"New York, New York, big city of dreams and everything in New York ain’t always what it seems." — Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five
The circus came to town on Monday — with Congressional Republicans playing ringmaster in a field hearing in Lower Manhattan dedicated to shaming District Attorney Alvin Bragg.
Appearing on “Fox and Friends” before the hearing started, House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan said that Bragg’s indictment of former President Donald Trump earlier this month had nothing to do with his own decision last week to put a big spotlight on crime in Manhattan. And if you believe that, Jordan can also sell you a bridge that will take you right to Brooklyn.
As Spectrum News’ Ari Feldman points out crime near Jordan’s home district in Ohio is far worse than Gotham’s — with Columbus’ murder rate towering over Manhattan. But don’t hold your breath for Jordan to hold a field hearing on crime in his Buckeye State.
In the wake of endorsing Trump for President last Friday, Jordan may have missed some big crime news far from New York over the weekend. Four people were killed and 28 others were injured when a gunman opened fire at a Sweet 16 birthday party in Alabama on Saturday. In Louisville, Kentucky, two people died and four others were injured when someone shot into a crowd at a park. And don’t confuse that mass shooting in Louisville on Saturday with the other mass shooting in Louisville last week when six people were killed at a bank by a co-worker.
But please, let’s have members of Congress talk more about shoplifting.
The tears for crime victims in New York may feel like they’re coming from Congressional crocodiles because getting federal help for the city has often been a heavy lift. From the city’s brush with bankruptcy in the 1970s to the fight for federal funds after 9/11 and Hurricane Sandy, there have always been some federal lawmakers who were fiddling when New York was burning.
It was an annual mission of the late Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan to show how New York put in far more tax dollars to the federal government than it got out in return. It’s unlikely that the numbers have changed much since Moynihan’s retirement over 20 years ago.
Meanwhile, Jordan is racking up political points at home and in Republican quarters by wagging his finger at Bragg. And it’s certainly not hurting Bragg’s fundraising, either, with Jordan’s attacks getting top billing in e-mails blasted out by Bragg’s reelection campaign.
None of this does anything to actually address crime — a real problem in many places in the United States, including Manhattan. As Feldman points out, crime is going in the right direction in New York, but there’s no reason not to try to come up with more solutions. It just seems unlikely that a Congressman from Urbana, Ohio, is secretly the next Batman.