Haven't we sat through this movie, this idea of Democrats reaching beyond
the border for a candidate
with star power and firepower, who captures the imagination and ignites passions, whose name has
enough incandescence to be worthy of New York's marquee?
Two years ago, it was Hillary Rodham Clinton who was recruited as the
political savior who would ride
into town and save the Democrats from almost certain defeat.
This year, the campaign for mayor is young, and the candidates have
yet to strut their stuff.
Still, it's hard to find New Yorkers energized by the prospect of Democrats Peter Vallone, Alan Hevesi,
Mark Green or Fernando Ferrer, or of Republican media baron Michael Bloomberg, leading the city.
So maybe Mayor Bubba would bring the neon back to New York.
"This is the fourth conversation I've had about this today.
People are talking about it," said Fred Siegel, a history professor at Cooper Union who writes frequently
about civic affairs. "The smile it brings to people's faces just won't die."
Rep. Charles Rangel (D-Manhattan), who laid the track for the Hillary-for-Senate
train, said there is no
such talk these days about recruiting another Clinton, this time from Chappaqua, to seek City Hall.
"I have never heard any serious discussion of it," Rangel said dismissively. "It was nothing but a big joke."
"There's no serious talk that I know of," said Randi Weingarten, president
of the teachers union.
"Of course, I have no idea what people say to each other after they have had a Scotch or two."
Added Ken Sunshine, an influential Democratic public relations executive
and Green supporter,
"When people talk about this, it's only in jest, and with a big grin. It ain't going to happen.
You got four guys running and one guy, Bloomberg, making believe he's running. Get used to it, buddy."
And, yet ...
New Yorkers, no doubt smiling, can see it now, especially after eight
years of jaywalking crackdowns,
sex-shop shutdowns and a City Hall that has all the color of a banker's suit.
There's Mayor Clinton, jogging along the East River, a Yankees cap on
his head and a Mets jacket on his back
(being all things to all people, of course). Or driving up to a White Castle in Queens to scarf some hamburgers.
Or sitting courtside with Spike while trading hellos with Spree, as his face flashes on the GardenVision screen.
"He certainly would personify fun city," said Mitchell Moss of New York University.
Thanks to Sen. Hillary, New Yorkers are used to the idea of electing
The residency requirements present little obstacles to a new Clinton administration.
All he must do is live in the city by Election Day.
Still, there would be an adjustment. From a mayor who's not afraid to
inflict pain to one who feels your pain.
From a mayor who banned his aides from Elaine's to a mayor who might conduct cabinet meetings there.
After having the toughest job in America, the second-toughest should
be a snap.
Having built his bridge to the 21st century, Clinton should have little problem finishing the train to the plane.
And the mayor has no pardon power, eliminating one potential sandtrap.
Political strategist George Arzt is intrigued by the idea of Clinton
holding office here.
"It would be sort of a second chance for Clinton to do something positive to burnish his legacy," he said.
Arzt, however, is not boarding the Bubba bandwagon just yet.
"He's only just out of office," he said.
Arzt has a better idea:
"He should wait a year and run for governor. Now that would be really interesting to see."