It started right away, with the snow. Mayor Bill de Blasio, still living in his Brooklyn home and eager to prove his everyman-except-Michael-Bloomberg bona fides, took a shovel to his front walk just three days into his term. The symbolism was obvious and it made for a great photo op. Today, de Blasio is back to manual labor, press in tow, filling a pothole in Queens to announce his new "weekly pothole blitzes" and boast a record-setting 113,131 holes filled so far this year. Obvious PR strat or good politics (or both), it's working.
The regular-guy tactics resemble nothing more than those of former Newark Mayor Cory Booker, who cultivated a superhero image by literally getting his hands dirty (and constantly tweeting about it). In New York, the press corp is both poking some fun and eating it up:
"I used to be a gardener" says Mayor de Blasio as he sweeps out pothole. pic.twitter.com/7EPwG2wD1k— John Kenny (@jjk607) February 20, 2014
De Blasio going to town on this pothole— Mike Grynbaum (@grynbaum) February 20, 2014
More importantly, so are the Real People:
Reporter asks Queens homeowner if she thinks @MikeBloomberg would have come here to fill a pothole. "Bloomberg wouldn't. You can quote me."— Matthew Chayes (@chayesmatthew) February 20, 2014