Alec Baldwin: Prime time, but not ready to be hizzoner
The great mayors of New York, including LaGuardia, Koch and Bloomberg, all have had vision, brains and chutzpah. (Or as Michele Bachmann recently mangled it, "choot-spa.")
They also understood how to stride one of the greatest stages on Earth, New York.
Baldwin, the 53-year-old "30 Rock" star who has mused repeatedly about a run for City Hall, told the New York Times this week he would probably take a pass in 2013, but jump into a later race.
First, he said, he wants to educate himself about the job. He said he is talking to two top universities about enrolling next year in a master’s program in government and politics "to help me better understand what the fiscal imperatives of the job are."
Advice to Alec: What you should have said is, "I'm going to Ozone Park -- that's in Queens -- to sit at the kitchen table of some nice middle-class lady to help me better understand what the fiscal imperatives of that job are."
No doubt Baldwin knows how to find Ozone Park -- he grew up not so far away on Long Island in Massapequa.
In fact, although Baldwin's academic goals are admirable, it's probably bad politics to tell New Yorkers you need to go to a "top university" to prepare for the job. New Yorkers typically favor street smarts over schooling. In Mayor Michael Bloomberg's case, the attraction at least partially was that he is a self-made billionaire whose personal wealth may not be that far off from what the city accumulates in sales tax.
Baldwin apparently doesn't approve of the current mayor and has been openly critical of him for pressing for a change in the term-limits laws in 2008 that enabled Bloomberg to serve a third term. Baldwin similarly has eviscerated City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, considered the Democratic front-runner for the mayor's seat in 2013, for supporting Bloomberg's insistence on the exception.
In the interview with the New York newspaper, Baldwin also revealed that high-profile fundraisers had enlisted him to run for office in other states, including governor of California. (At least California has the tradition of electing professional actors; New York's tradition calls for amateurs.)
But Baldwin made it clear he has no interest in leaving New York. And while he's sticking around, it looks like he'll continue kibitzing.
At 7:16 this morning, in his first tweet, @Alecbaldwin wrote: "I don't believe that what you do for a living should disqualify you from holding public office. Truman was a haberdasher."
-- Geraldine Baum in New York
Photo: Alec Baldwin testifies before a congressional committee in April on the proposed Fair Elections Now Act. Credit: Associated Press