Well it certainly didn't take long, did it? Just moments into the Bloomberg blitz, labeled cutely by the NY Sun as the "Norman Conquest," it now appears that the air around the independent run by Mayor Mike has been seriously deflated by the euphoria surrounding the rise of Barack Obama.
As the NY Times tells us this morning: "But even as the mayor gathered on Monday with the seasoned Washington hands on the campus of the University of Oklahoma, the surging presidential campaign of Senator Barack Obama seemed to steal energy from the event and set off worry elsewhere among Mr. Bloomberg’s supporters." We're not surprised. When a genuine political phenomenon comes along, energized by a charismatic political figure, the sober competency of the mayor really hasn't any chance of catching fire.
The Sun also appears to have cooled its ardor a bit: "It's hard to think of anyone who has called for Mayor Bloomberg to get into the presidential lists more often than this newspaper, but if the dirge that issued from Norman, Oklahoma, and the so-called Bipartisan Forum is a sign of things to come, it's hard to see the point." Indeed it is.
As the Sun goes on to point out, echoing our critique of the "bipartisan BS, "The fact is they are behind the curve now, while Senator Obama is galloping to the fore. It strikes us that unless Mr. Bloomberg moves with some decisiveness and joie de vive, his latest demarche is going to meet the kind of fate that was met by his proposal for non-partisan elections in 2003. It went down — as Davidson Goldin reminded us in a column yesterday — to a crushing defeat by voters in New York who, it turns out, love partisanship as much as the rest of the country does."
Now that would be a first, the mayor exhibiting a joie de vive-something that we've failed to observe in all of his six years of soporific speech. People want to be inspired by their leaders and on this count, Mayor Mike has to be counted out. If, however, the Obama craze begins to peter out, as folks start to get a close look at where the neophyte actually stands on the political spectrum, there may be room for a competent, unexciting grown up. We'll just have to see.