Monday, February 19, 2007

Mayoral Infallibility

In today's NY Post the paper editorializes against the continued arrogance of the mayor when responding to legitimate criticism about the missteps of his administration. The most telling critique in the Post's comments involves the issue of school reform. Observing the obvious miscalculation inherent in the drastic alteration of the school bus routes in the dead of winter, the paper comments; "If Bloomberg and Co. can't get that right, it's fair to wonder, what else are they getting wrong."

The Post's observations continue to point to the fallacious assumptions of all of the good government types who kvell whenever someone comes along we is perceived to not be beholden to the dreaded "special interests." It is the underlying premise of all the various campaigns for so-called campaign finance reform; and is the signatory electoral issue that often governs the endorsement of the NY Times.

It is also a total crock when it comes to any basic understanding of how democratic politics actually works and, in our view, should work. And this comes from someone who is frequently on the side that takes on the more powerful political interests in this town. The simple fact is that it is the interplay of interests, and not some plutocratic philosopher king, that determines the public good. The public good is certainly not determined by self-proclaimed public interest groups who, in their entire existence, never seem to support any measure that might benefit business.

For years whenever we have gone after the building of a large box store or shopping center we have sought to bundle the contributions of a as many small or mid-sized businesses as possible. This has enabled us to be heard politically and have the credibility necessary to fight on behalf of neighborhood stores.

The fact is that when lobbying is denigrated and political contributions attacked it is done so from the vantage point of those who either don't need the money and are consequently immune from influence, or from the point of view that sees the private sector in a hostile and adversarial way.

When it comes to the mayor, however, the fact that he is beyond influence is proving to be not such a good thing. The parents of school children or the residents of Astoria (special interests?) wouldn't see the mayor's insulation from politics as a harbinger of good government. Mayor Mike apparently sees himself as the philosopher king, the man elevated to educate the polis. Marx's admonition to Plato is appropriate here: "Who will educate the educator?"