The NY Times has an interesting story this morning on one of the Bloomberg campaign promises unraveling before our eyes-the first, we believe, of many: "Throughout the fall as he campaigned for re-election, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg pledged to fight the waste, dirt and delays in the region’s mass transit system, promoting a new era of cooperation between City Hall and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority — as long as the right candidate prevailed. On Thursday, however, in his first public appearance with Jay H. Walder, the authority’s new chairman, Mr. Bloomberg’s fiery words had been replaced by something less aggressive: a plea for patience."
We, however, won't patient-in fact, we simply can't wait until, one after one, these extravagant campaign promises fall by the wayside once reality sets in. That's the problem-not only with hubris, but with a vast fortune to feed and expand the overweening sense of self. When the Bloombergistas launched their MTA ad last summer, we pointed out that they were just blowing smoke; as we will find with so many things that the campaign promiscuously rolled out in glossy color brochures.
Here's what we pointed out at the time, in case you weren't following too closely: "Mike Bloomberg has been busy-at least his campaign's economic stimulus plan for NYC has been-inundating voters with fatuous ads on his grandiose plans for mass transit improvements-much of them outside of his purview to attain, but, what the hell, it's only a campaign promise."
As the Times reminds us, that was then, and this is now: "Asked about a much-discussed proposal to make crosstown buses available to riders at no cost — a pledge repeated in bold print on thousands of his campaign mailers and pamphlets — the mayor appeared to retreat from his plan. “We have not talked about that one yet,” he began, noting that new technology, like computerized fare cards that could speed up boarding times, “might be able to accomplish part of that. “I thought it was a good idea, although, the real issue there, there’s two things we’re trying to do: one is to make it easier for people to go back and forth, but two is also to stop the delays from getting on and off the buses,” the mayor said. “That’s another one of these things down the road. I think there’s a whole bunch of things that we laid out that we can explore together.”
At this rate, reporters are going to have a cottage industry around explaining why this or that Bloomberg campaign pledge won't be able to see the light of day. But the biggie will be when the stark reality of the city's budget mess is fully revealed. That's when we predict the mayor will fully abandon his no tax pledge-forgetting all of those Thompson blasting commercials that labeled Bill as a tax hiker-and, once again, sock it to the gullible New Yorkers who gave Bloomberg this undeserved third term. The third term will create a new popular expression: "You get what he paid for."