Bruce McCall, Limousine Liberal

The term “limousine liberal,” first used against Mayor John Lindsay in 1969, was intended to call out hypocrisy among elites who, for example, urged support for transit but instead relied on private cars to get themselves around New York. With the latest New Yorker cover from Bruce McCall, it might be time for the phrase to make a comeback.

Bruce McCall's latest New Yorker cover

What distinguishes McCall from your garden variety limousine liberal, however, is that he doesn’t even pretend to care about anyone beyond his driver’s seat.

McCall already has a history of perplexing commentaries on city transportation policy. His latest attempt — which portrays Times Square as an urban prairie for grazing buffalo — was brought to our attention by Brooklyn Spoke. McCall explains his illustration as a parody of “the personal philosophy of the mayor and his ‘do-gooder’ group” to make New York a greener, less congested city. Hilarious!

Needless to say, McCall, who began his career as an illustrator for Ford Motor Company, is still in love with automobiles. “I drive everywhere,” the self-described liberal Manhattanite says. He’s still upset about the Times Square pedestrian plazas and feels very put upon by the reapportionment of less than one half of one percent of the city’s street space.

“I find it offensive that we can’t be allowed to make our own decision about anything,” he opined, as though his childhood nanny had swooped in to take away his car keys.

McCall should set aside his lust for horsepower one day and give this walking thing a try. He might find that the Times Square plazas actually make all sorts of “decisions” possible — to stick to the crowded sidewalks or take a more meandering route, for instance — compared to the days when cars ruled.

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