Wednesday, July 18, 2007

What's Next? Decongested Mayor Tries to Move On

As the NY Sun reports this morning, in its epitaph for the mayor's political failure on congestion pricing, "with two years left in office, the mayor must decide whether to spend more of his political capital on what is likely to be a losing issue or to embark on a new crusade." Our suggestion, and we agree we the Sun editorial here, is that the mayor would be better off focusing on issues of greater national import.

The mayor has enough money to be in a position to get the attention of the national electorate; and to get everyone to forget just how meager his political skills are when dealing with elected officials in a position to block his imperious droit du seignor approach to politics. So in spite of all of the speculation that there may be a way to salvage aspects of the mayor's tax plan, we believe that Bloomberg will cut his losses and move on to what the Sun calls, "the next big thing."

So, as the NY Times reports this morning, all we seem to have left is the finger pointing, and the post game analysis that seeks to determine what went wrong with the mayor's grand strategy; "It was supposed to be different this time. Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and his aides conducted elaborate analyses and an intricate media campaign, not to mention all of the detailed strategy sessions with aides and experts, to develop and promote the mayor's traffic congestion pricing plan."

The mayor complained that the legislature didn't "get it;" it failed to grasp the importance of adopting his plan-questions could be asked and perhaps answered at a later date. But as the Times points out, it was the mayor who was clearly out of his depth, bringing the proverbial knife to a gun fight; "...Mr Blomberg and his aides sprang a complex proposal on the Legislature at the end of its session, seemed unprepared to answer questions or to revise details...and then used the deadline to apply for federal financing as a bludgeon to shove the plan through."

It was a disaster from the beginning, orchestrated by someone who has become accustomed to seeing how his great wealth suspends the normal rules of the game when he pursues his own personal political agenda. It didn't work this time because of the mayor's hubris, and because the people in the cross hairs of his tax plan rose up to say-"Enough!'