New York City needs a savior from its current coronavirus-induced hell. It needs a next mayor who isn’t part of the corrupt and moribund political establishment and who can restore hope and confidence in our suffering, demoralized metropolis.
Investment-banking powerhouse Raymond J. McGuire can be the hero we need. He’s let associates drop hints about a mayoral run. He’s hired top political consultants to advise him. But he has yet to declare that he’ll actually run for City Hall next year.
Mr. McGuire, consider this a plea to publicly toss your hat in the ring now, one year before the 2021 mayoral primaries. Michael Bloomberg declared officially on June 5, 2001 — just six months before he was elected. But you don’t have that luxury. The people of New York City are already praying for the promise of a champion to lead us back into the light.
Unlike Mayor de Blasio, McGuire loves the Big Apple — its neighborhoods, its density, its diversity and its culture. He’s liked and respected in all the city’s interlocked corridors of power. He’s served on boards of (among other institutions) the American Museum of Natural History, the New York City Police Foundation, the Whitney Museum and the New York Public Library.
But he’s little known among ordinary citizens in the five boroughs. If you don’t know McGuire’s name, that’s a big part of the challenge that lies ahead for him.
The man is a legend on Wall Street, currently the vice chairman of Citigroup and chairman of the global firm’s banking, capital markets and advisory division. His financial wizardry over nearly 40 years with several top firms is second to none. His integrity and compassion are unquestioned.
His ties to all communities would help him to ease the city’s current racial polarization.
Our precious metropolis has never known such dire times. It’s awash in debt. It’s hemorrhaging residents, businesses and tax revenue. It’s fractionalized by unprecedented public distrust of our politicians and institutions.
As mayor, McGuire would instantly restore credibility to the office and confidence in the future. He can bring order to the city’s bloated, $92 billion annual budget. He can leverage his global clout to lure desperately needed new investment to town.
And he’s someone who can bring the city together, to the extent it’s possible in a town increasingly splintered by identity politics.
Born on what he calls “the other side of the tracks” in Dayton, Ohio, McGuire rose to the apex of the financial world — a living inspiration to dreamers of all races. He’s a card-carrying capitalist who’s been a driving force behind hundreds of billions in corporate mergers and acquisitions — unlike our incumbent mayor and his fellow travelers who would, if they could, reduce our money-machine city to a socialist re-education camp.
McGuire supports the NYPD. He condemned last summer’s verbal assaults and water-tossing on police officers in Harlem. But he’s under no illusions about social and economic disparity. His formula of “prayer, preparation, performance and paranoia” acknowledges the danger perceived by every African American out for a stroll.
For all his wealth and prestige, “I can be the next George Floyd,” he’s said.
McGuire needs to get his name and face out there soon to establish a comfort level with the public. He must share his mayoral passion in his own words, not through anonymous quotes from “insiders.”
We need to know much more about his overall vision and his basic priorities. Is he too far left or right? What are his priorities for the nuts and bolts of governance — policing, schools, housing, transit and taxes?
And he can do with some training to make him seem softer and fuzzier than his patrician air allows — perhaps a consequence of Harvard law and business degrees and a career spent among the world’s most prominent movers and shakers.
Handsome and 6-foot-4, McGuire cuts a figure as imposing as his intellect in the rarefied world of Wall Street boardrooms and banquet halls. Yet his public speaking style is wooden and jargon-filled (lots of “basis points”) to the point of cold. More smiles, Ray!
He should work on this from the moment he says he’s running. It will be an effort well spent, not only for himself but for all New Yorkers yearning to be rescued.