Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Divine Right

It appears that our view of the Bloomberg/Kennedy affair is catching on-with Speaker Shelly Silver saying yesterday that the governor should be careful about choosing Caroline because she would be more beholden to Mike Bloomberg than to the man who chose her for the senate seat. As Fred Dicker writes: "Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver yesterday strongly suggested that Gov. Paterson reject Caroline Kennedy as Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's replacement - because she might be more loyal to Mayor Bloomberg than to the governor. "If I were the governor, I would look and question whether this is the appointment I'd want to make, where her first obligation might be to the mayor of the City of New York, rather than to the governor who would be appointing her," Silver said."

Silver's statement followed the mayor's earlier comment that Governor Paterson should get off the dime and hurry up already with what he apparently believes should be the inevitable choice of his totally unqualified Upper East Side neighbor for the US Senate. As the NY Times reports: "Resistance is emerging among Democratic officials against Caroline Kennedy as she pursues Hillary Rodham Clinton’s seat in the United States Senate, with Gov. David A. Paterson bristling over suggestions that her selection is inevitable, according to his advisers, and other leading Democrats concerned that she is too beholden to Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg."

Now where could anyone have gotten that idea? Maybe it was her equivocation of actually supporting a Democrat in next year's mayoral election? As the Times points out: "But her refusal to say over the weekend whether she would back a Democratic candidate next year, when Mr. Bloomberg will seek re-election as an independent, set off intense reaction among some in the party."

In our view, however, the whole orchestration reminds us of so many of Bloomberg's unstealthy stealth operations-where his monied contacts are used sub rosa in the most public of ways; all the while as Mike is playing coy about his role. Which is why we like the idea of Bill Hammond's that the governor should simply choose a place holder; and allow whoever wants to run for the seat to do so in 2010 when it would become vacant: "Then the unseemly insider politicking and backbiting will stop, and the real campaign will begin. All who want the job - including Kennedy the daughter and Cuomo the son - can compete on a level playing field. In two years. The voters will get their say."

But, as we said, the most unseemly aspect of the attempted Kennedy putsch is the little man behind the curtain. The governor should assert his manhood and inform the mayor that he'll be the one to wear the pants in the New York family.