war between left and right. But he returned with something else entirely: a vision of the possibilities of an unfettered leftist government.” Unfettered! I don’t like the sound of that.
The Times says “[de Blasio's] time as a young activist was more influential in shaping his ideology than previously known” (this is the declaration that the information in this article is relevant news and not just old stories) “and far more political than typical humanitarian work.” Yes, because it was… activism? I mean what is “typical humanitarian work” here, exactly? De Blasio was working with the Quixote Center, a Catholic social justice group that fights poverty and economic inequality and that is inspired by liberation theology. This is actually very typical humanitarian work, and Catholic groups in particular have been doing it for years.
I'm surprised the Times didn't launch this against de Blasio in the primaries.
It is clearly a hit piece meant to damage him, as they deploy unnamed critics and some anonymous sources to tar de Blasio as a commie pinko.
But I'm with Pareene here - the story makes me like de Blasio even better.
Frankly, I always assumed he was some DLC Clinton-type just talking the progressive talk to get elected.
He may be doing that anyway, but it's good to know that he once did humanitarian work down in Nicaragua and stood against Apartheid and Reagan's illegal Contra war.
Also, as Pareene points out, there are plenty of Republicans out there who supported apartheid, Pinochet, and a host of other evil things back in the day and that stuff never gets reported as "So and so supported racist Apartheid policies and CIA assassination squads."
It's interesting how having a "lefty" past is a crime to the Times but flirting with fascism back in the day just warrants a yawn.