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  Mailer for Mayor
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ContributorCraverguy 
Last EditedCraverguy  Oct 23, 2008 11:38pm
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MediaWeekly News Magazine - TIME Magazine
News DateSaturday, June 14, 1969 05:00:00 AM UTC0:0
DescriptionHe insists that he is serious about it:

"I am paying my debt to society. That is why I am running." Indeed, Norman Mailer waxes positively solemn when he talks about his candidacy for mayor of New York. The celebrated author of The Naked and the Dead, more recently of The Armies of the Night, which won him a National Book Award and a Pulitzer Prize, is one of a field of five in next week's Democratic pri mary. Best known among the others are Robert Wagner, mayor from 1954 until Republican John Lindsay took over in 1966, and Mario Procaccino, the city controller.

Mailer calls himself a "left conservative" — left because he believes the city's problems demand radical answers, conservative because he has little faith in centralized government. Because of this, he explains deadpan, "I am running to the left and to the right of every man in the race." He is cautious about the risks of his new calling. "It's very dangerous for your soul to be a politician," he says, "because if you get power it can lead you to perdition faster than almost any other form of human activity."

Mailer's fascination with politics is longstanding. He offered John Kennedy lengthy advice in The Presidential Papers and toyed once before — in 1961 — with the notion of running for mayor.

His candidacy is improbable; yet in the course of his campaign Mailer has put forward some provocative ideas. Many merely peck at the periphery of urban problems, frequently with a large measure of hyperbole. Mailer proposes a monthly Sweet Sunday, when every form of mechanical transportation — including elevators — would be halted. His idea is to give the citizens periodic respite from air pollution caused by cars, trucks, buses and other machinery. He calls for a circumferential monorail in Manhattan, which would ease congestion on traffic-crammed city streets. He also suggests that Coney Island be turned into a Las Vegas East, with legalized gambling that would add sizabl
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