Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Bloomberg's House of Commons

Now we've seen it all, Mike Bloomberg being sold to New Yorkers as the common man-just the start of what promises to be the most expensive campaign in city history: "Eight months before the election, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg is unleashing the first wave of what could be biggest and most expensive political advertising campaign in the city’s history...Like his previous campaign ads, the mayor’s commercials are polished spots, with the skyline as a backdrop. They feature Mr. Bloomberg, his trademark jacket and tie swapped for a casual button-down shirt, talking to ordinary New Yorkers about their financial woes."

And here's the NY Post's take: "Portrayed by his rivals as an out-of-touch billionaire, Mayor Bloomberg is hitting the airwaves today with a campaign ad that shows him in casual clothes interacting with everyday New Yorkers. "The economy is in trouble," the mayor declares in the 60-second ad. "I hear it. I hear it when I take the subway. I hear it when I walk the streets and neighborhoods. But we can do something about this. We are going to come out of this."

Yo Mike, let's grab a beer! This has got to be the biggest case of consumer fraud since Crazy Eddie polluted the airwaves over two decades ago-a classic example of misdirection funded by a curiously insecure man who feels that, even after eight years in office, he needs to spend millions to educate the folks about his virtues. As the Times points out: "The use of the commercials, set to run over the next two weeks, highlights the mayor’s staggering financial edge in the race and his willingness to draw on his personal fortune to spend whatever it takes to win a third term. The $3 million cost of the ads exceeds the combined spending by all of his Democratic rivals since the start of the current election cycle, in 2006. And it represents nearly half of what the city’s campaign finance laws allow each of his challengers to spend on the race between now and their party’s primary in September."

Putative rival Anthony Weiner hits the mark about all of this extravagant rodomontade: "After eight years in office, they obviously feel this is necessary,” Representative Anthony D. Weiner said. “The question should be, why? I imagine they feel that a lot of New Yorkers are not very content about the direction the city is going. The middle class and those struggling to make it obviously need to be sold very, very heavily on the idea that Mike Bloomberg has been a good mayor.”

Or, perhaps they feel that the populist wave of anger against all of Mike Bloomberg's former Wall Street friends, will be directed at the city's richest man. In any case, be prepared for all manner of hyperbolic excess as the campaign unfolds. After it's all over, will New Yorkers be convinced that Mike Bloomberg is simply just like the rest of us? And will they firmly believe that the city's term limits law needed to be transcended so that Bloomberg could save us in our time of crisis?

Anything's possible when you have $100 million to spend on re-education. We just can't wait for the soon to be displayed tattoo, the final symbol of the transformation of the out of touch Bloomberg into Mr. Neighborhood.