Monday, October 17, 2005

Goodwin Ignores the Elephant in the Room

In a column in yesterday’s Daily news, Michael Goodwin highlights a number of themes that we agree with. In particular, if Democrats continue to ignore mainstream middle-class New Yorkers, a great many of whom come from the city’s homeowner neighborhoods or own retail stores, they are going to be vulnerable to Republican challengers (with money) in any upcoming cycle.

That being said, it is absolutely essential when evaluating the current expected Bloomberg blowout to talk about the mayor’s ad blitz and its “carpet bomb” features. That’s just too big a variable to ignore and it effectively skews the kind of ideological analysis that Goodwin engages in.

It also obscures the fact that in many ways Bloomberg is governing in a classically liberal style. Remember his comments on how you could get better care at the city’s public hospitals? Would the more reformist anti-status quo Rudy Giuliani every have made such a remark? Goodwin should take a look at his paper’s exposé last week on these very same public hospitals. What does this say about the mayor’s approach to government?

The reality is that Bloomberg has done precious little to challenge the political culture (see Fred Siegal’s book on Giuliani and “reinventing government”). Mayor Mike, without the more pronounced left-wing social work biases, manages to resemble David Dinkins right down to the courtliness when it comes to governing philosophy.

Given the lack of political debate in the current election cycle and given the saturation of the airwaves by a monotonous barrage of political sedatives it is hard to see where the mayor will go when faced with a $4.6 billion deficit next tear. After all how much more can you raise taxes and close firehouses.