Friday, October 10, 2008

Mayoral Solipsism

On this morning's John Gambling show, Mayor Mike made the following observation, separating what he calls "good competition," from "bad competition." "Two remarks stood out from Michael Bloomberg’s weekly interview with radio host John Gambling this morning. One explains why critics are opposing his run for a third term, and the other explains why he didn’t run for president. They both boil down to competition and fear of losing -- essentially, a political version of the free-market, rather than moral, argument."

Essentially, good competition is the kind where the mayor and his money are in the proverbial cat bird's seat-favored to win against underfunded opposition. But it most certainly isn't about giving the voters more choices-the one form of Bloomberg philanthropy that New Yorkers have already rejected.

This is one of the points that Steve Malanga makes in the City Journal-the often difficult to discern difference between public and private (read: selfish) interest: "...that it’s often difficult to recognize the difference between self-interest and public interest in the words and deeds of our officials. Far too often, voters discover, policies promoted as serving the public good turn out mainly to benefit those who proposed them."

It's why Machiavelli wrote The Prince, a primer for the people to disabuse them of the belief that rulers governed in their interest as a result of divine right. Lord Bloomberg and his courtiers would have us believe that the extension is only on behalf of the General Good-a fiction that, we believe, most New Yorkers will see for what it is: self service.

As Malanga writes, citing the disillusionment expressed by Councilman John Liu: "Supporters of the mayor, including those who think the city can’t do without him in tough times, ought to ask themselves a question: Why should anyone be surprised that voters have become so suspicious and skeptical of public officials, if even those in government are struck by the transparent cynicism of the term-limits debate?" Mike Bloomberg exposes himself for what we always knew him to be: just another politician.