Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Billionaires for Bloomberg

In yesterday’s Times Jim Rutenberg did an interesting story on all the big money Democrats who have essentially closed their checkbooks to the candidates seeking to run against Mike Bloomberg. Nothing could be a better illustration of the bankruptcy of the Democratic Party, a party that has become an elite ensemble of wealthy liberals, academics and media folks. In the process, the average worker is basically unrepresented and regular neighborhood people are eschewed.

All of this reminds us just how much Bloomberg has become the reincarnation of John Lindsay, a theme E.J. Dionne elaborates on in the Washington Post. The limousine liberals have taken over and this is not good news for small businesses and neighborhood concerns as far as the expected sympathies of a Bloomberg second term are concerned.

On the other hand, this situation creates an opportunity for these neglected constituencies, especially when it comes to the City Council. Clearly, the power of the Mayor, perhaps enhanced by a robust victory in the fall, will need to be checked by a vigorous Council. The evidence from his first term suggests a father knows best superciliousness and we can anticipate that an overwhelming victory will only embolden Bloomberg even more.

That being said, we should all welcome the challenge since the Mayor’s lack of policy acumen, when combined with a sense of invulnerability, will offer opponents a rich opportunity to bring him down a few pegs. Certainly, we believe that the Wal-Mart fight will be one of these issues and, perhaps, eminent domain and the Willets Point merchants will be another.

We also believe that a second term will be a time to expose the Mayor’s bankrupt solid waste plan and will give opponents the opportunity to demonstrate just how lacking in imagination this mayor is. Yet, even while saying this, we will continue, in Socratic fashion, to offer the kind of advice that we believe will be helpful to the Mayor so that he can avoid policy disasters.

In the meantime, we continue to hope that the Democratic Party will produce candidates that reflect the concerns of homeowners and small business. Bloomberg’s hijacking of the Republican Party has obviously foreclosed this avenue in the current election cycle since no one has the skill or the imagination to get to the Mayor’s right flank.