Analysis: Alec Baldwin's Mayoral Hopes

Baldwin was removed from a flight in Los Angeles after a flight attendant told him to turn off his phone.

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    Alec Baldwin's episode on a plane Tuesday night, where he was thrown off for refusing to stop playing a game on his phone, could hurt him if he decides to run for mayor.

    Too much of this kind of exercise may rub the public the wrong way.

    Back in August, he told the New York Times he couldn’t run in 2013 because he was committed to completing the next season of "30 Rock." But, Baldwin added, he’d consider running in a future election.

    Baldwin was removed from the flight after a flight attendant told him to turn off his device, which he was using to play the Scrabble-inspired game, “Words with Friends.” The actor used Twitter to complain about his treatment. One tweet complained about the crew, saying he’d never fly the airline again. Baldwin said that American was an airline “where retired Catholic school gym teachers from the 1950's find jobs as flight attendants.”

    He managed in this one tweet to insult retirees, Catholic teachers from the 1950s and possibly anyone who was around then. Baldwin paints with a broad brush. And he was not shy, according to the plane crew and some passengers, about his run-in with authority on the plane. The airline say he locked himself in the bathroom and used offensive language.

    Now, we’ve had some tough guys as mayor. Fiorello LaGuardia comes to mind. But LaGuardia softened his image by doing such things as reading the comic strip, Dick Tracy, over the air, to children during a newspaper strike. Baldwin is not in danger of softening his image – yet.

    Alongside Baldwin, Rudy Giuliani was a milquetoast. But Baldwin’s hot temper could be an asset, too, in this uncertain age.

    Political analyst Hank Sheinkopf told me: “Anything can happen in politics. I think Baldwin, or almost anyone else, would have a shot. It depends on what the political climate is at the time of the election. For example, in 2001, the three people elected to citywide office were: Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum and Comptroller Bill Thompson. And none of them had ever held elective office before.”

    “One day in politics can be a lifetime,” he added. “The electorate has changed. Perhaps the key is: how will this guy play in Bay Ridge and Flushing? Perhaps not. The neighborhoods of New York, the city, are constantly changing.”

    So, if this analysis is correct, we may be calling Baldwin “Mr. Mayor” one day. In an era when the resemblance between politics and show business is unmistakable, Baldwin could be the perfect fit. Unless the former Catholic school gym teachers rise up against him.