Thursday, September 11, 2008

Bloomberg's Dream

In this week's Village Voice, Tom Robbins depicts a poignant dream sequence. After toying with us for the better part of a year on a non run for the presidency, Mayor Mike is now engaged in similar musings over term limits:
"Bloomberg looked at the daylight seeping past the drawn curtains in the shrouded bedroom. He wondered if he should fly the jet down to the Bahamas this weekend or just hang out at the horse farm in North Salem. And then the feeling returned in a rush. His pulse leaped as it hit him: Term limits! He had decided to crush them! At the end of the dinner, Steve Rattner and Jerry SpeyerBloomberg considered them both solid guys who understood politics the way only successful businessmen can—had taken him aside and pushed him hard about a third term. The city needs him, they insisted. He had plans to finish. Most of all, the wannabe mayors waiting in the wings were second-rate. Nobody can handle this city like you, they said. "Aren't you forgetting a little something?" he said. "Like the two-term limit and the two referendums that approved it?" Not a problem, they responded. What he needed to do was to get Quinn to pass a bill adding one more term."

And now the mayor's dream is threatening to turn into the city's nightmare, as the entire election cycle is being put into disarray because of the mayor's speculations-and the thought that Speaker Quinn, weakened by scandals at the council, would jump at an additional four years: ""Oh, I don't think so," Bloomberg shot back. "I thought the Council Speaker was pretty definite back in December when she announced she wouldn't change the rules. I think she said it was her 'firm and final position."
"Rattner looked at him queerly. "Are you kidding?" he asked. "She'd jump at it. She knows her City Hall hopes went down the drain with that funding probe. She'd love to just get another term as Speaker, maybe give people time to forget her little problem."

And so she may, as long as the mayor publicly signals that he'll support the legislative efforts on this. What Robbins underscores, is the extent to which all of this speculation is undergirded by the city's power elite-and the likely cheer leading from the fourth estate: "Not a problem," said Speyer. "Count on it. Hell, I bet Rupert will put you on the Post's front page every day, like he did for Koch in '82 when he got him to run for governor. And I've spoken to Mort Zuckerman. He loves the idea. He says he'll have his hitmen on the News editorial page rip to shreds anyone who gets in your way. Sulzberger won't say it outright, but talk to him. He's for it."

Now, however, the time for dreaming must end; Mike Bloomberg, avoiding serious scrutiny and bolstered by a rather incurious media, is nowhere near as indispensable as those who have benefited lavishly from his tenure would have you believe. Let's not forget just how laughable the Bloomberg candidacy was in the Spring of 2001. There are capable people waiting in the wings. Bloomberg is one hell of a charitable guy, so we suggest he do the right thing here; New York would receive no better gift than his timely departure.