It appears that the Fred Dicker story about the observations that our new governor has about Mayor Mike has some legs indeed, as Paterson denied the remarks he made and Dicker ridiculed the denial in this morning's Post with the following headline: "TELL THE TRUTH, GOV ABSOLUTELY NO DENYING YOU CALLED MIKE LIAR"
Now we know that the governor has only just arrived, and his arrival was a bit, shall we say, unorthodox, but the harshness of his remarks were unprecedented in our thirty plus years of following this business. Which means that Bloomberg really got under his skin. And now Paterson, by his vigorous denial, has succeeded in making himself the story because Dicker's not backing down: "His denials were made all the more ridiculous by the fact that only a few people know the source for the story - and Paterson is one of them. That's right, the governor knows where - as we say in the media business - the story came from. He knows the source is someone who, if their identity were revealed, would be seen as unassailably authoritative on Paterson's political views."
From our vantage the entire dust up is refreshing because it takes the view we've long had about the mayor's true nature and elevates it right into Macy's window. We're just surprised that it took the governor this short a time to be so bent out of shape by Blomberg's manner. But maybe it is a shot across the bow for 2010. As the NY Sun reports this morning: "Others wondered if the remarks were a warning shot from a governor concerned about a potential rival in the 2010 race. Mr. Bloomberg has said he isn't running, but polls show that the popular billionaire mayor would beat Mr. Paterson if the election were held now. Perhaps, as some guessed, Mr. Paterson is offering a taste of attacks to come should Mr. Bloomberg change his mind."
Perhaps, although it's a wee bit early to get into that kind of pissing contest. Consider this observation: "The people of New York City may be okay with the mayor taking off and flying to his private home in Bermuda every weekend, but if he did that at the state level, I think the people would send him a different message," the Post article quoted Mr. Paterson as saying."
No, if true, Paterson's comments underscore a real animus-a view that, according to a NY Times poll this morning, isn't shared by an electorate that continues to give the mayor high marks while at the same time supporting the city's term limits law: "Despite their favorable views of the mayor, two-thirds of residents called the city’s term limit law a good idea, although it will force Mr. Bloomberg from office in December 2009. Mr. Bloomberg, who has recently acknowledged that he is uncertain about what to do when his term is over, has been in discussions with his aides about how to remain in public life, and he recently commissioned his own poll asking residents whether they would be open to loosening the limits."
In our view, then, is Bloomberg tries to tinker with the limits he'll find that his support (inexplicable to us) will become evanescent; and the Times' observation here is to the point: "The Times poll showed that even though residents like Mr. Bloomberg’s leadership, many are hard pressed to point to any particular accomplishments of his administration, a troubling signal as people inside and outside City Hall begin to assess the mayor’s legacy."
In the poll, New Yorkers were hard pressed to name one thing that Bloomberg has accomplished: "The Times poll showed that even though residents like Mr. Bloomberg’s leadership, many are hard pressed to point to any particular accomplishments of his administration, a troubling signal as people inside and outside City Hall begin to assess the mayor’s legacy...Whereas his predecessor, Rudolph W. Giuliani, for example, was widely credited with reducing crime, when residents were asked to name the best thing Mr. Bloomberg had done as mayor, there was no single achievement or area identified by a broad swath of respondents."
But as far as the OTB fiasco's concerned, it appears that the mayor once again got rolled by Albany pols, a familiar scenario. As the NY Daily News tells us this morning: "Bloomberg's handling of the OTB showdown got mixed reviews yesterday, with some praising him and others contending he got steamrolled by Albany leaders. Political consultant Hank Sheinkopf gave the upper hand to Albany's ruling troika, saying, "They couldn't beat him in a corporate boardroom, because that's what he knows. They beat him at politics, because that's what he got elected not to know."
Maybe Hank is right, but it goes to show that there are times where political acumen comes in handy, especially when you're trying to do things on your own and are not coasting on the achievements of your predecessor. It's been close to seven years now, and Bloomberg's trained incapacity for politics hasn't changed, and the Times poll's a harbinger of the legacy evaluation to come.