Wednesday, October 28, 2009

For the Love of Money

The Bloomberg campaign's ability to buy support is now taking on Biblical proportions-with the admonition that money is the root of all evil becoming a kind of catch phrase to describe the fervor with which a wide range of folks are finding the mayor irresistible. Here courtesy of the omnipresent Liz Benjamin is the first example:


Today, Polish-language Nowy Dziennik - Polish Daily News and Spanish-language El Universal Prensa endorsed Mayor Bloomberg’s bid for re-election. Nowy Dziennik has a circulation of roughly 22,000 and is distributed across the five boroughs."

Now, in a more scrutinized election campaign this kind of chest bumping would be treated with a heavy dose of scorn, given the fact that all of these endorsements have come with an obvious price tag. Mike Bloomberg's ability to lavish tens of thousands of dollars on almost every paper that is published in NYC has achieved the desired result-the quid pro quo of support.

A case in point serves as an example. Andy Wolf, who runs the Riverdale Review, has been a persistent thorn in the mayor's side-attacking him at every turn, and even printing some of our own broadsides on the paper's front page. Do you know how much money the Riverdale Review has received in advertising from the Bloomberg campaign? Absolutely zilch!

This is pure pay to play-but as we have pointed out time and time again, it is a P-T-P scheme that has the money flowing in the opposite direction; from Mike Bloomberg's inexhaustible supply of cash. Which brings us to Mayor Corey Booker of Newark, an anodyne for Bloomberg in running against an African-American challenger. Booker has been doing down field blocking for Mike-and did so this past Sunday in African-American churches all over Queens.

Now, as the NY Times report, we find out that young Mr. Booker has also been lavished with some monetary affection from the Bloombucks stash-albeit through a convenient second hand source: "On April 17, Mr. Booker, a Democrat, crossed party and state lines by endorsing Mr. Bloomberg, an independent running as a Republican, in Harlem. About a month later, Mr. Bloomberg’s longtime accountant contributed $26,000 — the maximum allowed — to Mr. Booker’s re-election committee, according to campaign finance records."

It's amazing what a little monetary affection can bring-and has anyone heard from the irrepressible Al Sharpton recently? Money can buy both love and silence, it appears. So we move inevitably to the upcoming election with Mike Bloomberg having enough folks on retainer to beat off his challenger. But what about the dire fiscal challenge that made his third term so compelling in the first place?

As Michael Powell tells us in this morning's Times, Bloomberg has difficulty articulating just why he has opened his personal bank vault for another electoral spending spree: "But by night’s end, what was missing was the urgency that motivated the mayor to embark on this most controversial of his election bids. Months ago, he suggested that the city’s dire fiscal condition, the ledgers dipped in red ink, required his cool competence and financial legerdemain. But asked the question on Tuesday night — what do you hope to accomplish in the next four years that you haven’t done yet? — Mr. Bloomberg turned prosaic. “So,” he said, hesitating just a second, “I think it’s more of the same, making sure that we continue the things, making sure that we expand the universe of people that benefit from those things.”

No compelling rationale can be proffered because the third term overreach was never really about anything but self-aggrandizement. And, as the campaign ends, Mike Bloomberg finds that given the amount of largess he has spread around-and the level of editorial ass-kissing he has received-he doesn't even need to fake it. Everything gets buried in an avalanche of spending, and in the most ironic fashion, Bloomberg has demonstrated that NYC really is a luxury item-one that only he can afford to buy.