In what is perhaps the most incisive take on the mayor's insistence that the city's in dire need of his continued presence, Clyde Haberman effectively deconstructs this extreme exercise in self promotion: "Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg scheduled no public events during Rosh Hashana, which ushered in a 10-day period of reflection for Jews. When it came to reflection, none appealed to Mr. Bloomberg more than his own. Much like the queen in “Snow White,” he looked in the mirror and saw the fairest of them all."
This is, as Haberman underscores, an unadulterated power grab: "He will collaborate with leaders of the City Council to undermine the results of not one but two plebiscites so that they may all cling to office well after the existing law governing term limits would require them to go home. Understandably, some New Yorkers have begun describing the scheme with phrases like “self-serving” and “power grab.”
As a result, the veteran columnist counsels New Yorkers to do the right thing-vote the rascals out. He does, however, give the clearest picture of the sheer disingenuousness of Bloomberg's appeal for a third term: "Not surprisingly, the mayor cast himself on Thursday as a champion of the people. All that he wants is to expand their voting options next year, he said; if they don’t like this ploy, they can always give him the heave-ho in November 2009. But “this is not the time for fantasy,” he said. We are trapped in a national economic crisis and “may well be on the verge of a meltdown.” All he wants is what’s best for New Yorkers. It just so happens that he’s sure that what’s best for them is Michael Bloomberg."
Haberman doesn't stop there. He holds forth against the editorial contortionist and billionaire sycophants: "On that score, he has won over many of the city’s oligarchs and editorialists. Some of them have done enough back flips on term limits to qualify for the United States gymnastics team in the next Summer Olympics. It has been argued that letting the politicians alter the rules on their own is somehow more democratic than asking the people directly what they think in a referendum early next year. It has been argued, too, that term limits as endorsed by voters are merely an “abstract notion.”
We'll see just how "abstract" the concept really is in the coming days of debate-and in the aftermath should the council vote to self-perpetuate. As the NY Post reports: "New Yorkers overwhelmingly want to keep term limits - but they are of a mixed mind on the possibility of Mayor Bloomberg's serving four more years, a poll found."
And if the Letters to the Editors we're seeing are any indication, there's a glimmer of hope that this whole power grab will end badly. As John McDermott of Astoria points out: "That idea is no better than Rudy Giuliani's attempt to run again after 9/11. The same arguments about indispensability have been made, which were wrong then and are wrong now. I believe that the ballot box is the best term-limiter, but the law is on the books, and there should not be any exceptions." It's gonna be one helluva ride.